For Chinese Tradicional medicinal herbs, how long can I store them?

I have some herbs that a chinese doctor gave me to help with a skin condition, but it’s been about 3 months that I have them stored. Do they “ruin”? Or would it still be good for a decoction?

1 thought on “For Chinese Tradicional medicinal herbs, how long can I store them?

  1. There are a number of factors and considerations involved here. The main thing with regards to the viability of herbs is the oxidation of the herbs. For the most part herbs do not become dangerous if they are allowed to oxidize, so you can be relatively certain that the herbs are not dangerous. The four main things that contribute to oxidation are 1) moisture content, 2) exposure to heat, 3) exposure to light, and 4) exposure to air. The more these factors have been kept down the less likely there will be problems with the “degrading” of the product.

    I have some herbs that are in a powder form, that I’ve had for some time which have an expiry date of 04/2010 on them. I would think in *most* cases the raw herbs (herbs you need to decoct) would last longer than the powders.

    One thing that I would like to suggest to you though is that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis is a very different process than Modern Western Medicine diagnosis. And it also uses a very different system. So what to you may seem like the same condition may have a very different Chinese diagnosis, so I would personally suggest going to a TCM practitioner, or herbalist to see if this is the formula that they would recommend, ideally to the same practitioner, or one in the same clinic.

    Short answer, 3 months the herbs are almost guaranteed to be roughly the same potency, and safety as when you got them.

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