An herb is a plant, or a plant part that is used for making medicine. It can also be used in food for flavoring.
There are two kinds of herbs; annuals and perennials. Perennial herbs comes back year after year while annual herbs last only for the year that you plant it. Don't forget to take your perennial plants indoors when cold weather arrives.
It is very easy to grow herbs. Just because you live in an apartment and you don't have a garden it doesn't mean that you can't grow herbs. If you don't have a garden you can always grow it on your terrace, balcony or even inside in you window. Most herbs like to be in the sun. You should make sure that your herbs get at least 6 hours of sun a day.
Growing your own herbs can save you a lot of money. The best time to plant your herbs is spring.
If you decide to buy a plant it's important to pick healthy, viable specimens. Look for smaller plants that have promising features like thick stems and dark green leaves. Make sure that there are no yellowed or shriveled growth, and no egg clusters on the undersides of the leaves.
When it's time for harvesting make sure that you choose the healthiest plants. Most herbs taste best if you harvest them before the plant flowers.
How to dry herbs:
There are many ways for you to dry herbs. You can air dry them, oven dry them or even microwave dry them.
Air drying: Simply tie them in bunches (about 5-6 flowers in every bunch) and hang them upside-down in a dark and dry place, about 70 F. Depending on what kind of herb you are drying it can take a few days and up to weeks for them to dry completely. For thicker parts or heavier roots it may take more than a year.
Oven drying: Put the herbs on a sheet in a thin layer and place them in a low setting oven.
Microwave drying: Put the herbs on a plate and set the microwave on low. According to your microwave and how much herbs you have in it, it can take about 2-5 minutes.
To dry leaves and flowers: Spread the leaves and flowers in a basket. This will take about 1-2 weeks before it's dried.
To dry seeds: Hang bunches of flowers inside a paper bag. The dried seeds will fall down to the bottom of the bag.
The herbs are ready when they are as dry as paper and they crumble when you rub them between your fingers. Once the herbs are dry, store them in ceramic containers or in dark glass jars with tight-fitting lids because herbs will deteriorate when they get exposed to oxygen. Don't forget to put labels on your containers! Keep the herbs in a dark and cool place like a closet or a cupboard. Dried herbs can retain their medicinal value for years.
Some herbs can also be frozen. Specially herbs with soft leaves like Comfrey, Basil, Borage, Fennel, Dill and Parsley.
How to make herb tea:
Making herb tea is very simple. Put one tablespoon of the kind of herb that you prefer in a tea ball and put it in one cup of boiling water. Let it simmer for about five to fifteen minutes and it's ready to drink. (If you are making Comfrey tea, prepare it the same way but you need to use cold water). If you are using fresh herbs instead of dried herbs you need to double the amount. Sweeten the tea with honey.