How to harvest herbs correctly

So, I am growing a few herbs in containers. My first attempt! I have Basil, and chives, Rosemary and Mint.
My question relates to how you harvest them.
Is it better to take the new shoots and leaves from the top of the plant?
Or should you take the larger, lower leaves?
I've been taking the lower leaves, because they were bigger, and I thought it wouldn't stop the plant from growing upwards... but I'm noticing now that the stems on the bottom of the plants are getting a bit 'spindly'.
Can anyone advise the correct method?
Thanks.
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Usually,herbs are at their best, for cooking or drying, when they are flowering, but with perennials (Chives, Rosemary and Mint), just cut and use as you need them. With perennials, it doesn't matter what part of the plant is harvested.
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