Active Parts of Herbs

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-13 (EDT)

See Also Naturopathic Therapies
See Also Botanical Medicine (Herbalism)

Each part of a plant has different constituents and hence different therapeutic properties. For each herb there are specific parts that are used in order to achieve the desired action or therapeutic effect. The desired part of the plant also dictates when it is best harvested. Ideally, each part of the plant is picked when it is in its prime. Parts of plants include:

  • Leaves: A plant's foliage is almost always strongest just before and during flowering.
  • Flowers: An herb's flowers are harvested when they are in their prime, either in bud stage or when just coming into full bloom, depending on their intended use.
  • Seeds: The herb's seeds are harvested when mature.
  • Roots and Rhizomes: The undergound parts of an herb are harvested after the plant's leaves die down. For most herbs, this will be in late summer or fall. In the case of biennials, underground portions are collected in their first fall or their second spring so that they don't become woody.

Check out further information on botanical medicine and the classification of herbs.