The aster is a daisy-like flower featuring a dense center surrounded by small petals. Native to Europe and Asia, these hardy flowers are frost resistant, and many species bloom in the fall. Asters come in a range of colors, most prominently purples, pinks, blues, and white. They are a close relative of chrysanthemums, another fall flower.
The flowers got their name from the Latin, ” ἀστήρ,” which means aster, and is translated as “star,” due to its star-like shape. Asters are a popular garden flower because of their bright, cheerful appearance, the ease with which they can be grown (they can grow in all hardiness zones), and their late bloom time, which makes them a good complement to early risers. Asters are also great for attracting butterflies & subsequently good luck.
According to ancient lore, burning aster leaves are believed to drive away snakes. Among the meanings and traits ascribed to them are patience, daintiness, faith, wisdom, and valor.
These dear blooms are also refered to as Michaelmas Daisies, because the tend to bloom right around
the celebration of Michaelmas, or for Pagans, right around Mabon. On the Gregorian calender this is between September 21 & 29th.
I am fond of the following herbal advice from a well reputed man called Jim McDonald who does herbcraft out of Michigan. Here is a link to his site, for furth awesomeness and classes to those who may find this and live in the area. http://www.herbcraft.org/aster.html
“Aster puniceus… Stimulant and diaphoretic. The warm infusion may be used freely in colds, rheumatism, nervous debility, headache, pains in the stomach, dizziness, and menstrual irregularities. This, together with A. cordifolius, has been compared in value with valerian.
Aster aestivus…is recommended as an antispasmodic and alterative. Principally used in the cure of rheumatism in the form of infusion or tincture; recommended, however, in hysteria, chorea, epilepsy, spasms, irregular menstruation, etc., internally; and used both externally and internally in many cutaneous diseases, the eruption occasioned by the poison rhus, and in the bites of venomous snakes. Dose of the infusion, 1 to 4 fluid ounces; of a saturated tincture, 1/2 drachm to 2 drachms. This plant deserves further investigation.
Aster cordifolius…”an excellent aromatic nervine, in many cases preferable to valerian.” It is also reputed antispasmodic. The root is the part used. A decoction has been used in rheumatism.
Aster Novae-Angliae, Linné. New England aster. United States. A beautiful plant, especially when cultivated. It has rose-purple, occasionally white flowers. Used in skin eruptions and valuable for poisoning by poison sumac (Rafinesque, on authority of Dr. Lawrence).”
The root has been used for centuries in Chinese medicines. The flower and leaves are also reported to provide health benefits. Flowers can be eaten fresh and added to a salad as can the leaves. When harvesting in September or early October be sure the plant is dry (dew is gone) and cut stem about 10 cm above the ground. Hang upside down in a cool, dark location until totally dried (crumbles easily). Most of the flowers will become white and fluffy but they can still be used. Add dried plant to salads, main dishes or make a cup of tea. Leaves contain per 100 grams: 305 calories, 32.8g protein, 5.5g fat, 50g total carbohydrate, 8.6g fiber, 11.7g ash, 328mg calcium, 594mg phosphorus, 31mg iron, 4164mg Potassium, 26mg beta-carotene equivalent, 1.41mg thiamine, 2.81mg riboflavin, 8.59mg niacin, 688mg ascorbic acid (high).
Overall September’s flower is one of interesting history, medical properties, and lovely to view. Good for you guys Virgos.