Learning how to use herbs is fun and very interesting. The easiest and best way to take an herb is to pick it directly from the plant.
Leaves can be used in salads, sandwiches, or soups.
Chickweed, chicory, dandelion, and marigold make excellent salad additions. Nettle is traditional for green soup.
Chewing a few fresh leaves of marjoram will help clear the head. Horseradish leaves will clear the sinuses. Sage eases mouth sores and sore throats.
As you learn the best ways to use herbs, you will see that fresh leaves can also be used to make water infusions (teas), decoctions, tinctures, infused oils, and creams. Follow standard recipes and dosages.
Most recipes give the amounts for dried herbs. When using fresh material add 1/3 more, fresh plants contain a considerable amount of water. For cuts, grazes, and stings pick 4 or 5 leaves (dock is traditional when stung) and rub the leaves together between the hands to bruise them and release the juices. When damp, apply to the affected area and hold in place. Poultices can be made in the same way.
Most herbs are sold in dried form. A few herbs can be offered in whole form. This means they have been picked, dried, and packaged whole.
Most herbs are offered in a cut form for ease of use and packaging. Whole and Cut herbs are the best way to store herbs, and are excellent for using in teas.
Another thing you will learn about is that some herbs are ground into powder for use in specific applications, such as cooking, salves, etc. In this form they can also simply be sprinkled on food. ( 1 ½ teaspoon twice daily is standard for most herbs).
Powdered herbs are generally not used to make teas, as it's very difficult to strain the powder from the liquid. Once ground into powder, most herbs start losing their beneficial properties. So unless they are in capsules, you so not want to store powdered herbs very long.Store your dried herbs in sealed, airtight containers in a dark and cool place. (A refrigerator/freezer is great, but not necessary.) Avoid exposing them to temperatures over 60 degrees, and NEVER expose them to sunlight.
Some are prepared further in tablets and capsules for convenience and ease of use. (Useful for people who would rather not taste the remedy)
Some manufacturers use a poor quality herb and/or use fillers...so research the company you buy your herbs from thoroughly.
As you understand more about the connection between herbs and health, you will realize that they are an essential part of your life.