How long can Chinese herbal medicines be stored?

Some families are accustomed to buying more expensive herbs or some commonly used Chinese herbal medicines after they go home and store them in armor, which is convenient for use, such as gastrodia, panax notoginseng, ginseng and other supplements for several years.

Does Chinese herbal medicine affect the quality of medicine after long-term storage?

Chinese pharmacists have proved through practice that most Chinese herbal medicines still maintain their quality and efficacy if stored properly for a certain period of time.

However, some other Chinese herbal medicines have no mildew appearance after storage, but the curative effect is reduced, which indicates that the internal quality of Chinese medicine has changed.

  During the storage process, there are some medicinal materials. In addition to external air, moisture, sunlight, temperature, microorganisms and other factors, they will also produce a series of chemical changes, which are constantly changing.

For example, Evergreen and Polygonum cuspidatum contain a large amount of synthetic substances, which can be continuously oxidized under the action of enzymes to polymerize to produce other substances, thereby reducing benefits.

Another example is Bai Ziren, Tao Ren, Yu Li Ren, Angelica, Chinese wolfberry, etc., which are rich in oil, viscous sugar and other ingredients. These medicinal materials are very easy to “take oil”.

In addition, peppermint, perryan, fragrant incense, sandalwood, orange peel and other antibacterial ingredients containing medicinal materials have been stored for too long, which will affect the quality and reduce the benefits due to the absence of aroma.

Conversely, there are some medicinal materials that need to be stored for a certain period of time to decompose their ingredients to reduce their toxicity or to let them evaporate the nasty “fishy gas”.

Such as frankincense, myrrh, Ejiao and other varieties of gum and Chenpi and other varieties.

  In short, the storage time of Chinese herbal medicine cannot be generalized, but it should be based on the nature of various medicinal materials and storage conditions.

However, from the perspective of drug safety and effectiveness, it should not be too long.

Herbaceous plants (including leaves and flowers) generally do not exceed two years; woody plants (including roots, stems, and skins) do not exceed 3 years; fruits and seeds do not exceed 4 years; minerals do not exceed 10 years.