Tree medicines have an advantage over fresh herbs in that they can be harvested year-round. There are several prevalent varieties that grow in North America whose roots, leaves, bark, or twigs can be used to treat common ailments. As with using herbs, it’s important to know how to harvest the necessary parts without killing the entire plant.
- Be mindful of the tree’s potential longevity when gathering medicines
Harvest from downed limbs or trees by stripping the bark of roots or twigs with a sharp knife. Stripping a living tree of its bark will harm the tree, if not kill it.
2. Harvest from the cambium
The relevant medicinal components are found in the living yellow-green layer underneath the rough outer bark.
3. Use immediately or dry for later use
Dry bark by hanging it or laying it in non-overlapping strips in a shady location. To dry leaves, tie the stems or branches together and hang them in bunches somewhere shady.