Benefits Of Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) For Health

Benefits Of Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) For Health

Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum)

Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) is known as other names: Agueweed, Bois Perfolié, Crosswort, Eupatoire, Eupatoire Perfoliée, Eupatorio, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Feverwort, Herbe à Fièvre, Herbe à Souder, Indian Sage, Sweating Plant, Teasel, Thoroughwort, Vegetable Antimony, Crosswort, Wood Boneset...

Boneset is a perennial herb, with an erect stout, cylindrical hairy stem, 2 to 4 feet high, branched at the top. The leaves are large, opposite, united at the base, lance-shaped, 4 to 8 inches long (the lower ones being the largest), tapering to a sharp point, the edges finely toothed, the veins prominent, the blades rough above, downy and resinous and dotted beneath. The leaves serve to distinguish the species at the first glance - they may be considered either as perforated by the stem, perfoliate (hence the specific name), or as consisting of two opposite leaves joined at the base, the botanical term for which is connate. The flower-heads are terminal and numerous, large and slightly convex, with from ten to twenty white florets, having a bristly pappus, the hairs of which are arranged in a single row. The odour of the plant is slightly aromatic, the taste astringent and strongly bitter. This species shows considerable variety in size, hairiness, form of leaves and inflorescence. It flowers from July to September. Boneset has a faint aroma and a very bitter taste.

Benefits Of Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) For Health
Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) Picture

The use of boneset leaves as well as the plant's flowering tops for therapeutic purpose was first introduced to the early European settlers by the Native Indians in American Indians. They generally used the herb for curing health conditions, such as influenza, colds, catarrh, all types of fevers (counting dengue), rheumatism, typhoid (lake) and even sporadic outbreaks of malaria. In order to cure colds and flu, the remedy prepared with boneset leaves and flowering tops is taken as a hot tea to encourage perspiration as well as alleviate the related aches and soreness.

Boneset enjoyed the status of official medication in the United States between the period of 1820 and 1950, although the herb was seldom approved by medical practitioners, especially during the concluding phase of this period mentioned. Nonetheless, presently there is a resurgence of interest in the boneset's use among advocates of herbal medicine, who mainly use this herb to alleviate fevers. While there are certainly safer as well as more effectual treatments, for instance aspirin, it is tackling to learn that the medical literature is necessarily lacking in undesirable incidents or side effects related to the use of boneset.

There has been some scientific research which has shown that boneset can be used to treat the common cold, and as a natural treatment for the flu, due to possible stimulation of the immune system. Boneset has anti-inflammatory properties that make it a useful herbal remedy for topical skin irritants. It is also being studied in its ability to aid and subdue skin diseases.

History of Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum)

The "Joe Pye" herb was named after a North American Indian called Joe Pye, who cured a grateful New Englander of typhus. He used this plant to induce profuse sweating which broke the fever.

The Latin name, Eupatorium, is derived from Eupator, a 1st century BCE king of Pontus, famed for his herbal skills. According to Pliny, Eupator was the first to use a plant of this genus for liver complaints.

A Modern Herbal (1931) described how people “used to” put leaves of hemp agrimony on bread to prevent it from becoming moldy.

Avicenna (980-1037 CE) and other practitioners of Arabian medicine already knew of hemp agrimony and its medicinal uses.

Native Americans used boneset to treat, as its name suggests, “break-bone fever” (Dengue fever). Infusions were also used by them to treat colds, fever, and the pain from arthritis and rheumatism.

Gravel root was listed in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1916 and the National Formulary from 1926 to 1950.

Many discussions have been held as to how boneset received its name, and all have some validity. One suggests that the common name for dengue fever, breakbone fever, was Eupatorium. Another suggests that flus and colds were historically called "breakbone fever" in the early colonies. The third speculation insists that the traditional use of boneset by indigenous peoples to heal broken bones is the reason for its name.

There are at least thirty species of boneset in North America, with each receiving its name because of its effectiveness in, not only mending broken bones, but also because of its effectiveness against breakbone fever (now called dengue), a mosquito-transmitted viral infection marked by chills, fever, headache, and muscle and bone pain. Dengue fever is common in tropical and subtropical regions, and is the leading cause of childhood mortality in several Asian countries.

