GATHERING AND PRESERVING HERBS

PRESERVING HERBS

It must be understood that both wide experience and knowledge of herbs are needed to successfully gather and preserve them. It is a study of a lifetime. Lack of knowledge in the gathering and preserving of herbs may render them of little or no medicinal value. Knowledge of the soil is also necessary. Plant grown in virgin soil will contain far greater medicinal value than those grown in different localities will show a great difference in the amount of curative properties they contain.

There is a difference between cultivated plants and those growing in their natural wild state. For instance, the dandelion growing wild has rare medicinal properties that are almost entirely lost when the plant is cultivated. Wild herbs are more effective for us in medicines than those grown in the garden.

Gather herbs only in dry weather, preferably when the plant is in full bloom or the seeds are getting ripe.

Barks

The barks should be taken when the sap is rising in the spring. Shave off the rough outer part; then peel the inner part from the trunk of the tree. To dry, put in the sun for a short time (if desired), then complete the drying in the shade. Be sure the pieces of bark are thoroughly dry. If there is any moisture left in them when they are put away, they will mold.

Roots

Dig up the roots either in the spring when the sap is rising or in the late autumn, after the sap has grown down. Slice and dry the roots in the shade, tie them up in small bundles, and put them in the attic or someplace where they are sure to keep dry.

Flowers, Seeds and Leaves

Flowers, seeds, and leaves should be gathered when they are in their prime, gathering only the perfect ones. These should also be dried in the shade. When thoroughly dry, put them in heavy brown paper bags.

Do not preserve herbs in glass, because sometimes the glass sweats. If any moisture comes in contact with the herbs they will become moldy.

When barks, roots, or other herbs are thoroughly dried and kept dry, they will retain their medicinal value for years.


Bark, roots, flowers, seeds, or leaves may all be dried for short a time in the sun, but always complete the drying process in the shade. Too much exposure to the sun tends to lessen the medicinal value. They may be dried entirely in the shade in an airy place. The only thing gained by putting them in the sun for a short time is to hasten the dryness process.
A Guide on Herbal Help
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