The Purchasing of Herbs

Heřmánek lékařský

The purchasing of herbs from individual growers and primary schools is a tradition. Ingredients for the production of teas and tea mixtures are purchased in several centres throughout the country. The main centre for storing herbs is Strážnice in Southern Moravia.

Basic principles for collecting herbs:

An important prerequisite of successful collecting is to know the various kinds of herbs. If you are in doubt, consult one of the many specialised publications that are currently available or consult us – at any purchasing point. The time of collection is of the essence. Do not collect during rain, when there is dew, or when it is wet. The optimal time to collect is mid-morning. When handling freshly collected herbs, make sure that they do not steam up and get ruined.

Parts of plants that are collected:

  • Flowers – Snipping, cutting, or flaying individual flowers. The colour and appearance of the material is the decisive indicator of its quality. Once dried, take it to the purchasing point immediately. There is a risk of infestation by insects, and therefore a compromise in quality.

  • Leaves – Torn or flayed from branches. Scrunching is recommended for certain kinds before drying – for example with coltsfoot – as the leaves can dry more easily. Never scrunch ribwort plantain leaves! Dry in a thin layer.

  • Tops – Tops means the part of the plant comprising stems, leaves, and flowers. Always collect at the beginning of flowering, except for nettles, which are no longer collected once they flower. Only collect the top leafy part, 25-35 cm long. The stem should not exceed 5 mm in thickness. When collecting, make sure that you do not pull the tops out with the root, as those are not permissible in plants offered for sale.

  • Root – Usually extracted in autumn or early spring, when the plant is resting and the root has a higher weight and a higher content of effective substances. Before drying, clean any dirt off and wash with water. Larger roots should be cut lengthwise to facilitate their drying.

  • Fruit – Collect ripe and well-coloured fruit. Rose-hips should be free of stems. Whole elderberry compound fruit should be collected and dried and each berry only picked once dry. Moulding and otherwise discoloured fruit is impermissible in plants offered for sale.

New purchasing list was issued in April 2013 and applies from 1 April 2013 through to 31 March 2014.

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