Herbal Remedy Shelf Lives

Shelf Life of Herbal Remedies.

herbal shelf life


One question I am frequently asked is about the shelf life of herbal remedies.

Herbal remedies can often have a long and stable shelf life, but like any preparation, commercial or otherwise, it will have a shelf life.

Each preparation has a different shelf life. But of course issues occur with all lives, and can shorten this time frame.

Issues that can effect shelf life include moisture, sunlight, and temperature. Moisture can cause mold growth in infused oils, lotions and salves. Sunlight can fade herbs and break down constituent’s as can extremes in temperature.

Store your herbal remedies in cupboards, closets, dark containers or the refrigerator.

Remedies can be used safely, but if you notice mold, a distinct off smell, or a change in color, or feel you should dispose of the herbal product. This is true for store bought remedies also.

When freezing use containers life you would for meat products, something to keep moisture out, and air tight.

Extracts, tinctures, glycerites and oxymels should be stored in glass.

Essential oils should be stored in dark glass bottles with orifice reducers.

Ointments, salves, creams, and balms should be stored in containers with well fitting lids.

Dried plant material should be stored in airtight containers. You can use glass jars (my preference), or plastic food storage containers or plastic Ziploc style bags.

Remedies  Shelf Life
Dried herb material properly stored 1 year 
Frozen herbal material 6 months 
Infusions and Decoction- refrigerated 48 hours 
Extracts/Tinctures properly stored 1-20 years 
Glycerites, Oxymels 3-6 months 
Essential Oils 1-10 years 
Ointments, Salves, Balms 6 month- 2 years
Creams and Lotions, anything with a combination of fat and   water. 3-6 months
Capsules 3-6 months 

 Most items should be stored in a cool, dry and dark place.



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