Purple Aster

Purple Aster

Aster amellus

Purple aster has a rich history of medicinal uses. The Iroquois people have been reported to mix it with bloodroot for preparing a laxative. Its flowers were employed in making certain potions to treat venereal diseases.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Italian aster, Fall aster, European Michaelmas daisy
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves and Flowers
  • Side Effects: None
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About Purple Aster

Purple aster is an erect herbaceous perennial that typically grows up to 1-3 feet tall. This compact bushy clump is marked by the emergence of dark green obviate and petiolated basal leaves, and alternate and sessile cauline leaves. Its hermaphroditic flowers pop up bearing lilac shade with a daisy-like appearance.

Purple aster has a rich history of medicinal uses. The Iroquois people have been reported to mix it with bloodroot for preparing a laxative. Its flowers were employed in making certain potions to treat venereal diseases. Under the light of scientific studies and various trials, purple aster has been found to possess anti-inflammatory depurative antitussive, hemostatic, and antimalarial actions. In Nepal, aster root juice is used both internally and topically to treat indigestion and boils, respectively.

Purple aster also serves the purpose of bringing a vibrant splash of joy and color to the gardens in summer with its lavender-blue starry flowers. It is one of the most sensational plants of fall that attracts birds, butterflies, and other pollinating insects to the garden for aesthetic and pollination purposes.

 

Growing

Purple aster is a fast and easy-growing plant that loves to thrive in the sun. In the South, the best time to start is spring while in the North, it is preferred to do it in fall. 

It requires full sun exposure with moderately fertile well-drained soil with alkaline pH. Aster can be started both indoors and outdoors. To break aster seed dormancy, they can be refrigerated for 4 to 6 weeks to kick start germination.

It takes around 14 to 21 days for purple aster seeds to germinate. It blooms for several weeks, starting from late summer till mid-fall, i.e. from July through October.

These flowers, once pollinated, transform into fruits bearing achene seeds. These seeds are easily dispersed by animals and humans for the perpetuation of their life cycle.

 

Growing

Purple aster flowers are harvested when they are in the full bloom phase, usually 100 to 120 days after the germination of their seeds. 

Aster flowers are harvested by plucking them manually.

Purple aster flowers make up for a fine dried specimen to preserve its distinct aroma and signature phytoconstituents. They are dried in a well-ventilated room, away from the sunlight, and stored in an airtight container for a year-long supply. 

 

Usage

Purple aster is incorporated in various medicinal preparations that address different ailments, including cough, malaria, inflammation, and much more.

  • Tincture - Freshly harvested purple aster flowers are macerated in grain alcohol for 6 to 8 weeks to formulate a tincture.
  • Tea - Dried aster powder is added to a cup of hot boiling water to form a tea.
  • Decoction - Purple aster roots (dried) are boiled in water for a given period of time (as specified in the monograph) to form an aster decoction.
  • Syrup - Dried aster flowers are simmered in sugar solution for a given period of time (as specified in the monograph) to form aster syrup.
  • Salve - Purple aster-infused oil is thickened with beeswax pastilles and congealed to form aster salve.
  • Infused oil - Dried purple aster flowers are infused in olive oil for 2 to 3 weeks on a sunny windowsill to formulate a purple aster-infused oil.