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  • Writer's pictureAnna

Collecting Wild herbs

I love to spent my free time in nature, enjoying the sun on my skin, breathing fresh air, watch bees and other pollinators flying from blossom to blossom and just watching nature excisting.


ein Foto von mir wie ich im Schneidersitz auf einer Wiese mit hoch gewachsenen Kräutern sitze

You will often see me with my collecting-basket ot collecting-bag wandering/wondering throw meadows and forests always searching for wild herbs. There is a whole world of wild herbs to discover and I wanna take you with me on my jounry threw herbalism. In my training to become an certified herbalist one of my tasks is to create an herbarium, where I press and dry flowers to help me determine wild herbs.

I'm happy you visited my website and I wanna invite you to come with me to dive into the world of herbalism with me, because I think everybody should have a basic knowledge about herbalism and how to support your body with wild grown herbs, flowers and trees.





If you wanna start your own herbarium, just visit my blog post "How to create your own herbarium"









HOW TO: collect wild herbs



ich in der Sonne auf einer Wiese mit meinem Sammelkorb

In this blog post I wanna explain to you how you can collect wild herbs the right way, so you can use their power to support your body in a natural way. The following points are the most important basics, that (in my opinion) everybody how is collecting herbs should know about.


For most of this point the foundation is thoughtfullness and appreciation.



1. Only collect herbs which you can indentify safely


That's the most important point - you have to be 100% sure what you are collecting.


Unterscheidung zwischen Bärlauch, Herbstzeitlosen und Maiglöckchen

Among other things, this is such important, because there are plants who are really easy to confound. There are plants who look pretty similar, one of them is great to use, the other one can be poisoning. An example for this is

Wild garlic (first picture) which is amazing to make seasoned salt or pesto, but it looks pretty similar to autumn crocos (bottom left) and lily of the valley (bottom right), which are both toxic.


That's the reason it is inevitable to have as much information as possible when it comes to wild herbs. Before you go outside and start collecting, make sure you know what you are searching for an what you're collecting. When I'm searching for a special kind of plant I first do my research to make sure I know the differentiaging factors.


Bestimmungsbuch: Was blüht denn da?


There are a lot of great field guides you can use, Was blüht denn da?“* is my favorite one but sadly it is is only available in german. It was actually a present from my mom and take it with me on every herbal-hunting I'm going to.

So if you're interested in collecting your own herbs , invest in an good field guide you can handle easily.






As an addition you can also use Apps to indentify herbs and other plants, for example: Flora Incognito, or PlantNet. But be careful, always check the indentifying features of the plant and compare them, because this apps only compares the picture to other ones and it's not 100% safely exact.



2. Collect in moderation not in masses


A proper collecter is invisible - that means if someone walks by your collecting point he can't tell that there was someone collecting herbs. You should always leave your place clean and not complette grazed.

The most amount of herbs you should pick is 1/3 of the whole plant and there are a few reasons for that:


  • meanwhile there are more and more herbalist and nature enthusiasts, they all have in common that they wanna learn more about nature. So if you would pick everything it makes it way harder for other people to disocover the world of herbalism.

  • you enable the plant to grow the following year, because they will spread seeds after blooming.

  • Not only us humans are using the power of nature, there are a lot of animals depending an herbs, wild fruits and even roots. There are a lot of studies showing that animal use different kind of herbs to cure themselfes, for example some kind of birds use yarrows while nesting and benefit from the antibacterial effect of the plant. Bees and other pollinatures hardly depend an wild flowers and herbs, but the same thing happens reverse, because a lot of plants also depend on them for pollination.


3. Don't collect on waysides


mein Hund Buddy vor einem Rapsfeld


I think everyone how's owning a dog, especially a male one can guess whats the reason for this point. The last thing you wanna have in your herbal products is dogs pee. To speak from own experience my male dog Buddy (in the picture on the left side) loves to pee on literally everyhting, nothing is safe. Especially on waysides where there are a lot of people walking there dog I would collect herbs for using in your products.






4. If possible collect in a height of 30cm


If possible just collect herbs and wild fruits in a height of 30cm, the reason for this is dog pee and also the "fox-tapeworm" which can be toxic to our body. But this is not e reason to not collect herbs, and there are also herbs for example the drug "eyebright", which you only collect on meadows underneith this 30 cm. There are 4 methods to get your herbs sterile, but only use them when you're concerned about the collecting spot, because this methodes also destroy a few ingredients from the plant.

  • Freeze them for a few days

  • Heat them up on around 60°C for a few minutes

  • Put them in a place with 85% humidity with an temprature of 45°C

  • Put them in a place with 25% humidity with an temprature of 25°C


4. Only collect the parts of the plants you're using


Mein Sammelkorb, neben Gänseblümche, gefüllt mit Spitzwegerich und anderen Kräutern


If you're going to collect for example daisys and you only need the blossoms, just collect the blossom and don't take the whole plant with you. Take your time, connect with nature and think about what you wanna collect and what parts of the plant you wanna use. Also make sure that you don't take tons of plants with you which you can't process.




