Storage of your Herbal Products

Herbal products come in many forms - teas, tinctures (liquid extracts), capsules, tablets, compresses, poultices, salves, creams, baths, footbaths (to name a few!), and of course, used in foods! Here is how to care and store some of the most frequently used forms of herbal products:

DriedHerbs.If possible, store your dried herbs in a glass container, which will keep them fresh longer. Using dark glass will help to further keep light out, which ages the herb more quickly and can compromise its quality. A dried herb should appear vibrant in color and have a wonderful smell to it. Even though it’s dried, it should have an “alive” vibrancy to it – you should be able to sense the life in it!

Tinctured HerbsAlcohol-based tinctures are fairly easy to keep, as the alcohol acts as an effective preservative. It is still recommended to store them in a cool, dark cupboard, to ensure high quality and product longevity.

For non-alcohol tinctures, it is important to keep these in a cool, dark cupboard, away from any heat source or light. Storing these above your stove or near a heater can compromise herb quality or even cause mold to grow. The vegetable glycerin in the non-alcohol tincture has some preservative properties, but not much. This means that your product will have a shorter shelf life (still 3-5 years) and is more susceptible to being contaminated and perhaps even cultivating some mold. Because of this (and because the glass tube could be broken if bitten), NEVER allow your child to suck on the glass dropper tube. Always check your non-alcohol tinctures each time before you shake them up and before you take them to make sure they are still in good condition. It’s rare to have a tincture get moldy, but it can happen. If it does, it’s quite obvious to see visually – it will have a whitish patch floating on top of the dark tincture liquid. If you find that you do have a moldy tincture, throw it away and do not use it.

Capsules should come in a dark glass or plastic container, or a solid colored container designed to keep as much light out as possible. Store these away from heat sources also. With capsules, the herb must be ground into such a small particle in order to fit into the small capsule that the herb tends to lose its potency more quickly than a more whole herb part would.

It is recommended that you keep all forms of herbal products in a cool, dark location, even your cooking spices. Many people store their cooking spices above their stove. The heat from the stove will rapidly cause the herbs and spices to lose their vitality, rich flavor and potency. And, as with cooking herbs, freshness of your medicinal herbs makes a difference in how well the herb will work for you!

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are powerful medicines that fight bacterial infections. Used properly, antibiotics can save lives. They either kill bacteria or keep them from reproducing. You body’s natural defenses can usually take it from there.

Antibiotics do not fight infections caused by viruses, such ascolds, flu, most coughs and bronchitis, sore throats, unless caused by strep.

If a virus is making you sick, taking antibiotics may do more harm than good. Each time you take antibiotics, you increase the chances that bacteria in your body will be able to resist them. Later, you could get or spread an infection that those antibiotics cannot cure.

When you take antibiotics, follow the directions carefully. It is important to finish your medicine even if you feel better. Do not save antibiotics for later or use someone else’s prescription.

An antibacterial is a compound or substance that kills or slows down the growth of bacteria. The term is often used synonymously with the term antibiotic; today, however, with increased knowledge of the causative agents of various infectious diseases, antibiotic has come to denote a broader range of antimicrobial compounds, including antifungal and other compounds.

The term antibiotic was coined by Selman Waksman in 1942 to describe any substance produced by a microorganism that is antagonistic to the growth of other microorganisms in high dilution. This definition excluded substances that bacteria, but are not produced by microorganisms (such as gastric juices and hydrogen peroxide). It also excluded synthetic antibacterial compounds such as sulfonamides. Many antibacterial compounds are relatively small molecules with a molecular weight of less than 2000 atomic mass units.

With advances in medicinal chemistry, most of today’s antibacterials chemically are semisynthetic modifications of various natural compounds. These include, for example, the beta-lactamantibacterials, which include the penicillins (produced by fungi in the genus Penicillium), the cephalosporins, and the carbapenems.

Compounds that are still isolated from living organisms are theminoglycosides, whereas other antibacterials – for example, the sulfonamides, the quinolones, and the oxazolidinones – are produced solely by chemical synthesis. In accordance with this, many antibacterial compounds are classified on the basis of chemical/biosynthetic origin into natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic. Another classification system is based on biological activity; in this classification, antibacterials are divided into two broad groups according to their biological effect on microorganisms: bactericidal agents kill bacteria, and bacteriostatic agents slow down or stall bacterial growth.