8 Common Medicinal Trees You Should Be Growing
Tree medicines have an advantage over fresh herbs in that they can be harvested year-round. There are several prevalent varieties that grow in North America whose roots, leaves, bark, or twigs can be used to treat common ailments. As with using herbs, it’s important to know how to harvest the necessary parts without killing the entire plant.
- Be mindful of the tree’s potential longevity when gathering medicines
Harvest from downed limbs or trees by stripping the bark of roots or twigs with a sharp knife. Stripping a living tree of its bark will harm the tree, if not kill it.
- Harvest from the cambium
The relevant medicinal components are found in the living yellow-green layer underneath the rough outer bark.
- Use immediately or dry for later use
Dry bark by hanging it or laying it in non-overlapping strips in a shady location. To dry leaves, tie the stems or branches together and hang them in bunches somewhere shady.
Now that you know how to harvest from trees, you’re ready to learn how to use the organic material that you gather. To use tree bark, simmer 2 teaspoons of bark and a cup of water in a covered pot for approximately 20 minutes. Then strain it and either drink it immediately or store it in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for up to 1 week in the fridge.
Leaves should be harvested in early spring and are prepared in the same manner as the bark. 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried leaves can be steeped with a cup of water for about 20 minutes in a covered pot. Use lemon juice and honey to flavor medicinal teas as desired.
Go to page 2 to see 8 common medicinal trees you should be growing.