Tartarian Aster

Botanical Name :Aster tataricus
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Aster
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Tribe: Astereae
Species: A. tataricus
Common Name : Tartarian Aster

Habitat :Aster tataricus is native to Siberia.Grows in E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea, Siberia. It can be grown in zones 3-9, but must have full sun and moist soil. Subalpine meadows and wet places, C. and S. Japan. Marshy areas in mountains.

Description:
It is a perennial  plant, growing to 6 feet tall. It is harvested in the spring or the fall. It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from Sept. to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It cannot grow in the shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
Succeeds in most good garden soils, preferring one that is well-drained and moisture retentive. Prefers a sunny position, but also succeeds in partial shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. Plants can suffer from mildew when growing in dry conditions. This species is cultivated in China as a medicinal herb. Most species in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus.

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Propagation:

Seed – surface sow in spring in a cold frame. Do not allow the compost to become dry. Pre-chilling the seed for two weeks can improve germination rates. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks at 20°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Basal cuttings in the spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 – 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted straight into their permanent positions whist smaller clumps are best potted up and kept in a cold frame until they are growing away well.


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.


Medicinal Uses:

Antibacterial;  Antifungal;  Antitussive;  Cancer;  Expectorant.
It is one of the 50 fundamental herbs of Traditional Chinese medicine. The root is known in traditional Chinese medicine as zi wan or Radix Asteris Tatarici. Bensky (1993) states that the root is bitter and slightly warm.

Compiled from many sources, the known chemical compounds found are: epifriedelinol, friedelin, friedel-3-ene, astersaponin, quercetin (flavonoid), lachnophyllol, lachnophyllol acetate, aurantiamide acetate, anethole, astersaponins (A, B, C, D, E, F, G), asterprosaponin, hederasaponin (shionosides A, B), asterin, cyclochloro-tine, (astin A, B, C), astertarone (a triterpenoid), pentapeptides (likely antibacterial), beta-amyrin (possibly sedative), oleic acid, an aromatic acid, carotene, oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid), stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol, spinasterol triterpenes similar to cholesterol, but unsaturated), shionone (triterpene), suberone (ketone of suberic acid; peppermint fragrance).

This species has been used for at least 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine. The root contains triterpenes and triterpene saponins, and is a stimulant expectorant herb for the bronchial system, helping to clear infections. It is antibacterial, antifungal, antitussive, expectorant and stimulant. It has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, Pseudomonas and Vibrio Proteus. The root is taken internally in the treatment of chronic bronchitis and tuberculosis and is often used raw with honey in order to increase the expectorant effect. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use. The plant contains the triterpene epifriedelinol, which has shown anticancer activity, and is used as a folk cure for cancer.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aster_tataricus
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aster+tataricus
http://www.highfallsgardens.net/newsletters/Preliminary%20Research%20on%20Aster%20tataricus.pdf

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