Collection Methods for the Medicinal Plants

In the indigenous culture, respect for other living beings is very much a part of their way of thinking and spiritual life. Plants have an important role in their daily life, because it is from plants that Huetar people obtain a wide variety of products. Plants provide food, materials for traditional art and ceremonies, and medicines for physical and spiritual healing.

Throughout the processes of collection, planting, and harvesting of a plant, a series of rules are followed in order to guarantee the physical and spiritual well being of the plant, which is being taken to satisfy different human needs.

There are a various ways to collect plants in order to get more of the curative substances found in the plants. It’s important to consider the solar and lunar cycles, as well as the time of day that the plant is collected.

Time of day plays an important role in the use of medicinal plants for the Huetar people. There are some plants that should be collected at night, others that should be collected in the mornings, and still others that are collected in the afternoon. It depends on the property of the plant that will be used for healing.

It’s important to emphasize the importance of the lunar phases in relation to medicinal substances and their use. According to the movements of the moon, plants store more or less medicinal substances in their tissues. Plants must be collected at the appropriate time in order to effectively treat health problems.

When curing the body internally, the medicinal plants should be collected during the waning quarter moon. Plants for external use should be collected during the new moon. Plants used to treat hair and eyesight are collected during the waxing quarter moon. Plants that treat intestinal parasites should be collects during the full moon. And, when treating animals with external parasites, not only should the plants be collected during the full moon, but the medicine should be applied the same day.

The cardinal directions of North, South, East, and West are also taken into account. Plants should be collected from the north, because north represents the earth and plants. Plants that are collected from the north should also be planted on the north side of one’s home so that they will develop better. The south represents stone; the east represents fire; and the west represents water.

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