What grows is often what we need, so I’d like to share some of my favorite fall plants to harvest for body, mind and soul.
Plants whose roots are used in medicine and healing are best harvested in autumn when they have had all summer long to pull up nutrients from the soil. The ones listed below are good for preventing and healing fall colds, and can be chopped and infused into tinctures or oils for use throughout the winter, or sliced and sautéed or roasted to make your favorite meal a little wild!
Burdock has been an ally of mine for a long time. Her fuzzy leaves grow in a rosette from the ground and are beneficial for soothing rashes. It’s the root, however, that is a powerhouse of nutrients and medicine. I often use her to stimulate a sluggish digestive system but she’s also an antiviral. That’s pretty amazing because there’s not much in the realm of traditional medicine that acts quite the same way. No matter what illness is knocking at your door, a tincture of burdock is a great way to meet it. Don’t forget to combine it with echinacea, elderberries, or another immune-boosting herb as well.
Spiritually, burdock great for grounding and helping us connect with the earth and the world around us.
|Dandelions in the Spring|
Photo courtesy of Identify That Plant
|Mullein photo courtesy of Squat the planet|
I’m always battling dry congestion.. Stuffy noses, head colds… sticky, stuck and dry, dry, dry… that’s how I feel when I’m sick.This is why mullein is my friend.
Traditionally known to alleviate allergies and support the lungs, I use a tincture of mullein leaves when I am congested--regardless of the cause (and sometimes it is hard to tell if the cause is a cold virus or allergies and with mullein, it doesn’t matter). She brings so much moisture into the body that I’m almost instantly soothed. Post nasal gunk begins moving, and cools the heat of the uncomfortableness.
Now is a good time to harvest first year plants. Mullein is a biennial, so second year plants have already gone to seed. First year plants, however, have a nice rosette of large, fluffy leaves. If you’re going to harvest the entire plant, may as well dig her up from the root and include the root in your tincture or oil as well.
|Goldenrod photo courtesy of Garden Compass|