Wildcrafting is gaining popularity. More and more people prefer wild herbs to cultivated ones, as they believe that herbs gathered from the wild have more power and inherent healing qualities. This may well be true and it is a positive step towards nurturing our relationship with the earth. However, it is important to undertake this task in harmony with nature to avoid further damaging our already suffering ecosystems. While it is true, that wildcrafting is perhaps the most direct way of getting in touch with the healing powers of Mother Earth, if we simply take for greed's sake without regard for the well-being of the greater whole of which we are a part, we ultimately damage the earth and thus ourselves. There are some simple and sensible guidelines to wildcrafting, which everybody should take heed of:
1. Before gathering any herbs, study the environment. Is it healthy, or diseased? Might it have been sprayed with chemicals, or is it pure? Do not take from diseased habitats, from the side of roads or the vicinity of factories and other scars on the landscape which may have polluted the earth.
2. Make wildcrafting a spiritual activity. Ask the plant devas for permission before you take anything. Always give something back. Traditionally, indigenous people have used tobacco as an offering to the healing spirits and to the earth. While you are harvesting perhaps you can also give back to the Earth by sowing some seeds.
3. Waste not want not.... Never take more than you need. Remember that others may also need some of the herbs that you are gathering. Most importantly, give consideration to animals and insects, who may not only depend on the plants you are harvesting, but who also help with pollination and seed distribution.