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Tatarian Aster Root (Aster Tataricus)

Close up of Tatarian Aster Root (Aster tataricus)

What is Tatarian Aster Root (Aster Tataricus) ?

Tatarian Aster Root (zi wan, 紫菀), is the root of Aster Tataricus, an average-sized perennial plant native to East Asia. The plant blooms in September and October, and flourishes in sunny areas with moist, wet soils. In China, Aster Tataricus is predominantly produced in the provinces of Hebei and Anhu provinces. The root is usually harvested in the Spring or Autumn for medicinal purposes.

Purple and stringy, Tatarian Aster Root resembles a pile of purple spaghetti from far. The roots are braided after being plucked, dried under the Sun and cut into thick slices for medicinal usage. Raw Tatarian Aster Root can be fried with honey before use as well. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Tatarian Aster Root falls under the category of ‘Herbs that relieve coughing and wheezing’. The herb can treat symptoms caused by Stagnation of fluids and phlegm, and possess antitussive, expectorant, diuretic or laxative properties.

Warm in nature, Tatarian Aster Root can help people who have too much Cold in their body, such as those experiencing a Yin Excess or a Yang Deficiency, to restore a healthy yin-yang balance. Bitter and sweet, Tatarian Aster Root can cleanse the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. Also, the herb can slow down acute reactions, detoxify the body, and has a tonic effect on the body by replenishing qi and blood. In particular, Tatarian Aster Root targets the Lungs.

Functions and Benefits of Tatarian Aster Root (Aster Tataricus)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that Tatarian Aster Root has the following health benefits. 

Tatarian Aster Root can moisten the Lungs to resolve phlegm and address symptoms of coughing. Often stir-baked with honey, Tatarian Aster Root can direct qi downwards to moisten the Lungs and treat cough with phlegm caused by external contraction, internal injury, Cold, Heat, Deficiency or Excess syndromes. 

For cough caused by Wind-Cold with symptoms of persistent cough and dry phlegm, Tatarian Aster Root is often combined with Wind-Cold-dispersing herbs and Lung-ventilating herbs to resolve phlegm. For cough caused by Lung Heat with symptoms of yellow and thick phlegm, Tatarian Aster Root is often combined with Heat-clearing and phlegm-resolving herbs to address it.

Other than the above Tatarian Aster Root benefits, the herb can also address asthma and chronic coughing, especially those that are induced by Cold with copious sputum or blood-streaked sputum. 

In addition, frying Tatarian Aster Root in honey can enhance the herb’s lung-moistening functions and stop cough. 

Tatarian aster's purple flowers blooming (Aster tataricus)
The Tatarian Aster Root, which is derived from the Aster Tataricus flower, can help to relieve coughs.

How to Use Tatarian Aster Root (Aster Tataricus)

The recommended daily dosage of Tatarian Aster Root is 3 – 9g, decocted in water for oral consumption. Some healthcare practitioners may recommend a slightly higher dose of 5 – 10g, depending on your body condition.

Tatarian Aster Root is taken internally to treat diseases such as chronic bronchitis and tuberculosis, and it is often used raw with honey to increase the expectorant effect.

Raw Tatarian Aster Root can be found in many Asian markets and herbal shops. Many of it is already stir-fried with honey.

Dried, sliced Tatarian Aster Root can be found at some specialty stores, along with other forms of Tatarian Aster Root, such as tablets, powders and decoctions.

Cautions and Side Effects of Tatarian Aster Root (Aster Tataricus)

There have not been reports of any adverse effects associated with the over-consumption of Tatarian Aster Root. However, the herb should not be consumed in large doses for extended durations of time for safety concerns.

Also, Tatarian Aster Root should be consumed with caution by patients experiencing Excess Heat. The herb is also incompatible with Herba Artemisiae Scopariae (yin chen, 茵陈), and these two herbs should not be used together under any circumstances.

Do consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Tatarian Aster Root to your healthcare routine!


Here is a summary for Tatarian Aster Root:

  • Herb name (Chinese): 紫菀
  • Herb name (Pin Yin): zǐ wǎn
  • Herb name (English): Tatarian Aster Root
  • Herb name (Botanical): Radix et Rhizoma Asteris
  • Origin of species: Aster tataricus L. f.
  • Part(s) of herb used: Root and rhizome
  • Geo-specific habitat(s): Henan, Anhui, Northern parts of China
  • Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter, pungent, sweet; Slightly warm; Administrates the Lung Meridian
  • Actions: Eases acute or chronic coughs with large amounts of oral discharge

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