As a bioregional herbalist, my profound passion lies in rekindling the ancestral wisdom surrounding native medicinal herbs and plants that thrive in my local environment. Amidst the abundance of native flora, there exists a treasure trove of natural remedies yet to be uncovered and harnessed. One such remedy that has found a cherished spot in my home apothecary is the New England Aster tincture, meticulously crafted from the Symphyotrichum novae-angliae plant. This splendid native herb not only graces our autumn landscapes with its vibrant hues but also distinguishes itself for its remarkable potential in supporting respiratory health, especially during the demanding cold and flu season.
On sunny and dry autumn days, I find solace in venturing outdoors to collect New England Aster, a plant that was cherished by many Native American tribes long before the arrival of European settlers. This vibrant and hardy perennial is a testament to nature’s bounty and the importance of preserving indigenous plant knowledge.
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The Rich History of New England Aster
New England Aster has a rich history of medicinal use among indigenous tribes, including my own Nipmuck people. Our ancestors likely recognized the healing properties of this plant and used it to address various health concerns, particularly those related to the respiratory system. It’s an honor to continue this tradition by incorporating New England Aster into my own wellness routine.
Identifying and Harvesting New England Aster
Before embarking on a journey to harness the healing power of New England Aster, it’s crucial to correctly identify the plant. This species typically reaches heights of 3 to 6 feet and boasts an abundance of deep purple or lavender blossoms with bright yellow centers. Its lance-shaped leaves are rough to the touch, and its stem is sturdy and covered in tiny hairs.
To harvest New England Aster responsibly, I ensure that I am gathering the plant from an area where it is abundant and thriving. It’s essential to leave the majority of the plant intact, as this allows it to continue growing and supporting the local ecosystem. Learn more about the identification, uses, and medicinal properties of New England Aster here: New England Aster Plants: Unlocking the Identification, Uses, and Medicinal Benefits
Creating a New England Aster Tincture
One of the most effective ways to harness the benefits of New England Aster is by creating a tincture. This herbal preparation involves extracting the plant’s medicinal compounds into alcohol, making it easy to incorporate into our daily wellness routines.
- Fresh flowering tops of New England Aster (flowers and leaves)
- 100 proof Vodka
- Harvesting: On a sunny and dry autumn day, gather fresh New England Aster flowers and leaves. Choose plants that are free from pesticides and other contaminants.
- Preparing the Tincture: Take your fresh flowering tops (flowers and leaves) and chop them up well and fill your jar. Pour the Vodka over the herbs filling the jar. Tightly screw the cover on the jar.
- Steeping: Store the jar in a cool, dark place for about 4 to 6 weeks, shaking it gently every day to encourage the extraction of the plant’s medicinal compounds.
- Straining: After the steeping period, strain the tincture through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a clean, dark glass bottle. Ensure that all plant material is removed.
- Storage: Seal the bottle and store your New England Aster tincture in a cool, dark place. Properly stored, it can last for several years.
Using New England Aster Tincture
This homemade New England Aster tincture can be a valuable addition to your herbal wellness toolkit. During cold and flu season or when you feel respiratory discomfort, consider taking a small amount of the tincture. Typically, a few drops (5-15 drops 3-5 times a day) under the tongue or diluted in water can help soothe respiratory issues and support overall wellness.
Incorporating New England Aster into your self-care routine is not only a nod to indigenous plant wisdom but also a way to connect with the healing power of nature. As a Nipmuck woman, I take great pride in preserving and sharing the knowledge of our ancestors, and I encourage others to do the same. New England Aster is just one example of the incredible remedies that nature provides, waiting for us to rediscover and appreciate its healing potential.
In conclusion, making a New England Aster tincture is a beautiful way to honor both the plant’s history and my indigenous heritage. By reconnecting with our ancestral wisdom and embracing the healing properties of native plants like New England Aster, we can take proactive steps towards respiratory wellness during cold and flu season while paying homage to the traditions of those who came before us. So, as autumn arrives and the New England Aster blooms in all its glory, I encourage you to join me in this journey of reclamation, connection, and healing.
Disclaimer- I am not a medical professional. All information shared here is for information and entertainment only. Do your own research and consult your health care provider before treating yourself with any product, plant or mixture.