To forage was a way of life.. and still is for so many.
Wildcrafting is the foraging for, and harvesting of plants or herbs from a place they grow naturally in the ‘wild’. Those who forage often find connection with nature, as the very act demands that you develop an understanding of the natural cycle, and an appreciation for what Nature has on offer.
When gathering plants and mushrooms from the wild, there are a few general rules which should be adhered to – for the stability of the plant population and the surrounding ecosystem, but also for your own health and safety. It can be very easy for one person to cause irreparable damage to the growth of a wild herb if due care is not taken.
DISCLAIMER: I would like to point out that, whilst I am a qualified herbalist and experienced forager, I can not take responsibility for what you do without me! The information on this website should not replace the advice of a qualified Medical Professional. It is intended for information purposes only, and draws upon traditional and folk medicine. Please be sure to further your studies in this field before you embark on ingesting anything! There is a world of toxic and poisonous stuff in nature as well, and some are amazing look-a-likes against some of the traditional medicines!!
Be 100% sure of what you are harvesting! This sounds like a no-brainer, but for every plant there are ten look-a-likes in the local area. There is a world of resources these days, including books, apps, and online forums. Use them! If you are not absolutely positive about your plant ID, harvest just enough to obtain a correct identification (if you wish to). Otherwise, please leave the plants to grow and sow future generations.
Some herbs have laws that protect them. If they are rare, or have a local cultural significance, you may not be allowed to collect the plant from the wild without permission. Check with council laws before harvesting, but also remember that it is up to us as herbalists to help preserve our natural resources.
Harvest sparingly, take only what you need. Even if you think the herb/plant is prolific (like Dandelion for example), try not to take too much from one localised area. Always leave enough for the wildlife and to re-seed.
Harvest Wisely; Many herbs are naturalised in wastelands, drains and roadside areas. Many are also seen as ‘weeds’ by those who know no better, and some councils have cycling spraying seasons in an effort to keep the growth of some plants at bay. Herb plants can absorb toxins and heavy metals from the soil and from any sprays which have been used near them. For this reason you do not want to harvest any herbs that have grown near a roadside, or along public tracks which may have been sprayed by the council. Be mindful of where you are picking from, and think about the possibility of contamination.
Tread Lightly; It is your job to protect the environment and keep Wildcrafting a sustainable hobby. Please protect our wild herbs and plants, and make your footprint as light as possible.