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Herbal Healers

11 10 tips and advice Herbs are best collected on a sunny morning after the dew has dried. Choose the finest plants, growing in big clumps away from roads or sprayed land. Do not deplete the area. Pick randomly and instinctively and leave plenty of flowers for propagation. Gather and dry those leaves, flowers, seeds, berries and roots which you think will be the most useful to you later in the year for winter colds and First Aid, those for reoccurring weakness and problems, and also herbal tonics and preventatives. Take a basket, or brown paper bags. Do not pack them tightly or overhandle. Harvest your herbs when their power is at its optimum peak. If you miss this point they can still be harvested and dried, or used fresh, but may not be so strong. All herbs can be bought dried from health food shops when needed. Leaves are at their prime just before the flowers open. Flowers are at their prime just as they open. Roots are best picked in Autumn when the goodness is passed back down from the leaves. Pick the aerial parts of the herbs as the moon is waxing to full and the roots as the moon is waning. I like to thank the plants as I am picking them, affirming my use for the herb. Dry the herbs in a warm dry airy place away from direct sunlight, hanging them in bunches, or laying them out on clean sheets of paper. Turn them frequently. Drying times vary, but the stems and stalks should snap cleanly. Roots should be washed not soaked, chopped and laid out to dry. They should be dry enough to snap or chip with a hammer. Direct sunlight weakens dried herbs so store them in brown paper or darkened jars. Keep them dry and label them carefully. Dried herbs should smell and taste as good as the fresh plant, discard them if they smell musty. Leaves and flowers will last for about a year. Fruit, roots and bark will last for up to two years. Dried herbs can be used in salads, cooking, drinks and baths, as well as in medicine. They can also be used in pot pourri, tussie mussies fragrant posies with symbolic meanings and hidden messages, garlands, wreaths, hangings and herb sachets and pillows. The dried aromatic leaves, seeds, flowers and berries can be burnt as incense, their subtle properties released for invocation and ritual.
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