Moxa and herbs are an intrinsic part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and ayurvedic health systems but improper storage can reduce their efficacy and be a burden on your wallet. These products are carefully prepared and dried but often don’t come with particularly good storage guidance.
We’re going to take a quick look at how to store these herbs properly so you can make the most of them.
Why is it important to store therapeutic herbs properly?
When you’re using moxa or Chinese medicinal herbs, you want them to be in as good a condition as possible, to reap the benefits. When it comes to moxa, improperly stored mugwort might not burn properly or it might have affected other things stored nearby.
With other herbs, they lose their potency when stored poorly and can suffer from condensation-caused damp or degradation from sunlight. Herbs and moxa work best when they’re within their sell-by-date and have been stored under the proper conditions. Otherwise, you might find they smell off (or of nothing) or have started to go bad (herbs aren’t completely resistant to mould).
Five tips for storing moxa and dried herbs
It’s easy to store these essential products and a lot of it is common sense. The best part is that you can apply most of these tips to the herbs you use for cooking as well!
#1 Store in a dark place
We all know that sunlight is several forms of radiation and can damage many things it comes into contact with. That includes herbs and mugwort.
It’s important to store your herbs in a dark place, ideally a cupboard where you can access them easily but is never left open. Additionally, many medicinal herbs come packaged in opaque bottles which helps avoid sun-related degradation. These are great, but it doesn’t mean that you can store them in view of sunlight; it still heats them up.
#2 Keep them in a cool place
Herbs hate being heated up and cooled down over and over again. This causes them to lose their potency and scent. This might sound obvious, but there are plenty of places that might seem cool and aren’t.
Check the cupboard that you want to store your herbs in, does it feel warm to the touch when the heating is on or if you’ve been running hot water? Hot water pipes travel behind walls and you might just find that the back of your cupboard, which is nice a dark, actually has a hot water pipe behind it. This, in turn, will heat and cool your herbs without you realising!
#3 Keep them in a dry place
Moisture has a habit of getting in places that you never thought possible, not to mention existing moisture that you didn’t realise was in the packaging already. Moisture is in the air around us; we even breathe it out. This means that every time you open your herb containers, moisture gets in. If moisture becomes trapped in the packaging, it can’t escape and makes your herbs damp instead.
Never open your containers in a steamy environment (recently boiled kettle anyone?) or use a damp measuring spoon to remove powder. Store them in airtight containers, as oxygen can speed up the degradation process too.
#4 Label label label
It’s not that dried herbs and moxa have a specific sell-by-date that’s set in stone, especially as storage conditions can make such a difference, but it is vital that you know how long you’ve had them for.
Herbs naturally lose potency over time so you need to know when to throw away old herbs. Also, you can track exactly how long it takes you to go through a particular herb, making ordering more efficient next time without leaving any stock gaps.
Labels aren’t just good for dates though, they’re great for product details. Can’t remember which company you bought them from? Can’t remember which type of moxa you have? Label your containers with this information to save a ton of hassle in the future.
#5 Keep smelly herbs separate
Unless you store your herbs and moxa in airtight containers (recommended), there are some which will contaminate other food or herbs around them. Moxa can smell particularly strongly, so be careful to store it away from other products that might pick up its scent.
Get your moxa from a reputable supplier
We provide moxa for hundreds of practitioners and sell a wide range of types. We stock high-quality moxa in cone, loose and stick form so you can always find exactly what you’re looking for and know that you can resupply whenever you want to.
Check out our moxa supplies and accessories here and don’t forget to store it properly!