Harvesting and Drying Herbs

Harvesting

When harvesting plants and flowers you should
have an attitude of thankfulness. Be happy for the bounty that is available. Always
keep the area you are using pristine. We need to harvest plants which can be eaten
and used. We are helping the seeds sow. Not harvesting plants can cause them to die
off.

However, it is important not to over-harvest. If there is an area where you like
to gather plants keep a log of where you go and then section it mind and jot down
notes of where you plan to harvest the following year.

Alaskan state, national, and municipal
parks may not be harvested. Foraging is only allowed on state land not designated
as parkland. You must collect 50 feet back from the highway. In the national forests
you should stay 200 feet away from any established trails, roads or campgrounds.

It is essential that you follow instructions on when
to gather and how to use each herb.You should harvest herbs on a dry day when they
are ripe, unless instructed otherwise.

Harvest fruit and berries when they are just ripe
before it becomes too soft. In this state they will dry effectively. Bark should
be harvested in autumn when the sap is falling, this will minimize damage to the
plant or tree. Do not remove all of the bark from a limb. Do not remove a strip in
a complete circle around a limb or trunk.

Flowers are best harvested in the morning just after
the dew, if any, has evaporated. Carefully cut flower heads from the stems and dry
them whole on trays. Small flowers, like lavendar need to be harvested like seeds,
that is cut the flower with about 15-25 cm of the stem, hang and dry upside down
over paper away from direct sunlight.

Most roots should be harvested in autumn when the
plant which is showing above ground has wilted. Always double check your reference
or guide before doing any harvesting. Make sure to do your harvesting before the
ground becomes too hard to make digging hard.

Drying

Dry herbs quickly and away from harsh light.
Do not dry them in an area where they may pick up other oders, such as a garage.
Herbs become contaminated with gasoline fumes. For best results keep your drying
room between 79-90 degrees F. When herbs are dry store in a clean, airtight container.
The best containers limit light, are dark glass or are pottery. Most herbs can be
kept for 12-18 months.

Roots need to be washed then cut into small peices
after all fo the dirt has been removed. Small roots can be stored whole, however
large roots are difficult to cut when dry. You can speed the drying process by using
your oven set on its lowest temperature for approximately 2-3 hours.

Drying leaves takes two different forms depending
upon size. Large leaves may be dried individually. Smaller leaves need to be left
on the stem, gathered into a gorup then tied in small bunches. Bunches should be
between 8 and 12 stems depending upon size. Once tied, hang upside down to dry. When
the leaves are brittle to the touch rub them from the stem onto paper and crumble
together. Remember to store your gathered herbs in airtight containers.

References:

The Complete Medicinal
Herbal

pages 118-119.

Alaska’s Wild Plants pages
6.

Anti-inflammatory Herb-Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of the core ingredients of FlameEz?. The use of Turmeric for treatment of different inflammatory diseases has been described in Ayurvedic medicine and in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The active component of Turmeric responsible for anti-inflammatory activity is curcumin, which was identified two centuries ago. Since then, there have been over 1,800 citations in Medline relating to the biologic effects of curcumin. Modern science has revealed that curcumin mediates its effects by modulation of several important molecular targets, including transcription factors (e.g., NF-kappa B, AP-1, Egr-1, beta-catenin, and PPAR-gamma), enzymes (e.g., COX2, 5-LOX, iNOS, and hemeoxygenase-1), cellcycle proteins (e.g., cyclin D1 and p21), cytokines (e.g., TNF, IL-1, IL-6, and chemokines), receptors (e.g., EGFR and HER2), and cell surface adhesion molecules. It is widely used in traditional medicine to treat biliary disorders, anorexia, cough, diabetic wounds, hepatic disorders, rheumatism, and sinusitis.

Based on published scientific and clinical research, Turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin:

Reduce blood cholesterol*
Prevent low-density lipoprotein oxidation*
Inhibit platelet aggregation and thrombosis*
Inhibit HIV replication*
Enhance wound healing*
Protect the liver from injury*
Reduce cancer cell growth*
Suppress diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Reference (for abstracts and additional references, click here):

Hsu CH. Cheng AL. Clinical studies with curcumin. Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology. 595:471-80, 2007.
Park C.et al. Curcumin induces apoptosis and inhibits prostaglandin E(2) production in synovial fibroblasts of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. International Journal of Molecular Medicine. 20(3):365-72, 2007
Nonn L. et al. Chemopreventive anti-inflammatory activities of curcumin and other phytochemicals mediated by MAP kinase phosphatase-5 in prostate cells. Carcinogenesis. 28(6):1188-96, 2007
Bright JJ. Curcumin and autoimmune disease. [Review] [166 refs] Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology. 595:425-51, 2007.
Garcia-Alloza M. et al. Curcumin labels amyloid pathology in vivo, disrupts existing plaques, and partially restores distorted neurites in an Alzheimer mouse model. Journal of Neurochemistry. 102(4):1095-104, 2007
Mrudula T. et al. Effect of curcumin on hyperglycemia-induced vascular endothelial growth factor expression in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat retina. Biochemical & Biophysical Research Communications. 361(2):528-32, 2007
Reinke AA. Gestwicki JE. Structure-activity relationships of amyloid beta-aggregation inhibitors based on curcumin: influence of linker length and flexibility. Chemical Biology & Drug Design. 70(3):206-15, 2007
Khanna D. et al. Natural products as a gold mine for arthritis treatment. [Review] [68 refs] Current Opinion in Pharmacology. 7(3):344-51, 2007
Xu Y. et al. Curcumin reverses impaired hippocampal neurogenesis and increases serotonin receptor 1A mRNA and brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression in chronically stressed rats. Brain Research. 1162:9-18, 2007
Narlawar R. et al. Curcumin derivatives inhibit or modulate beta-amyloid precursor protein metabolism. [Review] [41 refs] Neurodegenerative Diseases. 4(2-3):88-93, 2007.
Cao J. et al. Curcumin induces apoptosis through mitochondrial hyperpolarization and mtDNA damage in human hepatoma G2 cells. Free Radical Biology & Medicine. 43(6):968-75, 2007Thangapazham RL. Sharma A. Maheshwari RK. Beneficial role of curcumin in skin diseases. [Review] [78 refs] Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology. 595:343-57, 2007.
Fan C. et al. Effect of curcumin on the expression of LDL receptor in mouse macrophages. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 105(1-2):251-4, 2006
Chen J. et al. Curcumin protects PC12 cells against 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion-induced apoptosis by bcl-2-mitochondria-ROS-iNOS pathway. Apoptosis. 11(6):943-53, 2006
Xia Q. et al. Molecular genetic and chemical assessment of Rhizoma Curcumae in China. Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. 53(15):6019-26, 2005