Harvesting Root Bark question

csinclair461
csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

I saw a description at several online herb shops, about a process for harvesting root bark: "Gathered in November and early December, Bayberry Root Bark is removed from the trunk and branches by heating the roots, which is then used to make bulk dried herbs for sale."

I've been trying to find out more information about this process, but haven't seen anything yet.

How are the roots heated? I'm guessing the heating drives the medicine up from the roots to the branches. Can this process be used for other root medicines, and which ones?

Comments

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    @csinclair461 Could you direct me to the websites where you got this info? I have never heard about heating the roots. I have never harvested bayberry bark because it doesn't grow anywhere near me but I have harvested other root barks and there is no heat involved.

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    https://www.herbsdirect.com/collections/raw-bulk-herbs/products/bayberry-root-bark-1-lb-whole-herb-starwest-botanicals

    https://www.natureshalos.com/he/products/bayberry-root-bark-powder-wildcrafted-myrica-cerifera-bayberry-american-bayberry-bayberry-wax-tree-myrtle-wax-myrtle-4-oz-united-states

    There are some other shops, but since the description is exactly the same, they must all just be using the description they got from the source of the herb.

    When you harvest roots, have you used any methods that allow a bigger plant (shrub or tree) to live on? I read you can gently dig the soil away from a root and remove the bark, and then cover the root back up. I've seen a couple conversations about cutting roots that are a certain distance from the tree. In my case, I think I might not be able to confirm which root I have if I try that.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    I have been in a chat with Starwest Botanicals and they are going to contact their supplier and get back to me about this statement. I will post it here in this discussion when they reply.

    It really makes no sense. If they are selling root bark, why is it being taken from the trunk and branches. Heat might be used to dry the root bark once it is harvested but I don't know of any process that uses heat during the actual harvest.

    It depends on the root growth pattern as to whether or not you can harvest roots from a live plant. Some plants have a single tap root like dandelion, chicory, balsamroot, etc. So you have to harvest the whole root. Other plants have lateral roots, rhizomes or runners that are much easier to harvest without taking the whole plant. So for those, yes, you can dig a portion of the root system and then cover it back up. Some plants have crowns that can be divided so you can replant part after harvesting. Then there are those plants that will regrow from just a section of root that is left in the ground. Horseradish, comfrey and fireweed would fall into that category. :)

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin
  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for the link! @torey - I know it's Jan, but in N Florida we have had some cold nights, but no freezes yet, so I think it's not to late for me to grab a few roots.

    I am looking forward to what Starwest finds out.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    This is the reply I got from Starwest Botanicals.

    "In regards to your question about the Starwest Botanicals, Bayberry Root, Bark, 1 lb Whole Herb, the manufacturer has provided us with this information:

    The Bayberry Root Bark is taken off the root and root branches because this is where the value of this herb is obtained. The heating involved is at low temperature only to insure maximum strength."


    So the mention of the trunk and branches seems to refer to the main trunk of the root and its side branches. I think they mean that heat is used to dry the bark. A lot of herb companies will use some heat during the drying process to get to a specific level of moisture to maintain standards.

    But its very confusing the way that it is worded. Even the reply still leaves some uncertainty as to how they process the root bark.

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    Thank you for asking them about that @torey. It does make more sense with that explanation. Maybe someone who didn't quite get what the process was wrote the description up. I'll follow the instructions at the Herbal Academy link and try live harvesting some root from a bayberry that seems like it will be ok with it.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,640 admin

    Good luck with your harvest. Let us know how it goes.