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Reply To: Herbal gardening 

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Hi Jennifer,

Interesting question! There isn’t much written about the specific concerns of air quality issues from wildfire smoke but my personal thoughts on this would be that, depending on how many days you have had smokey air in your area, it could be okay.
Most of the time we say to avoid harvesting near roadsides, and sites of toxins, but this is a fair bit different due to the smoke vs. other environmental toxins and the duration of exposure. However, it’s hard for me to say really since I am not there personally and don’t know what the air actually looks, smells and seems like.

What I would ultimately suggest is to just wait for it to pass and then hold of for a few more days, or you could harvest and give them a ‘dusting’ rather than washing them with water. I only suggest staying away from water because it makes the plants harder to dry or if you are making a preparation from them fresh then it can dilute or even increase chances of rancidity. However if you have a dehydrator, this could help dry the plants properly if you did decide to wash them.

Ultimately any ‘pollution’ on the plants from the wildfire air quality concerns that you have had recently, would be fairly superficial and could be cleaned off, but if you can wait until the smoke has cleared, this may be the best choice.

I hope that helps a little.
With warmth,