New England Aster: Beloved of fall pollinators, migratory monarchs, and herbalists making respiratory medicine for the coming winter cold.
This has become one of my favorite early fall medicines to harvest. It is so fun to be out in the sun on a crisp, early fall day, picking beautiful purple flowers at the end of the season. Often I’ll harvest some wild apples or Eliagnus berries while I’m out, rounding out a lovely, mellow day (made even more mellow by the effects of this plant).
New England Aster is one of our best allies for lung congestion and constriction, whether acute, as in cold and flu, or chronic, as in asthma or chronic bronchitis. I use the fresh flowers, but I know people are experimenting with roots and young leaves as well. It is a warming, calming expectorant that brings heat and life to the chest, lessening congestion, soothing spasmodic hacking coughs, and improving our ability to draw in breath. It’s also a calming, soothing nervine, decreasing nervous tension especially characterized by flights of fancy, anxiety, “what if” rabbit holes, and anxiety felt in the chest or stomach. This is an ideal every day ally for those of use who feel allergies, anxiety, and weather changes in our respiratory system. I use it often for acute respiratory infections as well.
As you wild-craft, remember to be respectful and loving to pollinators, plants, and other animals that rely on plants for sustenance, as well as other gatherers.
Read more about the importance of ethical wild-crafting here.