Good Agricultural & Collection Practices For Medicinal Plants
- Many plants have medicinal qualities.basilico image by gianna from Fotolia.com
As the dangers of western medicine and pesticide laced plants become more evident, many are turning to a more holistic and organic approach using fresh ingredients to devise their own treatments. Whether concocting home remedies or gathering plants according to a naturopathic guide book; there are several methods and practices which will help keep your plants clean, safe and fresh until they are ready to be used.
Cleanliness is Paramount
- This rule applies to both gathering medicinal plants in the wild and growing them yourself. It is important to note that plants grown outside are exposed to everything nature has to offer including other plants, animals, fungus, parasites and dirt. Because of this it is important to clean all gathered items upon return from gathering. Failure to do so can result in reduced potency of the medicinal qualities of the plant and can even lead to infestation or mold spores.
The same is true of medicinal plants grown indoors. Although plants grown indoors are not exposed to the elements, there are several pests which are abundant indoors as well. These pests, including toxic black mold, dust mites and weevils can reduce the quality of the medicine, since the plant must divert energy to fighting off their infection.
- While many medicinal plants can be grown well inside the home and most grow well outdoors, the best medicine will come from greenhouse grown plants. Because the sunlight is partially diffused by the glass panels and most rain and pests are kept out, these plants receive only pure water, lots of sunlight and the maximum amount of minerals and nutrients from the soil (or hydroponic fluid) while spending the least amount of energy on defense and protection. This lays the ground work for higher yield and more potent medicine.
- While many plants that grow by the side of the road or near civilization are edible, the nutrients and growing conditions in these areas are often marred or contaminated by pollutants in the air or soil. Additionally, many individuals dump harsh solvents and chemicals near these areas which can work their way into the soil and the nearby plants. When gathering medicinal plants, it is better to gather deep inside an area that has little or no contact with civilization. These areas, most notably in national parks and forests will provide safer to use, more potent medicines.