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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Not to be confused with Aletris farinosa aka Blazing Star or Star Grass.
a.k.a. Backache root, Button snakeroot, Colic root, Dense Button Snakeroot, Devil's bit, Devil's bite, Gay feather, Liatris, Marsh Blazing Star
(Liatris spicata)

Contains coumarins which were banned in the United States in the early 1950's for
use as flavorings because they caused liver damage and reduced ability of blood to clot.

A North American glabrous perennial native growing to 5 feet in damp meadows and at the edges of marshes with the lower leaves being up to a foot long. Leaves are alternate, simple, mostly linear to linear-lanceolate and ususally dotted with resin; flowers are tubular, bisexual, purple in color, and appear on spikes, the topmost florets opening first.

PROPAGATION: By seed in spring or autumn; by division in spring.
NEEDS: Grown as an ornamental in moist to wet soil in sun. Shoots are susceptible to slug damage.
HARVEST: Leaves in summer; roots in autumn; both used fresh in syrups, or dried for decoctions.
FLOWERS: August to October
SOLVENT: Water, alcohol
SCALY BLAZING STAR (L. squarrosa): Found in dry, open woods and fields, growing to a height of 2 feet with 6 inch leaves and a tuberous root; flowers June to September. Has been used as a diuretic and as a poultice for snakebite.
TALL BLAZING STAR (L. scariosa): Found in dry woods and fields, growing to a height of 3 feet with alternate leaves and hemi-spherical flowerheads composed of florets which bloom August to October. Used the same as L. squarrosa. Also used by the Meswaki for urinary trouble and by the Pawnee for diarrhea.
L. chapmannii: Contains liatrin (anti-cancer properties).
L. puntata: A root decoction has been used as a wash for itching skin.


Bitter, aromatic, tonic, astringent, antibacterial, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenogogue (*only one source states this possible use), stimulant.
Has been used internally for kidney disease and gonorrhea.
Has been used externally in the form of gargle for sore throat.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
INFUSION = 1 tsp steeped 30 minutes in 1 cup boiling water; taken cold a mouthful at a time during the day.
TINCTURE = 1/2 to 1 tsp

The leaves and root are used in potpourri.

Leaves and root are added to herbal insect repelling mixtures.

* Using Plants for Healing, Nelson Coon, Rodale Press 1979

©2004 by Ernestina Parziale, CH