CIRCLE of
13 Herbalists
Circle of 13 Herbalists

FORAGING
Proper plant identification is important when harvesting plants for human and animal use. Many plants maybe poisonous to humans and animals causing skin irritations, illness and even death.
Proper collection of plants for medicinal and dietary needs requires knowing which parts of the plant are collected, when they are collected, and how to collect herbs following proper horticulture guidelines.
The whole plant should never be collected, if collecting the required herbage does not require killing the entire plant. Many plant parts in herbal medicines, the leaves, flowers, and seeds can be collected safely without damaging the entire plant.
Herbs should be dried quickly and completely to prevent the loss of essential constituents and to prevent discoloring, loss of flavoring, and molding. The use of an herb dehydrator can help in the drying process, but herbs can also be dried in an oven, and dried in the sun.
Dried herbs can be stored in paper bags, clay or ceramic jars, or glass containers; herbs should always be stored in airtight containers. The herbage should be labeled with the name of the plant, the part collected, and where and when the herb was collected to ensure proper stock rotation.
Aerial parts, or the above ground parts of a plant should be collected when flowering to give the mixture a better-balance of leaves, stems, flowers and seeds.
Leaves should be harvested before the plant flowers, and large leaves should be collected without their stems, while smaller leaves can be gathered on their stems and separated after harvesting. Deciduous leaves are best gathered just before the flowering season. And evergreen herbs can be harvested throughout year. Leaves can be stored whole or crumbled for use in teas.
Young leaves can be harvested for soups, salads, cooking, and tonics; being at their prime they can provide the essential vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health.
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This publication is not intended to be a tool for diagnostic or prescriptual health care. This is an educational reference and not a substitute for qualified health care practitioners. The author(s) assumes no responsibilities for the use of any herb or procedure in this publication.