How to start collecting herbs

Gathering herbs is not a black magic. However, from the simplest plants you can do a lot: from cosmetics to tinctures. Where to collect them? Apparently the answer is simple, because everyone knows where the weeds look. In meadows, under the woods, in the fields. But there is one thing - it's better that the area from which you collect herbs is located away from busy roads and away from fields where a lot of chemical fertilizers are used. So the more in the wilds, the better. All you need, is some paper bags, or a wicker baskets, scissors or knife and good shoes.

What and how to collect:
Flowers - most often whole baskets, sometimes only inflorescences (eg mullein). We collect during the full flowering of the plant; collected at another time, they lose their natural color, crumble and even lose their healing properties. It's best to collect the flowers in a flat, wicker basket. Dry immediately after collection, because they quickly lose therapeutic substances.

 Leaves - the harvest period depends on the species. Sometimes it is harvested before the flowering of the plant, sometimes in the course of time, sometimes after - e.g. in the leaves of the lily of the valley, there are twice as many active substances before the flowering as during the flowering. The time of the day also has an effect - for example, the active substances contained in the leaves of digitalis at night are decomposed, so collecting them in the morning will make no sense.

 Fruit and seeds - we collect all day long, but best when it is cool and dry. On hot days - the best time to harvest it in the morning - after the dew dries, or in the evening - before the dew appears. We harvest most fruits when they finally mature, although there are exceptions. For example, we collect the fruits of wild rose a few days before the final ripening.

 Buds - early spring, when they are swollen, but still undeveloped. Then the most active substances are in them. Small buds are peeled from the side branches of adult trees, large (eg pine) - we cut with a knife.  

Bark - we pull the bark in spring, when the trees are circulating in the trees, and on the branches there are donuts and first leaves. The bark must be smooth, shiny, without any cracks. We clean it from moss and unnecessary farfocli. In our latitude you can go crazy and collect the bark of viburnum, buckthorn, willow and oak, but if you intend to use state property, go to the forester beforehand. That's what they say in the "Health" newsletter.

 Roots / rhizomes - we dig in spring or autumn. Before drying, clean and crush.

How and where I dry my herbs

Roots and rhizomes can be dried in the sun, but due to the date of their harvest (early spring, late autumn), it can be a bit problematic. The majority of weeds are dried in the shade - optimal temperature for drying green parts - about 35 degrees Celsius, for non-green parts (rhizomes, roots, bark etc.) - 40 to 70 degrees C. So the drying place should be warm, shaded, airy , free from extraneous odors and pests. For me and in my opinion, the attic is irreplaceable in this role.

I store my herbs in paper bags or canvas bags - something permeating the air.   

I encourage you to collect, even the 'simplest' plants that everyone associates and passes on their path - clover, dandelions, daisies. It draws, relaxes, gives satisfaction. This year, the fact that I write this blog motivates me to collect herbs and share it with you. 

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