Med: Echinacea how do you harvest?

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

Ok, I got an Echinacea plant this year. How and when do I harvest it for seeds and medicine?

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

My ech. plantings did well this year; all I did was let the flowers get really dead before pulling the seeds out. I'm hoping they're like calendula, etc., that way. I honestly don't recall what part you use for medicine, and my books are at home.

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

My information says "full plant" so that's more or less what I'm asking as well; how do you use the plant for medicine? I know what it does but not how to do it from a live plant.

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

What about making a tincture using Moonpye's method? I know they sell ech. tea, but don't know if flowers or leaves would be better; you might try both just to compare the taste -- and the root as well. I may make a tincture, now that I know how.

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

brigidlily - Yes, I was tankful for that too.

Middleburgh, NY

If you are going to tincture the flower, you want the flower when it is in full force of life, not when it has turned brown. If you want seeds, you have to let the flower go past full force into the seed production stage. Let the cones get quite brown and turn upside down to shake out the seeds. (leaving them in the garden for the goldfinches is another option!) Often, it is the root that is tinctured for medicine. But, flower and leaf can be used as well.

To tincture dried root, use 50% alcohol (100 proof).
To tincture fresh root or fresh flower and leaf, use 75% alcohol (150 proof).
You can make a glycerite of fresh root or leaf and flower.
You can also make a tea of the dried leaves and flowers. Or, a decoction of the dried root.
Some will hold a small piece of the fresh root in their mouth and slowly chew it, swallowing the saliva to get the medicinal effect of the plant.

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks, herbalbetty!

Paducah, KY

Both leaves and roots are used for echinacea tinctures, and apparently you can also use the flowers, though that is less common. If you're going to make a tincture, you can use fresh leaves (I always prefer fresh, when it comes to leaves) or fresh root or both! Just make sure to chop the root rather finely.

I just got myself some echinacea leaves from a friend's garden (I started mine WAYYYY too late this year), and I'll be doing a tincture tonight. :) Have fun!

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

When do you harvest root?

Paducah, KY

In the fall, after the plant has begun to/has died back! :)

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

Thank you! I think I'll harvest flowers and leaves in 4 days at the new moon, I have one more flower coming in right now.

Middleburgh, NY

I love echinacea in the garden...

Thumbnail by herbalbetty
Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

zhinu, I think the moon will be full, not new, in a few days. It's waxing gibbous right now.

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

Betty - Is that 'Bright Eyes', it looks like what I have.

brigidlily- I realized that this morning, meant to correct it today, but I just got here. I had a low pain migraine today so I couldn't be on the computer, it made me nauseous.

New moon would be better, but I donít think theyíll last that long, but Full moon has other benefits; itíll work. Iím not sure which is better for this anyways; New moon for a good time to start projects or Full moon when the moonís power is the strongest.

Middleburgh, NY

zhinu, that is good old regular echinacea, (purpurea). I have Magnus and White Swan too. But, the old standard is the best for medicine. It's a question as to whether the ornamental cultivars have as much medicinal activity. They might, they might not, there haven't been enough studies. Generally, ornamental cultivars do NOT have the same activity as the original.

(Laura) Olympia, WA(Zone 8a)

I just picked up what I could. I knew it worked, and I knew it might not work as well.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

The finches don't do a good enough job here... I have a lot of plants and just harvested a large amount of seed from E. purpurea. Will gladly share for postage if anyone needs some.

Thanks for the info on the plant use. I thought only the roots were the medicinal.

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