Medicinal Barks & Twigs
Bark is peeled shortly after cutting the plant. Trunk, branch or twig. Few people peel twigs because the bark is thin.
Twigs have a high cambium to wood ratio. The cambium is where the magic is (for most, but not all, species) Some species the wood has the medicine as well.
We are just starting to offer twigs of plants with medicinal bark. This is for several reasons.
- We have a relatively young medicinal agro-forest, 25 years old. We have a lot of twigs and many of the trees would benefit from some pruning. We can throw them away or use them for compost or brush piles. But they are chock-a-block full of the medicinal compounds. It is a form of respect for the plant to make the highest and best use of its production.
- We can get poundage of twigs much easier than just bark. So we can offer it at a lower price.
- We don't have much time in our schedule to do tedious bark peeling but we can do the twigs quicker.
- This last year I supplied around 50 # crampbark twigs (Viburnum trilobum) to an herb company and they were quite happy with it and wanted another 30 pounds. Next year they will buy a bunch.
- For years I have been supplying yew twigs with foliage (Taxus brevifolia) to my buyers instead of yew bark. They are quite happy and the product has been tested on thousands of people in Mexican cancer clinics with good results. [please note that Japanese and European yew are very poisonous, but not our Northwest native yew.]
- I sell redroot roots (with bark on) (Ceanothus velutinus) to many customers and this is normal in the trade. The wood has medicine in it as well as the bark.
- I sell Oregon-grape roots and upper stem (with bark on) (Mahonia aquifoloium and M. nervosa) to many customers and this is normal in the trade. The wood has medicine in it as well as the bark.
- I sell a lot of Kinnikinnik twigs (Arctostahylos uva-ursi) with leaves in fruit.
- I sell a lot of Bilberry twigs (Vaccinium myrtillus) with leaves in fruit.
Even so, I am pioneering a bit in starting to offer twigs of other medicinal species.
Here are some medicinal bark twigs I am going to offer next year from my own trees I have grown
- Eastern Black cherry
- Red Osier Dogwood
- Huang Ho (Phellodendron amurense)
- Crampbark (Viburnum trilobum)
I could do mulberry, oak and birch as well
We can supply either fresh or dried. For dried twigs we can mill them for an extra $5 a pound and that makes them much easier to tincture.
Of course, there are things where twigs just wouldn't do, such as powdered bark for capsules.
We do sell some barks. principally devils club bark and a bit of willow bark