Herbs are items used to make potions with the Herblore skill. There are many herbs, each of which have a "clean" and "grimy" form. Herbs must be clean to be used in potions. Players can clean grimy herbs, provided that they have the minimum required Herblore level. The required Herblore level to clean herbs varies from one type of herb to another.
When making potions, players must combine a herb with a vial of water (or coconut milk for a few high-level potions). They must then add a secondary ingredient. Some herbs can be used to make more than one type of potion.
Before the Herbal Remedies update on the 10 September 2007, herbs were divided into "unidentified" and "identified" instead of grimy and clean. Unidentified herbs could not be used in potions, and had to be identified (equivalent to cleaning in the current system) by a player with the requisite Herblore level.
Each type of herb, identified or not, was placed in a separate stack in the bank or inventory; for example, all unidentified ranarr weeds would be in one stack, and all unidentified tarromins would be in another. They all had the same name: "Herb" and the same icon, nonetheless by identifying one of the herbs of the stack, the player would know what the herb was in the stack.
This became a scamming issue, as player selling unidentified herbs could claim that the herbs were higher level (and therefore more valuable) than they actually were. At that time, the trade window did not give any indication at all of the value of items being traded; this was not introduced until the Trade and Drop Changes update of 10 December 2007. The "unids" as they were sometimes called were often sold at 1,000 coins, and sometimes up to 5,000 coins per herb.
The buyer could only determine which herb they were buying by identifying it themselves after they had bought it or by carrying a full inventory with one slot being filled with noted unids that they knew were of a certain type (and no other unids). This way, they could only accept the type of unids they needed. To remove this scam, Jagex replaced unidentified herbs with grimy herbs, and identified herbs with clean herbs. They also changed the herb graphics, providing a number of different shades of green and blue.
Clean versus grimy
- See the herb cleaning calculator for coins-per-experience-point analysis of herb-cleaning using live data from the Grand Exchange Market Watch.
Players will normally obtain herbs as grimy (except when buying clean herbs from other players). Players can clean grimy herbs by left-clicking on them, gaining a small amount of Herblore experience points, but each type of herb has a minimum Herblore level requirement that players must have to do so. Players who do not have the required Herblore level to clean a herb can take it to Zahur, the herbalist in Nardah, who will clean it for 200 coins. Alternatively, they can use the Assist System to borrow another player's Herblore level so they can clean the herb. However, if a player's Herblore level is high enough to use the herb in potions then it is high enough to clean the herb.
Players can buy and sell both clean and grimy herbs at the Grand Exchange. The graphical differences between them are fairly small. Against the inventory background, the herbs are somewhat more grey and there is a small shape change.
Grimy herbs were worth more on the Grand Exchange than clean herbs for a long while, especially lower-level herbs, although this seems to have changed. Players who are trying to grow them for money should check both grimy and clean prices if they have a high enough Herblore level to clean them.
Herbs yield an average of 6.8 leaves per plot with optimum tools. The following are the results of a study planting 728 seeds in 5 herb patches (including the disease-free patch at the Troll Stronghold) and using Supercompost and Magic Secateurs:
|Number of patches:||77 (10.58%)||86 (11.81%)||120 (16.48%)||149 (20.47%)||125 (17.17%)||66 (9.07%)||44 (6.04%)||22 (3.02%)||19 (2.61%)||13 (1.79%)||2 (0.27%)||5 (0.69%)|
The average yield, including the dead patches (0 yield), was 6.8 herbs. The average yield of patches that grew to harvest was 8.2 herbs. The minimum and maximum yield of patches that grew to harvest was 5 leaves and 23 leaves, respectively. Theoretically infinite herbs can be harvested from a single patch since the total amount is luck based. In reality odd gets extremely small for every harvest over 25 herbs per patch. This was explained in a Runescape Mythbuster livestream.
From this, these key points can be made:
- A fail rate (a dead patch) of 10% or less makes getting a Scroll of life - which recovers 10% of seeds from harvested plants, dead or alive - an excellent insurance for seed investment.
- Death can be prevented by checking every cycle and not planting seeds before a long logout (like overnight), however, this is extremely impractical.
- The 6.8 "magic number" is useful for both money making and calculating Herblore costs. For example, if a player knows that a ranarr seed sells for 1,226 gp and the herbs sell for 1,945 gp, the expected profit would be 6.8 * 1,945 - 1,226 = 12000 gp per seed.
