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Foraging Purple Aster, Elderberries, and Goldenrod Flowers for Homemade Remedies

1:58 PM

There is a Native American herbal legend that says whatever grows in excess during the growing season is an indication of what kind of a cold/flu/viral season it's going to be.   See lots of  random "volunteer" Coltsfoot?  Expect croup to show up.  See lots of Mullein? Bad upcoming hayfever season... Etcetera.  I see no reason to doubt this theory, it seems as plausible as any.  And this year I see lots and LOTS of Purple Aster and Goldenrod (there's always lots of goldenrod, by the way). New York (Purple) Aster (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii) is known to be a fairly strong nervine and is sometimes prefered over Valerian for sedative and sleep-promoting purposes.  It is also traditionally used to help counteract asthma and other bronchial irritation.  So, traditionally, the abundance of purple aster is telling us to expect a very "bronchial/sleep deprived" cold and flu season.  I believe it!  My asthma has been abnormally terrible the last couple of weeks and there's a story all over the news about some new virus that's causing fairly severe bronchial distress.

Granted, we still have our humidifiers and antibiotics and Doctors and, in my case, albuterol inhalers, but wouldn't it be great to have to use that stuff less?!

I had a great time harvesting 2 gorgeous flowering weeds today and they often grow together:  Purple Aster, and Goldenrod flowering tops.  I made a tincture out of the purple aster and added some elderberries to the mix for extra "cough" help, and I made an infused oil out of the goldenrod which is supposed to work really well when rubbed externally into sore muscles. Can't wait to try the oil when I decide after the Holidays that it's time to shape up a little (this happens every year! HAHA!).

Fresh elderberries!

Making your own herbal remedies is very easy.  Here is how I did the Aster/Elderberry tincture:

Aster/Elderberry Tincture:
a handful of elderberries (fresh or dry)
Purple Aster flowers
80proof Vodka

Put your handful of elderberries in the bottom of a pint-sized mason jar.  Stuff the jar tightly up to the neck with Aster flowers (tops only, no stems and very few leaves) and then fill the jar up to it's neck with vodka.  Poke around a little bit with a chopstick to get any bubbles out.  Cap/seal tightly with a lid.  Shake a little, and store in a cool dry place.  Your tincture will be ready to use in 6 weeks after you drain the liquid and disgard the flowers and berries.  Store your tincture in a cool dark place until you need to use it.  Most tinctures can last years on the shelf, if your comfortable with doing that.  Something tells me that this season will probably use up this entire pint though.  Usual dosage is about 10-12 drops of tincture in about 4 oz clear water as often as needed.  Can be sweetened with honey or drank as part of a hot tea.

Goldenrod Oil (for Sore Muscles)
Goldenrod flowering tops
Olive oil

Pack your flowering tops tightly into a mason jar (I had enough to do a quart).  Cover them with a good quality olive oil up to the neck of the jar (submerging the flower tops).  Poke with a chopstick to get most of the bubbles out.  Cap tightly and store in a cool dry place.  Your oil will be ready in about 6 weeks. Strain the oil and discard the flowers.  Put the oil in a sealed jar and store in a cool dry place.  Will keep for up to a year (do not consume as a food! this is for topical use only).

Enjoy in good health!

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  1. Great post! I will have to refer back to this next year, thanks for sharing, enjoying your blog!!


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