… that Boneset was one of most widely used medicinal plants of early America and has been used well into the 21st century to treat a variety of ailments…particularly influenza and fever?
The Western world has gathered much of its knowledge of medicinal plants and herbs from Native Americans, the foremost experts on herbology. Herbalists generally agree that if the Native Americans have certified a plant, then its efficacy is undeniable.
One such standout herb is boneset (botanical name: Eupatorium perfoliatum). Long before colonial times, the Native Americans used boneset in the form of poultices and plasters to treat influenza and its associated aches and pains, and to heal broken bones. One Native American named Joe Pye became so renowned for using boneset to cure typhoid during colonial times that the herb was nicknamed “Joe Pye weed.”
Boneset (known also as augue weed, Indian sage, thoroughwort, sweating plant, feverwort, crosswort and wild sage to name just a few) has spanned the globe as a therapeutic remedy for a variety of ailments. The Chinese use boneset to cure bad breath, the common cold, heat stroke, and tightness of chest. In the early 19th century it was registered as an official medicine in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia and mid-19th century drugstores typically carried boneset herb leaves. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that boneset was popularized in tea and tincture form, making it more readily available and easily consumed.
Cure Almost Any Instance of Inflammation or Infection
Recent research suggests that the remarkable immune-boosting, anti-bacterial, and analgestic properties of boneset can cure just about every instance of inflammation or infection. It increases resistance to infections by loosening phlegm, and treats digestive disorders by acting as a laxative. Boneset has even shown promise for cancer prevention, because its flavonoids help fight against tumors.
Acclaimed herbalist/naturopath Dr. John Christopher, and prominent herbalist Jethro Kloss, include boneset in their treatment plans for influenza. Mark Pedersen, a research chemist who specializes in herbal chemistry, says that boneset is one of the most versatile plants on Earth.
Perhaps it’s most noteworthy use is as a fever-reducer. It helps alleviate aches and pains by reducing muscle spasms and tension. It also encourages sweating by dilating the blood vessels—thereby breaking the fever.
Supplementing with Boneset
If taking boneset for colds, influenza or fever, experts recommend 1 to 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) of the herb. Let steep for no longer than 15 minutes, and drink 3 cups a day to reduce fever.
If using boneset as a laxative, experts recommend a tincture form at a dose of 4 ml (3/4 teaspoon) 3 times a day, a half hour before eating.
Because herbs are so potent, they can be hazardous to your health if not taken with caution. It is imperative that you do not overdose on boneset, as it contains minute amounts of harmful pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are possibly toxic to your liver. Experts advise that no one should use boneset more than 6 months at a time, and pregnant or breast-feeding women, as well as those diagnosed with liver disease, should avoid supplementing with boneset entirely.
Beware of Boneset’s Imposter
There is another herb that also goes by the name boneset—comfrey, which should not be consumed, as it has been deemed toxic and carcinogenic when taken internally. The alkaloids in comfrey have recently been shown to cause liver damage. A simple way to spot the difference between these two perennial flowering plants is to check their botanical names. Traditional boneset goes by the pseudonym Eupatorium perfoliatum, whereas comfrey’s botanical name is Symphytum officinal.
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