5. Don't collect nearby streets with a lot of traffic


I think this point is speaking for its self, if your living in a big city and collecting herbs in the nearby park, that's totally fine. What I wanna tell you with this point is, that if you have the option to an collecting spot which isn't connected to a street with a lot of traffic, take the effort and go there. It's not only that the pollution of the streets isn't the best thing in your herbal products, it's also more enjoyable to have a quiet place in nature with birds singing around you and bees flying around, rather than hearing all the traffic.


6. Never collect in nature sanctuarys


Nature sancturays aren't protected for no reason and we should all respect that. The same thing counts for protected flowers, because with all the agriculture, humans managed that there are a lot of herbs are nearly extincted, which is really sad. So that's the reason some wild herbs are protected and that's good the way it is!


Nahaufnahme eines Edelweiß

With this methode, we made sure that these plants are protected and the following generations can learn and admire this plants the same way like we do. One of the most famous protected herbs in austria is the "Edelweiß" in the picture on the left side. So if you ever hiking the alps in austria and find one of this just have a look put never collect them!

In every country and everystate there are other rules and different list of protected herbs - so do your research.




7. Pick the right time frame to collect


For every part of the plant there is a timeframe to collec it, it made an quick overview when you can collect each part:


Nahaufnahme einer Knospe

Burgeon


they are the most "juicy" if you collect them in spring. The perfect time to collect them is when they are closed or poped up quite a bit. It's extremly important to just collect a few of them, because otherwise the plant will not have blossoms.


die Blüte einer Schafgarbe

Blossoms & leafs

there are some plants flowering in spring, some in summer. If you're collecting them the best time to get them is a sunny day, after 2 days without rain and perfect time is around noon.


Bild von Hagebutten


Wild fruits and seeds

from the end of juni there are the first flowers from who we can collect seeds and wild fruits. For example seeds of the Alliaria petiolata as well as the fruits from nettels. Soon after that a lot of wild beeries and rosehipes are ready to pick them.


Wurzeln in einem Teller

Roots


they can be collected from september until march, as soon the overground part of the plants starts to contract you can collect the rooots. In autumn the flavour is more intenste and in spring the contain more bitterign agents.


Pinienharz, dass am Baum herunter rinnt

Resin

be ready to get your hands dirty while collecting resin. It can be collected the whole year round, but make sure to just pick the amount you need and not take away to much of if as well as never hurt the tree, because it needs the resin to cure itself.



8. thoughtfullness and appreciation


Last but not least - one of the most important points here - act toughtfullness with nature and just take what you really need. I always love to share with people passing by, no matter if it's just knowledge or even some of my collected treasures. Nature provieds us with its special gifts we just need do keep our eyes and hearts open to find them. Sometimes you will just stumble to the exact herb your body needs in that moment, so take your time and open your eyes for new herbs, fruits, flowers, resins and more.

One thing I love to do is just thanking 1 minute, appriciate the nature and say THANK YOU! You can also do a small ceremonie for example make i little collar and let i sitting on a tree where you picked resin - be creative and thankfull!

9. After Collecting


I love to collect herbs in a basket, so they have space to breath, they won't squashed and you also have space to sort them. As well as small animals you maybe took with you while collecting herbs can get out.


Löwenzahnblüten, Spitzwegerich und Apfelbaumblüten halb bedeckt mit einem Geschirrtuch

When I finished my herbal-hunt i do place all of my collected herbs an a table in the sun and cover them with a towel. So all little animals you may took with you while collecting while slowly crawl into the light.




 

I think I pointed out all the important rules for collecting wild herbs, so grab you basket or bag an start wandering/wondering around and collect your first wild herbs. I would be more than happy if you would share a story on instagram an tag me or just send a picture!

 

Mein Hund Buddy und ich sagen DANKE

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*all Links marked with a start, are Affialiate Links, that means if you click on it an buy something in the online-store, I will get a small share from your order, you won't pay an higher price! It's just to support me, because all my Blog-Post are for free and that's a way I can earn a bit of monay out of it.


ACHTUNG: Rezepte, Anwendungsmöglichkeiten, Inhalte & Angaben wurden nach dem aktuellen Wissensstand der Autorin sorgfältig recherchiert und verfasst, erfolgen aber ohne Gewähr. Sie stellen keinesfalls Anspruch auf Vollständigkeit und/oder Richtigkeit im schulmedizinischen Verständnis. Es muss betont werden, dass jeder Mensch unterschiedlich auf die Rezepte reagieren kann. Auch natürliche Zutaten, Stoffe & Rohstoffe wie Pflanzenöle, ätherische Öle, Wachse oder ähnliches. können Allergien, Unverträglichkeiten und andere Nebenwirkungen auslösen. Bei Beschwerden und bei eventuellem Risiko ist eine ärtzliche Abklärung unumgänglich. Die Autorin haftet nicht für eventuelle Nachteile oder Schäden, die aus den gegebene Anregungen resultieren.


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