Medicinals

Oregon GrapeSome of our plant species have unique chemical properties with medicinal qualities. Species that are common and can be harvested in a sustainable manner may be made available for harvest.

Ecology

Numerous wildlife species feed on the nuts, seeds, sap, foliage, wood, and bark of the wide variety of species that may be used for Medicinals. Some species use some of these plants directly for cover and nesting or use materials from the plants for nesting.
Traditional uses of the wood and bark of our tree species have a wide range including the use in tanning, smoking meats, snow shoe making, ropes, mats, clothing, wood carvings, tool making, canoes, etc. Many plants and grasses have been traditional used for a variety of foods, dyes, medicinal, and spiritual purposes.
Commercial uses of plants with medicinal properties are primarily for the herbal health industry or the pharmaceutical industry.

Collection on the Rogue River – Siskiyou

On the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest a permit has to be obtained prior to harvesting or gathering medicinal plants above Incidental-Use amounts. Medicinal plants are typically sold on a request basis, where the potential permittee locates the trees or plants of interest, and depending on demand and availability of the product and assessment of effects on resources a permit may be issued.

The assessment of effects and preparation of a permit takes considerable time and varies depending on product removed. If you have an interest in harvesting medicinal plants, contact the District Office where you are interested in harvesting a minimum of three months in advance to get information on what prospects (if any) may be available and to give time for an assessment of sites.

Whenever transporting plant material it is important to remember that moving plants can spread insects and diseases that kill trees and plants. Don’t become an unsuspecting partner in destroying your neighborhood trees, nursery stock, or your preferred product species.

Two important diseases that are affecting our local forests in a significant way are Sudden Oak Death (SOD) and Port-Orford-cedar root disease. Become familiar with these disease and the steps you can take to reduce the risk of spreading them through your collection or medicinal plant material.

As a general rule it is always important to keep a few points in mind. Be aware of any quarantine areas (such as the SOD quarantine area in Curry County) that by law restrict the movement of materials. The proper checking of plants for disease and insects before harvesting and the removal of all attached soil after harvest reduces the risk of transporting and fostering unwanted pests.

Harvesting in areas open to harvest only and collecting allowed species only ensures that the harvest of medicinal plants on the Forest is done in a sustainable manner that strikes a balance with multiple needs for forest resources. Keeping an eye out for wildlife use and leaving plants that have evidence of wildlife use helps support a respected balance in our use of medicinal plants.

Proficiency in species identification is required as is the protection of surrounding species. All vehicles must remain on open roads only. Your permit must be validated before transporting medicinal plant material and a validated load ticket must be attached and visible from the back of every assigned load or smaller portion thereof.

Following low-impact /ecologically sensitive collection techniques will support sustainable management and conservation of the species harvested and help maintain a sustainable and respected harvesting tradition.

Medicinal plants are sold by species and product and are typically available on all Ranger Districts. Please call the District Office where you are interested in harvesting to check for current availability before you head out to obtain a permit. Refer to our Product Price List for current permit costs.