The medicinal value of plants used in Chinese herbology depends on the season
and the period of growth that the plant is collected in. This has a direct influence
on the quality and efficacy of the herb. Therefore, it is extremely important
that the plants are picked at a time when their potency is at its peak level.
Different plants and different parts of the plants have different times that are
ripe for picking.
Whole plants, stems and leaves are mostly collected when
they are in full bloom or in early blossom. This is done by either cutting off
parts above the ground or by pulling up the plant from its roots.
are generally collected as buds or in early blossom in order to avoid the loss
of fragrance and petals. Pollen is collected in full bloom.
Fruits and seeds
are generally collected when ripe. Some fruits are collected unripe, such as black
plums, tangerines and bitter oranges.
Roots and rhizomes are generally collected
in early spring before they sprout or in late autumn when the stems and leaves
begin to wither.
Bark is generally collected in spring and summer when it
is abundant in fluid and nutrients, and can be easily stripped off. Root bark,
such as mountain and wolfberry root bark, should be collected in autumn.
or withered leaves are also used in Chinese herbal remedies, such as oriental
wormwood and mulberry leaf. A small number of herbs can be collected in summer,
such as pinellia tuber and corydalis tuber.