The basics of herbalism
Medicinal herbs are best collected between 10.00 – 14.00 h on a sunny day. It is better not to collect the herbs when it rains, otherwise they will start to mold while drying and possibly spoil the whole harvest. The active ingredients of the herbs are still in the roots before 10.00 h and release them only after 10.00 h to the foliage. After 14.00 h, the active ingredients sink back into the roots. If you want to collect roots, you can follow the opposite times. It is best to collect young leaves in spring and the adult ones in summer. In the fall, most of the active ingredients are in the berry fruits or the roots.
What type of plant you harvest when and how
For woody plants, it is better to harvest only the upper third, such as St. John’s wort (all herbs / not only leaves or flowers, but everything). With mint, collect the leaves, this is also best done before flowering, otherwise the power of the plant goes into flowering. With the marigold you collect only the flower. The more you harvest the marigold (all types of flowers), the more it blooms. Cut mint like peppermint at the very bottom and harvest. The mint species (all herb leaves) will then sprout again and in August you can harvest again.
Processing of medicinal herbs
If possible, do not wash medicinal herbs and herbs, (unless you suspect contamination) otherwise you will flush out the essential oils and the plant may become moldy as it dries. Don’t tie the plants into bunches and hang them in the sun as usual, you only need the leaves of the individual plants, as these could otherwise become moldy and spoil. Instead, pick off just the leaves and then lay them out individually in a shady place to dry. Kitchen towels on a diaper rack are best. Do not cut the leaves while drying, but only when infusing, so most of the active ingredients are preserved.
Store dried plants in screw-top jars (jam jars) in a dark location. Otherwise, place in darkened jars. Collect only for a year, as the oils and active ingredients escape over time and are no longer present.