One of the most common questions I’m asked is when to harvest roots for herbal medicine.
Autumn is the perfect time to dig roots, as the plant has stored up lots of good carbohydrate energy to get it through the winter.
The most fortuitous time of the fall for digging roots is the dark of the moon following the first frost, usually mid-September around here. Purple- or red-tinged leaves are a good sign that the plant is focusing on drawing down into itself for the coming winter.
This is an especially appropriate time of year to dig the first-year roots of biennials like Burdock: often second-year roots are degrading quickly by fall as the plant’s energy is focused on setting seeds, but first-year roots are at their peak.
Look for healthy plants and happy digging!