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Wild Herbs to Forage this Summer

Harmonic Arts Blog

Wild Herbs to Forage this Summer

Connect with nature and practice sustainability by foraging wild herbs this summer! It’s a fun activity for the whole family, and a great way to take advantage of the sunshine and warm weather. The herbs featured below are in peak harvesting season between July-September and are packed with wellness benefits. Read on to learn about these benefits, along with how to identify them while mindfully foraging. 

 

How to Forage for Summer Herbs 

Safety and sustainability are key. To start, don’t forage your herbs anywhere that has been sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals. Try to harvest away from roadsides with lots of traffic to avoid pollution. Wear gloves and bring a reusable container or basket to collect your herbs. Scissors or snips are helpful as well. 

 

Foraging your own herbs should be a sustainable activity. Many wild herbs are perennial, meaning they come back every year, naturally. Some of the featured herbs listed below are considered weeds and grow abundantly in the wild. In order to live in harmony with nature, our top tips for practicing sustainability while foraging include: 

  • Know what you’re looking for (Pick up a local wild edible plant ID book at your local bookstore!) 
  • Avoid endangered and at-risk species 
  • Learn about traditional uses 
  • Take only what you need 
  • Tread lightly and leave no trace 
  • Practice gratitude 

 

Following these tips ensures active ecosystems aren’t damaged or disrupted in the foraging process. Check out United Plant Savers to discover which plant species are at-risk or endangered. Learn more tips for mindful foraging in our blog post here. 

 

 summer herbs to forage; red clover, yarrow, mullein, calendula flower and chanterelle mushrooms

Our Favourite Wild Herbs to Forage This Summer 

Red Clover 

Benefits: 

Red Clover is rich in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. It’s also packed with antioxidants. This abundant flower is traditionally used to soothe inflammation and support detoxification.

How to Identify: 

Most people can recognize the flowers of Red Clover. They are often pink or purple in colour, with individual petals that stand upright. Their stems are hairy, with oval-shaped leaves that end at a point. 

When to Forage:

Red Clover is most abundant from early August to late September. It’s best to harvest in the morning once the dew has dried. Both the flowers and leaves are edible, but the flowers are more commonly used. Try not to take too much as it’s popular with pollinators! Add them as a botanical topping for salads or dry them to infuse in tea. You can find Clover in our Cleanse Artisan Tea.  

 

 

Yarrow 

Benefits: 

Yarrow is a powerful, natural astringent. It has been used for millennia to stop bleeding and heal wounds with its anti-microbial properties. Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends this wild herb for reducing inflammation and relieving digestive disorders. 

How to Identify: 

Yarrow grows between 1-3 feet tall, with a cluster of white or pink flowers at the top. The leaves have a feathered or fern-like shape, attached to a rigid stem.  

When to Forage:  

You can find Yarrow blooming between July to September. It’s often found in fields or pastures and alongside roads. Use this herb to make tinctures, teas or tasty vinegars. You can also dampen the leaves for a poultice to put on wounds.  

 

Mullein Flower 

Benefits:

Start building your winter apothecary early by harvesting Mullein during the summer months. Known to soothe the respiratory tract, this herb supports the body in expelling excess mucus and relieving congestion. Mullein releases oils that open our capillaries to increase blood flow. For this reason, many Indigenous cultures use it as a moccasin insert to keep their feet warm. 

How to Identify:

Mullein can grow up to 8 feet tall, with a rosette of soft and fuzzy leaves at the base. The leaves can grow quite large, about 15 inches long and 5 inches wide. The top 2 feet of the plant are packed densely with bright yellow flowers. Only a few blooms will be open at a time.  

When to Forage:

Harvest Mullein between July to October. Infuse this herb into an oil to soothe inflammation or dry it to make a tea. You can find this throat-soothing herb in our Breathe Artisan Tea.

 

Calendula Flower 

Benefits:

Calendula is rich in antioxidants that help protect against damage caused by free radicals. It’s also packed with flavonoids and linoleic acid. Both compounds work to reduce inflammation in the body. This botanical is a common component in salves and skincare products for its ability to soothe the skin and fight off bacteria. 

How to Identify:

The blooms of Calendula are deep orange or bright yellow, with yellow or red centers. Their stems are rigid, light green and somewhat hairy. The hairy, tapered leaves are light green with sparse teeth. 

When to Forage:

Calendula is an invasive species in Canada, abundant between mid-June through September. Harvest this herb in the morning after the dew has dried and the blooms are open. Extract its medicine into a tincture or infuse it into oil or salve. 

 

Chanterelles 

Benefits:

Chanterelles are choice wild edibles, and happen to be very rich in vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin D. This functional fungus is a great source of polysaccharides, known for boosting immunity. They have also been used to reduce inflammation. 

How to Identify: 

Take extra care when foraging any species of mushroom, as there are toxic look-alikes. Check for a pale-yellow to pale-orange convex-shaped cap with wavy edges. The stem is solid and smooth with no bulb at the base. Chanterelles tend to grow on the ground near hardwood trees.  

When to Forage:

The best time to harvest chanterelles is July through October, depending on the region. They are excellent culinary mushrooms and can be used in a variety of different ways. Check out this 5 Mushroom Chanterelle Soup recipe on our blog for inspiration.

 

Looking for more plant medicine tips? Check out our blog where we share research, recipes and more herbal wisdom.

Have questions? Contact us HERE

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