Boneset attained popularity about 1800 when a particularly virulent flu swept the East Coast and was characterized by intense bone pain. A specific reference to this was made by an early 19th century physician (C.J.Hemple) who noted that the herb "so singally relieved the disease…that it was familiarly called bone-set".

Benefits Of Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) For Health
Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum)

Boneset was used by many tribes of North America for a wide variety of ailments, including colds, sore throat, fever, flu, chills, menstrual irregularity, epilepsy, gonorrhea, kidney trouble, rheumatism, and to induce vomiting. The Mesquakies used the root to cure snakebites. One of their doctors, named McIntosh, used a leaf and flower tea to expel worms. The Iroquois, Mohegan, Menominee, Delaware, and Cherokee have all used boneset to treat colds and fever. The Alabama relieved stomachache with boneset tea. It was also used by several tribes, including the Cherokee, as a laxative.

Boneset was named in all early American books on medicinal plants, including Hand's House Surgeon and Physician (1820). During the 19th century, very few houses did not have the herb hung from rafters for use at the first onset of chills and fever.

Boneset was used particularly in the 18th and 19th centuries, not only by Native Americans and pioneers, but also Civil War troops. Before the coming of aspirin, boneset was one of the remedies to treat the aches and fevers that accompanied various ailments.

Benefits Of Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) For Health

Boneset was used by Native Americans (who later taught the colonists) to treat influenza , colds, and other infectious diseases as well as fever, arthritis, and rheumatism. By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, European settlers considered boneset to be a cure-all. As a result, boneset was used to treat many different diseases and conditions. It was, perhaps, among the most widely used herbal medicines in the United States. Dried boneset was kept on hand by families, as well as doctors, for immediate use, especially during the flu season.

Boneset, especially the leaves and the flowering tops of the herb, possesses several properties that are beneficial for our body. Drinking a hot infusion prepared with boneset eases the symptoms of fever as it stimulates perspiration. In addition, boneset also releases phlegm and encourages its elimination by means of coughing. In effect, boneset possesses a purgative as well as stimulant effect. Boneset has also been used to treat health conditions, such as skin complaints, rheumatic ailments and worms.

As aforementioned, boneset possesses laxative, tonic and febrifuge (a medicine that reduces fevers) properties. Boneset works gradually and continually and the greatest strength of this herb is apparent on the stomach, liver, uterus and bowels.

When taken in reasonable measures, boneset is considered to be a gentle stimulant, in addition to being a diaphoretic (an agent that encourages sweating), particularly when it is taken in the form of a warm infusion. Warm boneset infusion is also taken to cure muscular spasms in rheumatic attacks.

When taken in larger doses, boneset infusion can act as an emetic (causes vomiting ) and purgative (causes evacuation of the bowels). Boneset infusion is drunk cold, in moderate doses (one-fourth cup), to act as a tonic to treat indigestion and general debility.

Benefits Of Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) For Health
Common Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) Picture

This herb has been valued in the form of a well-accepted febrifuge (a medical agent that reduces fever), particularly sporadic fevers. Although with comparatively less success, boneset has also been used for treating yellow fevers and typhoid. Even to this day, boneset is widely employed by the Negroes inhabiting the southern regions of the United States in the form of a medication for treating all types of fevers, in addition to, the herb's stimulant attribute. Boneset is used in the form of an effective medication to cure dyspepsia (indigestion) as well as common weakness, and it is especially effective in treating digestive disorders among the elderly.

Boneset is an effective medication for treating catarrh (inflammation of the mucus membrane, particularly of the respiratory tract), especially when one is suffering from influenza. Boneset may be taken in combination with cayenne, elder flowers, ginger, lemon balm, peppermint , or yarrow to treat influenza. For bronchial conditions, boneset may be taken with pleurisy root and elecampane.

Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum) Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Because boneset may contain liver-damaging chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, it is considered unsafe. Don’t use it if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Boneset may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others.

No one should use boneset for longer than six months at a time. Speaking to a health care provider is recommended before considering trying this herb as a natural remedy for any condition.