GROW: The Book
I read somewhere that you want to harvest echinacea seeds in the second year. Has anyone else heard this? So does that mean you just harvest the petals and what ever else the first year and let it self seed?
To the best of my knowledge, it is the root that is the medicinal part. I believe the leaves are edible. My strategy has always been to let the plant self seed, or harvest the seeds for planting. Then, dig a few roots in the fall.
I think the recommendation about using seeds from the second year is because echinacea grown from seed sometimes does not flower and seed until the second season. Plants bought at a nursery probably have enough head start to put out flowers in the first year. So whenever your plants go to seed, you can gather seed. There are some youtube videos that show you how to separate the seeds from the head and then how to separate the seeds from the chaff.
Leaves and flowers can be harvested for a lesser potency infusion, although roots hold the highest potency.
Good to know . I didn't realize it's mostly the root that's used. This is another one of those "new to me" herbs that I grew this year. I still have much to learn about it.
Thanks, torey. I'll see what I can find on youtube. I'll need to harvest here soon I think.
Ok Thanks. I thought I had read somewhere that some other parts of the plant were used too.
Sure. We have a couple of wild echinaceas around here. "Bee Balm" is the prettiest native we have. I'll probably plant some purple cone flower next spring, since I'm getting into the herb growing business. I've always just taken a little and tried to keep it all growing.
The echinacea I have growing is purple cornflower. I tried growing bee balm but it was planted in the wrong place. So I tried to move it unfortunately it didn't make it. I'm hoping to try again in the spring.
Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I am extremely spoiled. Nearly every medicinal herb you can think of grows wild around my house. In my yard, alone, I have yarrow, dandelion, burdock, false Solomon's seal, Solomon's seal, false unicorn root, sarsaparilla, mayapple, bee balm, violets, iris, wintergreen, mint, jack in the pulpit, joe pye weed, touch me nots, plantain, pennyroyal, indian pipe, tillium, rieshi and oyster mushrooms, day lilies, angelica, black raspberries, wild strawberries, lobelia, etc, etc... there is ginseng, goldenseal, blood root, spikenard, baneberry, lady slippers, ramps, buckeyes, valerian, nettles, blue cohosh, wild ginger etc, etc,e tc all in the woods and by the creek behind the house.... and that probably isn't even 10% of what is there. But, a lot of what grows is rare - some like lady slippers can't even be harvested even though they are common here. So, if I'm going to to be selling herbs, I need to learn to grow everything that grows wild. I've done a lot of transplanting, but 2021 will be the first year I plant a lot of herbs from seed... like 100 or more different herbs.
That's amazing 😍. Oh I wish I had access to such a wonderful plethora of herbs like that. I'm still fairly new to foraging, about a year and a half but it seems difficult to find things around here. We've harvested dandelion, chickweed, burdock, day lilly, cleavers, horsetail, red raspberry leaf, plantain, violets, self heal, St. Johns Wort and garlic mustard that I can remember. Mostly from my parents or friends yards. Most the time when I see things I wish to harvest they are growing in undesirable areas, such as along highways.
This is my backyard..
It's so beautiful! What a blessing to have a yard like that :).
This is my front yard
@JennyT @judsoncarroll4 @torey @monica197 It is so interesting to exchange experiences. I have learned that echinacea is very useful for immune system and you take everything: leaves, stems, petals.... this is what I do, but, so far, I never used either seeds or roots. Well, there is some homework to do and find out more about these parts of echinacea. Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and experience
the caveat is that a lot of the research on echinacea was done with counterfeit plants and had to be thrown out. So, real echinacea has many great immune boosting properties and is an antidote to venom. The old writings on it are valid. The "research" done in the 80s and 90s, early 2,00s or so was largely discredited. See my notes on the SWBM herb classes, materia medica, Lesson 2- 11
@judsoncarroll4 Amazing that's your yard. I was fortunate to be able to do a foraging tour in the Ashville about two years ago and it was absolutely wonderful. I live a little further south just over the border in SC and unfortunately don't know much about foraging to know what I have available to me. I know that it's defiantly not the amount up near you and I wish it was. When my family and I move to some property I'm hoping to be able to find someone to help me identify what is growing around it.
Well... I wouldn't be too sure about that - totally depends on where you are in SC. My family's roots there go back way before the Revolution... Huguenots n Charleston and Georgetown, and probably some Chicorah and Cheraw blood many generations back. I went to jr. high near Dillon, spent tons of time around Anderson, Seneca, Clemson, Greenwood, etc when I went to college at UGA.... and one of my best friends lives in Easley. I doubt there is a corner of SC... from Beaufort and Aiken to Wahalla and even McBee, Hemingway and Florence...Landrum, Campobello... you name it...that I haven't explored or where some of my kin isn't buried. I have field guides for the various regions. You can PM me - tell me where you are and I can probably give you a list of plants to look for and a few tips on where to find them. I plan to canoe the Pee Dee from Cheraw to the coast this winter, if things work out, btw.
@judsoncarroll4 I thought Bee Balm was a Monarda species separate from Echinacea. Are you saying they are not different species?
Yep, you are right - "brain fart" on my part. I had a patch where both were growing together . I guess I merged them mentally.
It is best to save seeds from a second year plant to be sure the seeds are hardy.
All parts of the echinacea plant can be used, although the root is the most powerful. An immune boosting tea can be made from the flowers (petals and centers) and leaves. The root is best dried and made into a tincture or oxymel.
@Wendy thank you.
Field trip @judsoncarroll4 's place? What a great view! Great place to live, grow and thrive. Thanks for posting the pictures.
@frogvalley I'm game! @judsoncarroll4 can give us a foraging tour around breathtaking yard. 😄
@judsoncarroll4 Being new this subject and recently returning to the high mountain deserts of NM, is echinacea something that can be grown in an arid environment?
Echinacea angustifolia grows in New Mexico, arid and dry prairie conditions. That's probably why it's such a strong herb. The tap root doesn't like to be replanted, so one should do a little research to succeed quickly. Once it gets going, you can just sit back and let it go.
Any part of the plant can be used. In the fall, the plant medicine (like tree sap) goes into the roots. Look for the tingle (numbing effect) from the herb.
Lupus patients used to be told not to use echinacea. Let me just say, they aren't told that wholesale anymore. I think it was just a theory like "everybody needs to be on statins" that sounded good and sold pharmaceuticals, but isn't necessarily a truism.
It sure grows abundantly in the Appalachians... it is used so often as a landscaping ornamental that I could literally harvest a year's supply in the bank parking lot! But, I don't know your environment. Dave's Garden is always my first stop for plant info: https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/26
I may set up something like that in a year or two.... plant walks around Grandfather, Roan and Pisgah. I "found" a huge Devil's Walking Stick the other day... ouch.... it would have made a great tutorial.
@judsoncarroll4 that sounds like a wonderful plan. Tell me, is devils walking stick related to Elder? There are some plants that look like Elder near the creek not far from our house. I'm not sure it they have thorns or not when I'm back there again I'll have to check.
Oops, I meant to say Devil's Club. It is an arailia. It is very spikey, but the root is an adaptogen.
@judsoncarroll4 Oh ok. I'll look more into that thank you. I'm trying to learn more about adaptogens and nutritive herbs to help with the stress and everything.