Eupatorium perfoliatum-Boneset


Family: Compositae

Other Names :

Feverwort, Thoroughwort, Cunigunda perfoliata, Eupatorium chapmanii, Eupatorium connatum, Eupatorium salviifolium, Eupatorium, Agueweed, Crosswort, Eupatorium, Indian Sage, Sweating Plant, Teasel, Thoroughwort, Vegetable Antimony

hazardsmallSensitization may occur. Increase sweating and diarrhoea have been reported. May cause dermatitis. Some herbalists suggest it should not be used with a high fever in excess of 102F. Also suggest to not use boneset for more than 6 months. As potentially toxic should not be  used  during breast feeding .

Habitat : N. America. Wet woods, scrub, fens and damp grassland. Sandy soils in Texas

Collection : Boneset should be collected as soon as the flowers open in August or September.

Description of Boneset:

Eupatorium perfoliatum, Boneset is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft). It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation of Boneset:

Succeeds in ordinary well-drained but moisture retentive garden soil in sun or part shade . A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c . Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits . A polymorphic species .

Propagation of Boneset:

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring or autumn . Very easy, the clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions.

Culinary uses of Boneset:

None known!

Eupatorium_perfoliatum_botanicalMedicinal use of Boneset:

Actions : Diaphoretic, bitter, laxative, tonic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, astringent.

Part Used : Dried aerial parts

Indications :

Boneset is one the best remedies for the relief of the associated symptoms that accompany influenza. It will speedily relieve the aches and pains as well as aid the body in dealing with any fever that is present. Boneset may also be used to help clear the upper respiratory tract of mucous congestion. Its mild aperient activity will ease constipation. It may safely be used in any fever and also as a general cleansing agent. It may provide symptomatic aid in the treatment of muscular rheumatism.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a “stimulating, tonic and antispasmodic diaphoretic; indicated for influenzal epidemics and febrile conditions arising in marshy districts. Acts upon the gastro-hepatic organs andpromotes secretion and excretion of bile.” They give the following specific indications: Influenzal colds & fevers with nightsweats and aching bones. Pulmonary inflammation/catarrh withcough and chest soreness. Post-influenzal gastricirritation with biliousness and constipation. Skin diseases& eruptive fevers of hepatic origin.

It is worth quoting from Kings American Dispensatory at length here:”As a tonic, it is useful in remittent, intermittent, and typhoid fevers, dyspepsia, and general debility. In intermittent fever, a strong infusion, as hot as can be comfortably swallowed, is administered for the purpose of vomiting freely. This is also attended with profuse diaphoresis, and sooner or later byan evacuation of the bowels. During the intermission, the cold infusion or extract is given every hour as a tonic and antiperiodic. The chill and succeeding fever is slight, the skin dry, and not, as a rule, followed by perspiration; there are pains in the bones, praecordial oppression, and great thirst. If, however, the case is one in which the fever lasts all day, a slight sweating may follow at night. Another indication in ague is vomiting, especially of much bile. Eupatorium given as above, or sometimes in small doses, may relieve headache of intermittant character when the intermissions are irregular. In epidemic influenza thewarm infusion is valuable as an emetic and diaphoretic, likewise in febrile diseases, catarrh, colds, with hoarseness and pleuritic pains, and wherever such effects are indicated. In infuenza it relieves the pain in the limbs and back. Its popular name “boneset” is derived from its well-known property of relieving the deep seated pains in the limbs which accompany this disorder, and colds and rheumatism often this pain is periosteal, and if neuralgic in character, or due to a febrile condition, Eupatorium will relieve it. But it is not a remedy for periosteal pain due to inflammation or to organic changes in the periosteum. On the other hand, when given until the patient sweats, and then continued in 5-drop doses of specific eupatorium it has relieved the severe nocturnal muscular and “bone pains” of syphilis. It is a remedy for the cough of the aged, that cough in which there is an abundance of secretion, but lack of power to expectorate. The cough of measles, common colds, of asthma, and hoarseness are also relieved by it. Unless given in excess it acts as a good tonic to the gastric functions, increasing the appetite and power of digestion. The stomach disorders of the inebriate are, in a measure corrected by the use of small, tonicdoses of Eupatorium.”

Combinations :

In the treatment of influenza it may be combined with Yarrow, Elder Flowers, Cayenne or Ginger. With Pleurisy Root and Elecampane in bronchial conditions.

Preparations & Dosage of Boneset:

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk as hot as possible. During fevers or the `flu it should be drunk every half hour.

Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Other uses:
my boneset fairy
Esoteric uses of Boneset:

Protection, exorcism and warding off evil spirits. Sprinkle an infusion of boneset around the home to rid it of evil and negativity. To curse an enemy, burn as an incense with a black candle inscribed with the name of the enemy (not recommended — remember the law of threes!)

The chemistry:

Constituents :

  • Sesquiterpene lactones ; eupafolin, euperfolitin, eufoliatin, eufoliatorin, euperfolide, eucannabinolide and helenalin
  • Immunostimulatory polysaccharides, mainly 4-0-methylglucuroxylans
  • Flavonoids; quercitin, kaempferol, hyperoside, astragalin, rutin, eupatorin& others
  • Miscellaneous: diterpenes – dendroidinic acid, hebenolide; sterols;volatile oil.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Eupatorium

Boneset, Gravel Root Cai DG [Expectorant constituents of Eupatorium fortunei]

Chung Yao Tung Pao 1983 Nov;8(6):30-1 (Published in Chinese))Gassinger CA Wunstel G Netter P [A controlled clinical trial for testing the efficacy of the homeopathic drug eupatorium perfoliatum D2 in the treatment of common cold (author’stransl)]

Klinishe Prufung zum Nachweis der therapeutischen Wirksamkeit deshomoopathischen Arzneimittels Eupatorium perfoliatum D 2 (Wasserhanf composite)bei der Diagnose “Grippaler Infekt”1.

Arzneimittelforschung 1981;31(4):732-6 (Published in German)Hall TB Jr Eupatorium perfoliatum. A plant with a history. Mo Med 1974Sep;71(9):527-8 Kupchan SM Sigel CW Hemingway RJ Knox JR Udayamurthy MS Tumor inhibitors. 33. Cytotoxic flavones from eupatorium species.

Tetrahedron 1969 Apr;25(8):1603-15Lexa A Fleurentin J Lehr PR Mortier F Pruvost M Pelt JM Choleretic and hepatoprotective properties of Eupatorium cannabinum in therat.

Planta Med 1989 Apr;55(2):127-32Malingre TM [Eupatorium cannabinum L., and old medicinal herb with new perspectives]

Eupatorium cannabinum L., een oud geneeskruid met nieuwe perspectieven.

Pharm Weekbl 1971 Sep 24;106(39):738-44 (Published in Dutch)Rao KV Alvarez FM Antibiotic principle of Eupatorium capillifolium. J Nat Prod 1981May-Jun;44(3):252-6 Triratana T Suwannuraks R Naengchomnong W Effect of Eupatorium odoratum on blood coagulation. J Med Assoc Thai 1991 May;74(5):283-7Woerdenbag HJ Eupatorium cannabinum L. A review emphasizing the sesquiterpene lactones and their biological activity.Pharm Weekbl [Sci] 1986 Oct 17;8(5):245-51