Monday, November 26, 2007

Questions to ask before harvesting a plant

Questions to ask and answer before harvesting and using a plant.

Be certain you have a positive ID - OR be certain it is not a deadly plant. The most deadly plants in New England are both in the Umbelliferae family.

NEVER take more than ten percent of a stand of plants.

Never harvest endangered or at risk plants. For a list see United Plant Savers on the web.

Don’t take the parts, or all of the parts, the plant needs to reproduce or grow back.

Don’t tell the neighborhood about it.

ASK the plant’s permission. Take the time to sit with the plant, naming your purpose and asking for the plants blessings. Then you may harvest.

THANK the plant. Provide compost, water, cornmeal, tobacco, or something nourishing to the plant in return. Prayer and Song are included here.

What part of the plant should I use/harvest?

How much should I use?

How often?

How should I prepare it?

What time of the year should I harvest?

Make certain that if you are harvesting aerial parts of the plant that you are harvesting on a perfectly dry day.
Make sure it is legal to harvest at that place and that it is not sprayed or compromised.

LOG your preparations as much as possible – journals are indispensable. And don’t be afraid to ask these questions to the plant and to yourself while sitting with the plant. You can back it up later with books, but you’ll be surprised how informative plants and your own intuition are.

What’s in a label?
~Common Name
~Latin Name
~Menstrum used
~Part of plant used, how much, fresh or dried
~Moon phase optional
~Quantity ~Use/purpose

©Ananda Wilson

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