What About Those Weeds in Your Neighborhood

Wildcrafting is the gathering of herbs and other plants for medicinal and nourishment purposes. Many of you probably have an herb garden in which you grow your favorite herbs. Make sure you take advantage of the “wild weeds” that prosper in your herb garden as well.

Jessie Conaway is an herbalist and experiential teacher. In her DVD she’ll take you on a wildcrafting tour of a northern forest as well as the nearby confines of her farm property near LaCrosse, WI. In this clip Jessie finds and talks about usnea.


One of our most popular herbs is echinacea. There are many people who grow purple coneflower (echinacea) in their herb garden or even as an ornamental flower. Echinacea can sometimes be wildcrafted.

This is how David Hoffmann (think of him talking in his wonderful, soft Welsh accent) describes the indications for Echinacea in his book “Medical Herbalism”:

“Echinacea is one of the primary remedies for helping the body rid itself of microbial infections. It is often effective against both bacterial and viral attacks. It I may be used for conditions such as boils, septicemia, and similar infections, and, in conjunction with other herbs, it may be used for any infection anywhere in the body. For example, in combination with yarrow or bearberry, it is effective against cystitis. Echinacea is especially useful for infections of the upper respiratory tract, including laryngitis, tonsillitis, the common cold, and other catarrhal conditions of the nose and sinus.”

Ethical Wildcrafting

“At the other end of the spectrum are the ethical wildcrafters. They assume responsibility for what they harvest. They make positive identification of plants before they gather them. They investigate the health of the ecosystem and the plant population before they harvest. They do not gather more than they need. They harvest only in appropriate habitats, never in vulnerable environments. They wear proper clothing and use the correct tools when harvesting in order to minimize any injury to the site. They obtain written permission from the owner before entering the land, or harvest on their own land.”

                                 Bruce Buren, Rodale Institute

Wildcrafting Checklist

Wildcrafting Checklist (compiled by Howie Brounstein)

Do you have the permission or the permits for collecting at the site?

Do you have a positive identification?

Are there better stands nearby? Is the stand big enough?

Are you at the proper elevation?

Is the stand away from roads and trails?

Is the stand healthy?

Is there any chemical contamination?

Is there any natural contamination?

Are you in a fragile environment?

Are there rare, threatened, endangered, or sensitive plants growing nearby at any time of the year?

Is wildlife foraging the stand?

Is the stand growing, shrinking, or staying the same size?

Is the plant an annual or a perennial?

Is tending necessary and what kind?

How much to pick?

Time of day? Time of year?

What effect will your harvest have on the stand?

Do you have the proper emotional state?

Move around during harvesting.

Look around after harvesting. Any holes or cleanup needed?

Are you picking herbs in the proper order for a long trip?

Are you cleaning herbs in the field?

Do you have the proper equipment for in-field processing?

*Wildcrafting is Stewardship*

©1995HB this material may be reproduced as long as it remains unchanged and complete with this copyright attached

The United Plant Savers

The United Plant Savers is a non-profit, grass roots organization dedicated to the preservation and cultivation of native medicinal plants. Formed in the spirit of hope, UpS membership includes herbalist, botanists, health care professionals, farmers, herb gardeners, business owners and others who care about the earth and medicinal plants. UpS mission is to preserve, conserve and restore native medicinal plants and their habitat while ensuring their abundant renewable supply for generations to come.

To find out more about United Plant Savers and ethical wildcrafting click here.

Preview these wildcrafting DVDs

"Botany and Wildcrafting for Herbalists" with Susun Weed

"Healing Herbs and Wild Foods" with Brigitte Mars

"An Herb Walk in Alabama" with Phyllis Light and Matthew Wood

"An Herb Walk in Michigan" with jim mcdonald

"Into the Woods: Wildcrafting and Wilderness Experience" with Jessie Conaway

"Wizard of Weeds" with Peter Gail

©HerbTVonline.com 2004-2014 
The information and techniques presented in these videos are for demonstration
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Any advice cannot replace the advice of an experienced medical practitioner.