A Subscriber Asks: Smelly Herbs Q&A
I recently bought some herbs. One ziplock bag of herbs smells of manure. I'm not sure if that's a natural herb smell or if it's manure that was dried with it. If it is reeking of manure. Would it affect the tea?
Great question! Unfortunately, based off of what I’m hearing from your post, it sounds like you have a problem. I would contact the company that sourced the herbs and let them know of your concerns. Herbalists and reliable growers take the quality of their products very seriously. If you ever have a question, I always suggest to contact the source directly. The company should be adhering to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) as mandated by the Food and Drug Administration. They should be able to track the exact source of the product by the batch number to further investigate and take appropriate action.
Herbalists always evaluate the quality of plants through our senses to the best of our ability through a process referred to as organoleptic analysis. Organoleptic means “impression of the organs.” No need for fancy equipment: we use our senses and knowledge of the plant to identify and to assess its quality. Color, taste, and scent is a pretty good way to identify a potential ‘problem plant’. If it looks funny and smells funny, I’d pause before I taste it. I know that seems a bit wishy washy, but official standards to establish the identity and authenticity of a plant are referenced in pharmacopoeias and official publications, which is the basis for this assessment.
Herb quality, safety, and efficacy is extremely important. The Sustainable Herbs Project, an organization committed to consumer education about herbal manufacturing and issues is a great consumer friendly resource. This 12 minute video will give you a ‘quickish’ peak into the quality and control process of herbal companies.
Lastly, quality is key. Purchase herbs from companies that you trust. I’ve listed a few companies I like below:
Thanks for contacting us. When in doubt it's always good to ask questions and to trust your gut. The nose usually knows. I hope this helps!