The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Compositae for Herbalists

Formerly known as Asteraceae, the Compositae is one of the largest families in the world with approximately 20,000 species. Is it commonly known as either the Aster, Daisy or Sunflower family.

Because of its size, there are many plants that are useful to both foragers and herbalists.  This family is large enough that one cannot generalize about the therapeutic actions of the plants; they are varied enough that they need to be learned on their own.

Two therapeutic areas that are especially important are:
1. Inulin is a pre-biotic which provides food for the beneficial pro-biotics in the GI Tract. Found in the roots, inulin is hot water soluble and best prepped as a decoction or eaten. Examples are the roots of burdock, dandelion, sunchoke and elecampane.
2. Some of our most useful alteratives also are found in this family. Two excellent examples are dandelion and burdock.
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Dandelion
Artichoke – Thistle – Milk Thistle
Yarrow
Boneset
Sunchoke
Burdock
Chamomile
Arnica spp.
Solidago spp.
Lettuce
Chicory
Sunflower
Elecampane
Grindelia spp.
Echinacea spp.
Artemesia spp.
Calendula
Coltsfoot (Tussilago)

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