Goutweed is a rare herb that plays a role in the Dream Mentor and Eadgar's Ruse quests. Sanfew will exchange them for other random herbs at a 1:1 ratio. It requires 29 Farming to plant in a herb patch.
Jungle Potion herbs
Some herbs can only be cleaned after a player starts the Jungle Potion quest. They are not tradeable.
Herblore Habitat herbs
These herbs are only able to be grown at Herblore Habitat. They are not tradeable.
Players can obtain grimy herbs via several methods, perhaps most notably by growing seeds via the Farming skill and as drops from monsters. They may also receive herbs from the Sorceress's Garden minigame, from their kingdom on Miscellania and Etceteria, from the closed chest, or as a reward from the Pest Control and Temple Trekking minigames.
Grimy herbs are available as drops from various monsters, including very low-level opponents such as men in Lumbridge. Some monsters drop more herbs than others. Looting a nature impling jar may give the player a clean snapdragon. Using a macaw familiar will significantly improve the quality of herb drops from monsters.
- Men and women drop a surprising variety of herbs including high level herbs. They are only level 4 and are found all over Gielinor.
- Outlaws in the Bandit Camp next to the Grand Exchange always drop bones and usually drop rope or one of the cheaper herbs. This is a good moneymaker for people with somewhat high combat (80-120).
- Chaos druids are only level 32, and drop a lot of herbs. Players can find them in the Taverley Dungeon, Edgeville Dungeon, in a tower north of East Ardougne, one of the resource dungeons in Edgeville Dungeon, and in the Yanille Dungeon.
- Cave crawlers are Slayer monsters that drop both herbs and ingredients, they are very poisonous, so an Antipoison is advised.
- Aberrant spectres are Slayer monsters that drop large numbers of herbs. They can be found in Morytania Slayer Tower and also in Pollnivneach slayer dungeon. Level 60 Slayer and a Nose peg or a Slayer helmet are required.
- Chaos Druid Warriors in the Yanille Agility dungeon drop a wide variety of second ingredients as well as herbs. However, being stronger than ordinary chaos druids, they take longer to kill, which makes them slower for herb gathering.
- Basilisks are Slayer monsters which drop herbs very often. They have a combat level of 110 and are located in the Fremennik Slayer Dungeon. A mirror shield and a Slayer level of 40 are required to kill them. As with chaos druid warriors, while their drop rate is good, their higher combat makes them take longer to kill than other herb droppers.
- Flesh Crawlers in the level 2 Stronghold of Security drop herbs frequently, are aggressive to all levels, and can be slain relatively quickly, which makes them ideal for gathering herbs. They hit relatively low for their level, but their attacks are fast, and can be very accurate. In addition, they are frequently crowded on most worlds.
- Banshees in the Slayer Tower drop fewer herbs than chaos druids, but also drop large quantities of noted pure essence. Level 15 Slayer and earmuffs or a Slayer helmet are required.
From the closed chest
Players can also kill Salarin the Twisted for the Sinister Key, which opens the closed chest. Players will receive two harralanders, three ranarr weeds, one irit leaf, one kwuarm, and one torstol. Both Salarin the Twisted and the closed chest are found in the Yanille Agility dungeon, and players need an Agility level of 67 to reach him. He and the Magpie Impling are currently the only non-player characters that drop the Sinister Key.
Salarin the Twisted can only be injured by one of the four elemental strike spells: Wind Strike, Water Strike, Earth Strike, or Fire Strike. Chaos druids and Chaos Druid Warriors are also found in this area.
Players can also grow their own herbs from seeds via the Farming skill. They need to obtain the correct seeds for the type of herb they wish to grow, and plant them in a herb patch. At high Farming levels this can be a very effective method of obtaining experience in both the Herblore and Farming skills.
From the Miscellania kingdom
Players who have completed the Throne of Miscellania quest can receive grimy herbs from Miscellania (see Managing Miscellania). Players pay an average of 800 coins per herb collected using this method, and receive up to 80 grimy herbs per day, all tarromin or above, if they have enough money in the coffers and have herb-gathering set to maximum.
From Sorceress's Garden
Player can obtain herbs from the Sorceress's Garden minigame, in which players work their way through a maze to reach a herb patch. Having reached the end, players can pick two random herbs before being teleported back to the beginning of the maze. This takes approximately 50 seconds. It was often crowded with bots because of the easy access and high profit of this minigame.
The lowest garden (Winter) can only yield herbs up to harralanders. The highest garden (Summer) can yield all herbs given normally as a drop besides Snapdragon and Torstol.
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