The term wildcrafting refers to taking from nature that which one needs for food, medicinal, and/or magical purposes.
With regard to taking from nature for magical purposes, it is important to stress that for most magical traditions it is considered taboo to simply take from nature without giving something in return. In addition, many traditions stress the importance of asking the spirits of the herbs, plants, and items if they can take and use them. If the spirits agree, then a small token is left behind as payment for the taking of the item.
In the practice of Hoodoo, this process is called "paying off roots". A worker may go walking into the woods in search of useful herbs and when finding such would pay off the spirit of the plant in order to be able to take and use it. Usually this payment takes the form of a shiny new penny or dime, but can also be a pinch of tobacco or a quick libation of whiskey.
When wildcrafting it is important not to take more that what you need or can use and to show respect for the plants, herbs, or natural items.
If by chance a person is in a situation where the leaving of a small token or gift is out of the question then I was taught to bend over and whisper to the plant the following;
"Spirit of ____, let me take of your body and when I am dead, you may take from mine."
HOW TO WILDCRAFT OR PAY OFF ROOTS
1.) If taking from a tree, knock on the tree three times and ask permission to take what you need. If the tree gives you permission, then place your gift or token at the base of the tree and then take what you need. Thank the tree and leave.
2.) If taking from a bush or small plant, bend over and whisper to the plant and ask it's permission to take from it. If the plant gives permission, place the gift or token on the ground next to it and then take from it what you need. Thank the plant and leave.
3.) If taking roots, whole plants, or when taking will result in the death of the plant then make sure to ask the plant for it's permission or willingness to sacrifice itself. You still need to place the gift or token in the hole left by the plant.
4.) If any plants or items do not give consent then you must leave them be and move on. If your intuition is telling you the plant is saying no and you take from it anyway, you may have to face the consequences of pissing off a nature spirit or in the very least, any magic using the plant will not be effective.
5.) If by chance your are in a position where you simply cannot offer a gift or taken then say the following:
"Spirit of ____, let me take of your body and when I am dead you may take from mine."