'Tis the season of ... Autumn Roots
Folklore said that medicinal plants "live a year that is marked by the ritual of necessity" – different plants being at their peak during certain times of their growing seasons, and at the time of year when we needed the medicine, it was there and ready for us.
Take lemon balm as an example; in the spring, its leaves have hardly any aroma, yet by the time the plant is almost ready to bloom in mid-summer, the leaves are jammed with their potent lemony scent as its volatile oils become concentrated in its aerial parts.
Spring is marked with new growth, seeds sprouting, and sap rising in the trees as the days begin to get longer. Longer days mean more sunlight available for growth. Autumn, as the days become shorter, is all about the opposite - drawing down as the sap falls, preparing for rest and storing up reserves for the quiet of winter.
Roots also follow these trends of the season, but on a different timeline, with autumn being the traditional time to harvest them as plants rely on their roots to survive winter, so it makes sense that they’ve built up their store of energy by autumn. Take dandelion as a great example – in spring, the plant has sustained itself through the winter from its roots, so the roots are now small and less bitter,