Harvesting and Preparing Your Medicine
When collecting medicinal plants you should always harvest them from a clean place. This means never harvesting plants from the roadside, rubbish dumps and graveyards where they are exposed to dirt and other pollution.
Different parts of the plant are used for different purposes. Below, we describe how to harvest these different parts to get the best medicine, while also protecting the plant so it can continue growing. Harvesting, drying and storage can change for different types of plants. If you want more information on the best way of collecting, preparing and storing a particular plant then you should talk to your local herbalist and ask for advice.
- Throw away any dead flowers, and flowers attacked by insects, fungi, or any other disease.
- Do NOT wash flowers. This helps avoid contamination and losing the curative properties of the flowers.
- Only take a few leaves from any one branch.
- Take leaves from branches that grow towards the centre of a tree or plant because these seldom produce fruit.
- Throw away any dead leaves, and leaves attacked by insects, fungi, or any other disease.
- Leaves hardly need washing, except in towns.
- Only harvest the smaller roots leaving the main root intact. This will allow the plant to carry on growing.
- Brush the dirt off the roots and then wash them thoroughly before use.
- If you do not need the roots of a plant, leave them in the ground so that the plant can continue to grow.
- Only take small strips of bark from the branches.
- NEVER cut a lot of bark from the trunk. If you do this, the tree may well die.
- Brush the dirt off the bark. Only wash the bark if it is very dirty. A lot of the curative ingredients of plants are water-soluble and you may lose them through washing.
5. Whole Plant
When you need the whole plant take old ones, leaving the young plants to carry on growing.