In all civilizations of the world, the method of healing with medicinal plants has been successfully applied for thousands of years. Science today accepts this method, which certainly has a significant place in the future. Along with the knowledge that synthetic drugs can be harmful and leave consequences on the human body, the importance of medicinal plants in modern medicine is becoming greater. It is recommended that in addition to chemical drugs, preparations and agents used for therapy and treatment, adjuvants be natural.
In ancient times, people used plants for healing more intuitively than consciously. Later, the medicinal properties of plants were associated with magic and sorcery, so the plants were used in various religious rites. The power of medicinal plants is often equated with the power of nature. Plants were attributed the role of an almighty medicine capable of overcoming any disease. Such notions have persisted in folk medicine to this day. In modern science, medicinal plants are gaining more attention and importance. There are more and more people who pick medicinal plants for their own needs during the year. This job or hobby requires some knowledge because in addition to non-poisonous plants, poisonous plants can be found in nature that cannot always be easily recognized and distinguished.
Tips for amateur herbalists:
1. In the beginning, it is good to pick medicinal plants in the company of more experienced pickers.
2. Plants should be harvested only in unpolluted places, ie away from roads, industrial zones, polluted watercourses and the like.
3. Only one plant should be picked during one day. Never multiple plant species at the same time.
4. It is recommended to clean the harvested plants immediately from foreign impurities and impurities.
5. Plants should be picked in dry and sunny weather.
6. It is not necessary to harvest all plants from one area. The highest quality plants should be left to further reproduce and grow. Plants should not be uprooted but cut with a sickle or sharp scissors.
7. Harvested plants are best kept in baskets and do not compact the plants next to each other.
8. Plants are harvested according to the harvest calendar keeping in mind the following general instructions: flowers are harvested as soon as they begin to open, leaves are harvested when the plant begins to bloom, buds are harvested unopened, some plants are harvested in early spring when the whole plant begins to bloom , fruits are harvested according to the calendar, some plant species are harvested before they ripen, some plant species are harvested when fully ripe (rosehip). The seeds are collected only when they are fully ripe. The bark is removed before the plant leaves (in early spring or late autumn). Some plants are harvested when the leaves fall off. The underground organs of perennial plants (root, tuber and rhizome) are extracted in early spring or late autumn.
Drying and storage of plants
The quality and healing properties of plants depend on the proper drying and storage of plants.
1. Flowers and leaves should be dried in the shade where there is drafts. In a thin layer with occasional rolling. Drying takes 2 to 10 days.
2. The roots should be washed with cold water after removal from the soil. Larger pieces of roots should be cut into smaller pieces. Then the pieces should be strung on a thread and dried in the sun or strong wind. Drying takes up to 20 days. The fruits can also be dried in the sun.
3. Dried plants should be stored in well-closed, usually multi-layered paper bags in a dry and dark place where the temperature does not exceed 25 ° C.
4. Shelf life is different for different types of plants. In general, it could be said that flowers and dried fragrant medicinal plants can be stored for up to a year. The leaves and whole plants can be stored for one to two years. The fruits, roots and bark of plants can be stored for 2 to 3 years.
5. Medicinal herbs are most commonly used to make teas. An important rule is that the flowers of the plant, the leaves and the soft parts of the plant should never be cooked. Just pour boiling water over them. Leave covered for 15 to 45 minutes. Depending on the strength of the tea you want. Usually, one tablespoon of tea is poured with 200 milliliters of boiling water.
6. Bitter teas are usually not sweetened because that way they get a bland taste and it is difficult to drink them. They can even cause the urge to vomit. Also teas that are drunk before meals are best drunk unsweetened. Teas that are drunk after a meal can be sweetened with honey, for example.
Important Tip: Avoid using tea blends that have not been recommended to you by a herbalist.