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close this bookRelated Agroforestry Livelihood (IIRR, 1992, 30 p.)
close this folderMedicinal uses of upland vegetation (including plant essences)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentCollection/harvesting medicinal plants
View the documentPrimary processing of medicinal plants
View the documentGlossary of terms

Collection/harvesting medicinal plants

The time and method of harvesting medicinal plants are very important. Plants contain numerous active constituents, chemical compounds responsible for the therapeutic activity, which are affected by environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, light and manner of handling during harvest.

In general, it is best to harvest in the morning on a warm, sunny day.

Different plant parts require different methods of collection. As much as possible, leaves and flowering tops should be hand-picked. If the plant pan to be used is the seed, the fruit must be fully ripe before harvest. If the whole fruit is to be used, it must be harvested before reaching maturity. Underground parts are collected before the stage of flowering.

Use only the recommended parts. The relative distribution of constituents within the plant body varies. Sometimes, the roots or the seeds may contain more of the active constitutent than the leaves and stem or viceversa.