Gardening

When and how to collect medicinal plants

There are numerous medicinal plants that we can use in natural remedies in our day to day to help our body prevent diseases or regain health.

If you are thinking of starting to grow your own garden or organic garden with medicinal plants , this article interests you because we are going to explain to you when and how to collect or harvest medicinal plants and take advantage of their properties and benefits.

Also in the second part of this article we will explain in detail how medicinal plants should be dried .

When to harvest medicinal plants

To answer the first question, the when, the first thing to consider is the weather. It is important to collect our plants on a sunny and dry day , without rain the day or night before, which would cause too much humidity to the plants and complicate their drying.

On the other hand, it is advisable to harvest in full sunlight , when the sun is highest in times of temperate temperatures, that is, at noon , and before its peak in times of high temperatures. This way we guarantee that the possible humidity created by the morning dew has already disappeared, that the plant has dried thanks to the heat and the rays of the sun but that this does not affect its integrity. It is important to do it before the sun sets, since in the late afternoon there is again an increase in humidity that would influence the well-being of the harvest.

This that we have explained should not be applied in case the parts that we are going to use of the plant are the roots and bulbs , the best time to harvest them is early in the morning or when the sun goes down.

It is also important to take into account other meteorological aspects such as wind and cold, since it is not appropriate to collect if they are aggressive because they could cause our plants to lose quality.

Another thing that influences the quality when collecting is the cycle of the moon, since its influence is proven to affect the sap, or plant food. In a new moon it is interesting to collect the roots and bulbs; in crescent moon, the stems and barks; on a full moon, the leaves and flowers; and in the waning moon, the seeds and fruits.

> READ 28 aromatic and medicinal plants that you can grow at home

Finally, we must be clear about which part of the plant we are going to use in order to take into account what season of the year and time of day is the best time for harvesting , taking into account its growth process and its cycles:

 

  • Bulbs and roots : the best option to collect this part of the plants is in the spring or autumn seasons, when they are at their maximum development. Better to do it at dawn or dusk, it is the only part of the plant that is favored by extraction without sun.

 

  • Leaves : this part must be collected before the flowering of the plant. It is usually done in spring but it will depend on each type of plant. For example, in plants that are perennial, the extraction of the leaves can be carried out at any time of the year as long as there is no flower. The best time of day is in full sun.

 

  • Flower : its time of collection is in its maximum splendor, normally in spring or summer, but it will depend on each type of plant. The best time is when it is fully open, and it is usually at noon.

collect medicinal plants

 

  • Fruits : we will collect them at the moment of their maturity, when they are ready to be ingested. Each plant or tree has its own maturation process, we must adapt to it. Any time of the day is a good time to harvest.

 

  • Seeds : seeds must be collected before they spread or fall from the plant. Harvesting can be done at any time of the day but preferably in sunlight.

 

  • Stems : Stems are usually harvested in spring and in the midday sun.

 

  • Bark : the best time to collect it is in autumn and with sunlight. Throughout noon is its best time since we guarantee less humidity.

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How to harvest medicinal plants

Regarding how we should carry out the collection of our medicinal plants, there are several important aspects that you must take into account:

  • Make sure that the plant you take is the right one. Many of the known medicinal plants are wild. If you are going to collect any of this type, we recommend that you make sure that the plant is adequate by taking readings, comparing images or asking a professional, in order to avoid the use of possible toxic plants. In the event that you have planted them in your garden or orchard, you will be sure that you are collecting the appropriate ones.

 

  • Collect the necessary amount responsibly. It is important to take into account and anticipate how much of each plant you will need to get through the year. Harvesting cannot endanger the existence of a plant as it would damage the ecosystem and the viability of that species.

 

  • If you have your own medicinal plants at home, you must collect a maximum of 50% of the plant, except with the fruits that can be collected entirely.

 

  • In the case of collecting in outdoor and wild areas, you should take into account if the plant is in a state of protection, if it is a native plant or an invasive species and adapt your collection to this information.

 

  • It is advisable to use the correct tools. Protecting your hands with gloves is a good option to take care of your skin, as is wearing long sleeves to avoid punctures or wounds on the arms. Another useful tool is to use pruning shears, tweezers, a sharp and clean knife or razor, which facilitate the proper removal of the desired part.

 

  • To store your harvest it is important that you never use plastic since it is not breathable and maintains moisture, which can cause your plants to rot. Using paper or cloth bags and wicker baskets is the best option.

We hope that this article has been useful and provides you with information of interest and quality to start collecting your medicinal plants respecting nature and doing it in a safe way. Thanks for reading us.

 

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