Dried vs. fresh herbs.


Date: Wed, 14 Jun 1995 09:07:46 +0100
To: Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARNPC.EGE.EDU.TR>
From: Denise Williams <gbcb03.UDCF.GLA.AC.UK>
Subject: fresh versus dried again

I sent this message out last week but so far have had no replies so I'll give it a second go. Also I read that dried herbs are stronger than their fresh counterparts and so less should be used, is this true?

I have a book containing recipes for various teas for different medicinal purposes. The problem is that the ingrediant lists are all given using fresh herbs e.g. 250ml fresh rosemary. Can I substitute dried for fresh herbs in these recipes and if so then what quantities relative do those listed for fresh herbs should I use?

From: Deborah Duchon <antdadx.GSUSG.GSU.EDU>

Denise - dried herbs are stronger than fresh because they are more concentrated. The only difference is that fresh herbs contain water, which is evaporated out when you dry the herbs. Fresh herbs are about half as strong as dried. They're still good to use.

From: Howie Brounstein <howieb.TELEPORT.COM>

> Fresh herbs are about half as strong as dried. They're still good to use.

Careful of generalizations though, some fresh herbs are stronger than dried herbs because of chemical decomposition during the drying process. Some plants are to strong to safely use until dried to a milder state. For example, Cascara sagrada is a laxative and can cause cramps and explosive diarrhea if taken fresh. Dried, and cured for a few years, it gets weaker, and is much gentler and safer to use.

Dried vs. fresh Valeriana ... actually different chemical composition as valeric acid changes to isovaleric acid.

Some plants become nearly useless dried, and require fresh herb.

Deb, I'm not saying your wrong, just in some instances. I just believe we all have to be careful about broad sweeping generalizations in dealing with herbs. You statement works with peppermint but not St John's Wort.


From: Adam Van Wirdum <adamtfg.OZEMAIL.COM.AU>

> Fresh herbs are about half as strong as dried. They're still good to use.

I don't believe this is true for all herbs. The medicinal properties of some herbs (for example Lemon balm) seem to disapear on drying. With age (sometimes as little as twelve months) some herbs loose medicinal properties especially if not stored correctly (EG Valerian). I would always prefer fresh herbs over dried if available. Dried is just for convenience.

From: Robin <jrobin11.UNM.EDU>

Denise, I've been looking for an authoritative source to quote you, but I'm having trouble with indexes this morning, so here's the benefit of my lots-of reading, and experience:

The properties of herbs, medicinal or culinary or whatever, begins to change and deteriorate as soon as they are picked, so there is an advantage to using fresh over dried. However, properly dried and *stored* herbs can be very effective. The rule of thumb I use is 3:1 -- 3 measures of fresh = 1 measure of dried.

Any reasonably comprehensive herbal, or even a good general cookbook, should confirm this. As I say, my research skills are not up to snuff this morning.