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       Medicinal value of the plants mainly depends upon the season in which they are grown and collected. Our ancestors generally preferred the use of fresh plants but they also instructed that if it was not possible to collect fresh plants then the preserved or well stored drugs, not more than a year old could be used.

       Plants, being Panchabhoutik are solely dependent on soil (which is once again panchbhoutik) for their abode and nutrients. Their properties are based upon the nature of the soil. Its qualities differ depending upon the predominant mahabhutas present in the soil. Thus nature of the soil plays a major role in the manifestation of different properties of a drug.
 
Method of Collection
  • The person should take a bath and pray sincerely before going for the collection of plants.
  • He must collect the plants facing either North or East with full respect and devotion towards nature. As moon and sun are the gods of North and East directions it is believed that there is more potency in plants facing these two directions.
  • The plants should be collected preferably during Pusya, Hastha, Mrigasira or Aswini naksatras (specific days according to Hindu calendar) as during these periods plants are found to contain the highest percentage of active principles.
     
In general, to collect any plant the Land /Soil should have the following qualities.
  • The Land should not have big pits, rocks or anthills.
  • The surface should not be uneven.
  • The Plants that grow near burial grounds, temples or slaughterhouses should not be gathered for medicinal purposes.
  • Soil should not be sandy or rocky and it should not be too alkaline or salty.
  • The land should not be either too marshy or too dry.
  • The soil should be unctuous, soft, fertile and black or red or white in colour.
  • The land surface should be even, covered with grass and huge trees. 
Specific soil for various dravyas :
  • Soil for Virechana dravyas (Purgative drugs) should be of Prithvi (earth) and jala (water) mahabhuta pradhana. This means that the soil should contain elements of earth and water.
     
  • Soil for Vamana dravyas (Emetic drugs) should be of Agni (fire), Akasha (space) and Vaayu (air) mahabhuta pradhana. This means that the soil should contain elements of fire, space and air.
     
  • Soil for Samsamana dravyas (Palliative drugs)- Akasha (space) mahabhuta pradhana soil is good for the collection of drugs having palliative effect.
     
Collection of drugs
  • Collection of drugs as per their virya (Potency) :
    • Collect plants according to their virya, because virya is responsible for action of the drugs. 
    • An "Ushna virya dravya" should be collected in Ushna Kala (summer), and from Agneya maha bhuta pradhana bhumi (means red soil or soil having properties of the fire element) like Vindhya Pradesh.
    • Shita Virya dravyas should be collected during Shitakala (winter) and from Saumya bhumi (means soil having pleasant properties) like Himachal Pradesh. 
      In this way we can collect the most potent drugs.
       
  • Collection of Jangama (Animal originated) dravyas :
    • The Jangama dravyas like blood, hair, nails etc should be collected from young and strong animals but their milk, urine and dung, must be collected after they have completely digested their food.
       
  • Collection of Ahara dravyas :
    Susruta has mentioned the specific time for collection of Ahara dravyas : 
    • Fruits :
      Except Bilwa fruit all other fruits must be collected and used when they are ripe. The fruits, which are unripe, over ripe, infected, non-seasonal, grown in unclean land, are to be discarded.
    • Leafy vegetables :
      Leafy vegetables, which are dry, rotten, infected, collected from dirty places, grown in odd season are to be discarded.
    • Tuberous vegetables :
      Those, which are immature, grown in odd season, too old, infected and diseased are to be rejected. On the contrary, tubers, which are healthy, fresh, wet, non-infected, should be collected.
    • Food grains : 
      Food crops, destroyed by snow, fire, water, polluted air, poisonous insect, grown in odd season and in unclean area, mixed with other food grains and too old should not be collected and used.
       
Time / Season for collection of drugs

Different parts of a plant

Seasons as per Susruta

Seasons as per Charaka

Seasons as per Bhavaprakash

Shakhas (Branches)

Varsha (july to sept)

Varsha and Vasanta (july - sept) and (mar - may)

-

Patra (leaves)

-Do-

-Do-

Grishma (may - july)

Mula (Roots)

Pravrut (may - july)

Shishira and Grishma (jan - mar) and (may - july)

Shishira (jan-mar)

Twak (Bark)

Sharad (sept - nov)

Sharad (sept - nov)

-

Kanda (Tubers)

Sharad (sept - nov)

Hemant (nov - jan)

-

Ksira (latex)

Hemant (nov - jan)

Sharad (sept - nov)

-

Sara (Heart wood)

Vasant (mar - may)

Hemant (nov - jan)

-

Puspa (Flowers)

-

According to the flowering season of individual plant.

Vasanta (mar - may)

Phala (Fruits)

Grishma (may - july)

As per fruiting season of each plant.

-

Panchanga (Drug as a whole)

-

-

Sharad (sept - nov) 
Note:
he has not mentioned rainy season for the collection of any part of the plant.

 

 
 
 
 

 

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