Shelf Life of Dried Herbs

The shelf life of dried herbs usually depends on the status of the dried herbs. If not properly stored, the storage life of different herbs may change dramatically. Under normal circumstances, whole dried herbs can be stored for least one to three years while pounded and powdered herbs only have a short shelf life for up to six months. Dried herbs usually have a strong smell even if their colors has already become brown. However, if you can smell any odors from the herbs, it means they are not in good quality and they are not suitable for use.

In addition to varieties, proper storage of herbs can extend their storage period to a longer time than randomly stored herbs. In order to retain their odors and keep them fresh, dried herbs should be stored in sealed glass jar and put to a place away from the direct sunlight. The temperature for storing should be controlled at about 20 Celsius degrees. Generally, wooden containers will absorb the herbal essence oils. Also, excessive sunlight may cause bleaching, and excessive fluctuation of temperatures can destroy the herbs as well.

Herbs which are not stored in a sealed container will absorb water which may cause rot mildew and damage the herbal aromas and texture. Some packaged dried herb leaves also have some humidity inside the bags. After being put in sealed containers, humidity can cause the leaves to rot or even cause mildew. In the case, you should stop using these herbs instantly. If you are about to buy some packaged herbs from the market, you should pay more attention to the expiry date for freshness. In some cases, the shelf life of some herbs is longer than the marked date while some are not. Generally, complete herbs can be stored longer than the smashed leaves.

Image provided by Andreas Rühle [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, CC-BY-SA-3.0-de ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

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