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How You Can Harvest Your Own Medicinal Roots
Most people harvest their medicinal roots in the fall, as this is when the roots are the strongest and have the most healing properties, but if you want those fall roots, you need to plant in the spring. The Ancient Chinese have made harvesting medicinal roots an art form and taught us how to use these roots for healing purposes.
Dandelion has many health benefits in addition to their common medicinal uses. Dandelion root works well for the treatment of infections, loss of appetite, upset tummies, and even for fighting cancer.
Valerian is most often used for relaxation, insomnia, as well as stopping anxiety.
Burdock root has been well known for fighting cancer, treating sores and abscesses, and treating almost any type of skin condition since the 18th century.
Echinacea is well-known by many of its immune boosting properties. It can also really help during the early stages of flu or colds.
Harvesting roots correctly is important if you want them to work for whatever health issue you plan to use them for later on.
Keep reading and find out how you can harvest, dry, and store these valuable medicinal roots.
If you have ever tried to dig up a dandelion from your yard, you know that they have roots that just don’t seem to have any end to them! It’s easier to dig them up in a soft garden or dirt bed rather than out of your lawn, but if that’s where they are, then so be it!
Pull the dandelion by gripping it as close to the ground as possible and pull. You can also use a small tool called a weed puller and you might find that the root comes out completely and with little effort on your part.
Once harvested, scrub the root gently with water to remove all the dirt. An old toothbrush or soft vegetable brush works well. You can use the root fresh, if you like, or for long term storage, chop into smaller pieces and dry in your dehydrator. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to use them. Keep them out of direct sunlight.
Dandelion root is a known liver cleanser and can help stop inflammation in the body. You can make a tincture with the dried root by covering it with some vodka in an airtight jar and allow it to sit for 6 weeks. Shake it once per day. Stain out the dried root, and store this in a tightly sealed glass container. You can make tea simply by pouring hot water over the root and allowing to steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
Note: If you have ulcers, gallstones, or bowel problems, you should avoid dandelion.
2. Valerian Root
You can grow valerian in your garden very easily. In fact, valerian is a perennial plant, which means that it will re-seed itself every year. Plant once and forget about it! How easy is that? If you harvest from the wild, then please do so responsibly and respectfully.
Pull valerian root like you would dandelion. Scrub it clean with a soft brush. Dry in the same manner as dandelion root.
You can use valerian as either a tincture or tea exactly as you do with dandelion. Most people make a tea in the evenings to ensure an anxiety free deep sleep. If you make a tincture, you can put just a couple of drops under your tongue.
Note: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid valerian use.
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3. Burdock Root
You can harvest burdock root in a similar manner to dandelion. Wash them with a soft brush and allow to dry in a warm, dry place. Many people find that a window screen works well for this purpose, as it allows air to flow on all sides. When the root is dry enough that it snaps in half easily, it’s ready to be used.
Burdock root is perfect for just about any skin condition including oily skin, dry skin, dandruff, poison ivy, itching from bug bites, and a host of other issues. You can use fresh burdock root or a tincture made from the dried root as a treatment for impetigo, skin ulcers, or a treatment for staph infections (read more about burdock root benefits). Burdock root is often combined with dandelion as an effective blood purifier.
SEE ALSO: Top 15 Most Powerful Medicinal Plants
4. Echinacea Roots
This is another plant that you might want to think about planting in your garden. It has the most beautiful flowers in the summer, but the benefits from the roots make them worth growing all by themselves. When your Echinacea plants are 3 or 4 years old, they are ready for harvesting.
After you harvest your roots, wash them, then cut them into smaller pieces so they can dry more easily. You might be surprised at just how tough these roots are! Many people find that it is easier to cut them with small garden clippers or rose pruning shears than a knife.
After the roots have dried a bit, make your tincture. Echinacea root is super stimulating to your immune system, so consuming some of this during the winter flu season will eliminate your need for a flu shot. If you do feel yourself coming down with some kind of bug, drink some tea made from the root several times each day, or use a few drops of the tincture several times per day. You should find that that cold or flu never really materializes, if you catch it in time.
Good luck harvesting!