Harvest Medicinal Trees in Your Backyard

Look up to find healing remedies in the canopy overhead.

| April/May 2019

 

 

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The harvest from one yellow birch branch.

As a child, I spent many afternoons scaling the white pines my father had planted in our backyard. Decades later, when I bought my first home, my dad set to planting trees right away, including a weeping willow by the creek in our front yard. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree: My daughter spent her youngest years learning to climb in the low branches of that willow. Those white pines and that willow are now towering giants. Watching a tiny sapling grow into a massive being is deeply satisfying.



When we think of healing plants, our minds gravitate toward the plants growing at our feet – the garden herbs, weeds, and woodland plants of the forest floor – but there’s a veritable treasure trove of healing remedies towering above. Humans have been harvesting and using medicine from trees for millennia, and medicinal trees and shrubs probably already grow near where you live. Perhaps you’re already able to identify the trees in your midst, and you merely need to learn their medicinal qualities and how to harvest them.

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With a pruning saw, harvest limbs that are 2 to 3 inches in diameter.

Stu
7/21/2019 9:36:28 PM

When harvesting fallen limbs you should also consider collecting the lichens attached to the limb as well. You most likely will encounter Usnea, a useful medicinal in its own right.




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