gardening

Aster: How to Recognise, Health Benefits and Uses

During late summer and autumn you’ll see these colourful little flowers pop up: asters. Or, as I would like to call them, the daisies of autumn.

I never encountered these beauties whilst living in the Netherlands, but as soon as I moved to the UK I began to notice these flowers. Varying from deep purple to light pink, they really do stand out when nature is slowly but surely preparing for autumn.

They do look a bit like daisies. There are lots of species and varieties of asters out there, but the main two encountered asters are the New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) and the New York Aster (S. novi-belgii). Asters are also known as Starworts, Michaelmas Daisies, or Frost Flowers.

I have some beautiful asters in the border in front of my house and it attracts lots of white butterflies and bees, “providing the pollinators with an important late-season supply of nectar” (source).

How to recognise Aster
Asters have starry-shaped flower heads that range in colour from white to blue to purple. The heart of the flower is bright yellow to orange. The leaves are divided into slips and are usually bright green, but they can be brownish too. The plant itself is a sturdy clump that can grow up to two metres! (source)

How to use Aster
Traditionally the aster root has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine, but the leaves and flowers of asters are edible, too. Either dried or fresh, the flowers and leaves of the Aster plant can be eaten. However, they are most commonly used nowadays in herbal teas, fresh in salads, or used as garnish. It has several health benefits and has traditionally been used in the treatment of weak skin, pain, fevers and diarrhea (source). However, it is slightly astringent on the tongue, which means it can leave your mouth feel dry.

Honestly, I haven’t picked any asters yet for personal use as I just enjoy watching the butterflies and bees land on the flowers. If you want to read more about picking wild flowers, read this article.

Sources:

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash
Disclaimer: Please note that the content on this webpage is not intended as a medical reference but as a source of information. Before trying any herbal remedy, I advise you to try a small quantity first to establish whether there are any adverse or allergic reactions to the herb, plant or flower. If you wish to take a herbal remedy with prescribed medicines, you should talk to a pharmacist our your GP first. Lisa from Kitchenoflion can not be held responsible for any adverse reactions to the recommendations on this webpage. The use of any herb, plant, flower or derivative is entirely at the reader’s own risk. Read Kitchenoflion’s full disclaimer here.

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