Collection of Chinese Herbal Medicine 1

Location of Collection
The location of collection usually refers to the geographic areas of a species of herbs, that is, the cultivation place of the cultivated herbs and the acquisition place of the wild ones. Although most species of herbs are extensively distributed in wildness, their proper places for collection are relatively insufficient. As we know, plant species are closely related to their geographical distributions. The qualities of herbal materials collected fro different locations may vary immensely even if they are processed with the same methods. Take Guanghuoxiang (Pogostemon cablin) as an example: the ones collected from Shipai, Guangzhou, China, give out a fine aroma and contain less volatile oil (0.1-0.5% stems and 0.3-0.4% in leaves) but higher concentrated patchoulenone, while those collected from Hainan Island, China, smell a bit pungent and turbid and contain more volatile oil (0.5-0.7% in stem and 3-6% in leaves) but much less patchoulenone.
Time of Collection
The time of collection refers to the season and exact time for collection of herbs with certain growing years. Different times of collection will give rise to varied qualities of raw materials. For example, Yinchenhao (Artemisia capillaries) should be reaped when its shoots grow to around 6-10 cm long in early spring. An old Chinese saying goes, “March for drug while April for mugwort and yet May for firewood only.” this means that if it is collected later, as in May, it could only be used as firewood. Another example is the capitulum of the herb Shandaonianhao (Artemisia cina), which contains 3% anthelmintic santonin before flowering; as soon as the flowers mature, however, the content of this compound rapidly decreases. The third example is the powder of Chuchongju (Pyrethrum cinerariifolium), whose therapeutic function of destroying parasites derived from its buds is double of that from its bloom flowers.
Collection of Chinese Herbal Medicine
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