When and How to Gather Healing Herbs
The best time to gather healing herbs is when the weather is sunny and completely dry.
The flowers are gathered at the beginning of blooming.
Already flourished flowers have neither trade nor healing value.
The leaves and whole plants are gathered when the first flower appears. At this stage they have the most healing ingredients.
Fruits and seeds are harvested at full maturity. Roots and other underground plants are usually dug up in the fall, rarely in spring.
Botanical knowledge of healing herbs is the first and most important requirement for proper work.
Herbalists must have the knowledge to differentiate healing herbs from toxic, harmful from the harmless. Many herbs are polymorphic, having a number of similar sub-species, but as healing is only one of them. Herbalist collects only one type of healing plants.
When the season for the particular herbs passes, herbalist then collects a different type. Gathering more various types of herbs at the same time leads to the constant danger that they can be mixed. Especially one needs to be careful when it comes to toxic plants. All healing herbs on one particular ground must not be gathered. A number of the finest examples should be left for seed. Unfortunately, this is not always so. Some plants, for example, gentian, become very rare because of the excessive and unplanned exploitation of the plant.
As we said previously, the best time to gather herbs is when the weather is sunny, beautiful and completely dry. Wet plants, from rain or dew quickly break down and lose in quality. The picked flowers and leaves are dried in shade to preserve the color. Only big roots are dried in the sun. They should not be dried on the ground or on the grass, but on wooden supplies. Healing plants should be dried on a wart and should be placed in thin layers. Dried healing herbs should be kept in containers that can be tightly closed or in wooden boxes. The rooms in which herbs are kept must be dry, clean and well ventilated.
To Sum up:
It is very important to know which parts of the plants can be gathered and when is the best time for that.
– Early in the spring are harvested fully developed poplar and pine’s buds.
– The flowers are harvested in the beginning of flowering.
– The leaves and whole plants are harvested when the first flower appears. At this stage they have the most healing ingredients.
– Fruits and seeds are harvested at full maturity.
– Roots and other underground plants are usually dug up in fall, rarely in spring.
– The roots of the annual plants are collected when the plant is in bloom. Only large, fully developed roots of perennial plants are gathered. Young roots should not be dug up.
– The bark of some herbs should be peeled up early in the spring, when there is the most juice in it. It should be peeled only smooth bark, which is not cracked.
- There is also a calendar for gathering healing plants, but it can be used only as a general guide. The time of maturing of the same plant varies according to age, region and of the elevation.