Good Wildcrafting Practices
Amanda Howe developed guidelines for harvesting wild medicinal plants in a project funded by Health Canada at Royal Roads University Centre for Livelihoods and Ecology.
Please find below monographs with sustainable harvesting guidelines for each of the plants. These are lviing documents that are updated and improved as more understanding becomes available:
Polygala senega - Seneca Snakeroot
Our knowledge about Seneca Snakeroot comes from First Nations people of North America. Any claims for safety and efficacy based on First Nations knowledge must acknowledge the source of this knowledge. Any commercialisation of the plant must be accompanied by benefit sharing as per the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The majority of the global trade in Seneca snakeroot is based on material wild harvested in Manitoba.
Seneca snakeroot is much less common than it used to be in its former range due to habitat loss and harvesting.,
Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the last two provinces in Canada to have a significant amount of Seneca snakeroot. It has been eradicated in most other areas of North America as happened to wild ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) in the eastern provinces and states. SAVE OUR SPECIES argues that loss of habitat is a major reason for its decline.
Seneca snakeroot was harvested heavily in Canada and exported to the USA and Europe from the early 1900’s to the 1960’s with demand peaking in the 1930’s. Demand dropped off in the 60’s due to synthetically available substitutes. A resurgence of interest in natural health products led to an increase in exports from Manitoba again in the 1980’s.
This resurgence in demand continues and could negatively impact wild populations and therefore more work needs to be carried out to understand wild regeneration and cultivation.
Devil's Club - Oplopanax horridus