collecting wild botanicals

educating myself on the various wild edible & medicinal plants in the woods around us. love going for hikes and know the basic plants — ferns, blackberry, huckleberry, salal and oregon grape. want to learn more and see if i can prepare and use some natural products to replace the chemical ones in my house. plan on collecting nettles this weekend and reading up on how to dry wild plants.

Here’s what I’ve found: cut plants as low to the ground as you can and bundle with a rubber band about 1-2 inches from the cut ends. if they are very dirty, gently rinse. find a dark, dry place to hang upside down until totally dried. after they are dry, remove the leaves/flowers and store in a glass jar in a cool, dark area. be sure to label with the name and date collected. paper bags can also be used to dry them if hanging upside down doesn’t seem to work.

to make a cold infusion tea: suspend herb in cloth bag in room temperature water overnight. remove herb.

to make standard infusion tea: steep herb in hot water for 1 hour, strain.

to make strong decoction: boil herb in water for 10 minutes. cool and strain.

pictures of our nettle collecting trip to post in the next few days.

native medicinals

went to a class this past week by one of the staff at TrackersNW. It was a short class that only covered 3 plants, but whetted my curiosity for more. The ones discussed and their possible uses were:

Oregon Grape (mahonia) Apparently has antimicrobial properties in the root (and I guess the leaves and berries as well) since it’s from berberine which creates the bitter taste, so is probably in the whole plant. A digestive tincture or in glycerin for skin problems.

Dandelion – steam the greens

Western Red Cedar – crush the needles, put in a french press and make a tea. good for respiratory and allergy problems.

NOTE: not intended as medical advice and whatever other disclaimers are necessary 🙂