| 0

Herb: Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Other Names:    Agueweed, crosswort, eupatorium, feverwort, Indian sage, sweating plant, teasel, thoroughwort, vegetable antimony, wood boneset (13); Thoroughwort, Indian sage, feverwort  (57)    


Meridians/Organs/Body Parts affected: stomach, liver, intestines and circulation  (14)           

Parts used: dried aerial parts (9) ;  herb  (13);   tops  (14) ;  aerial parts (15);  herb, tops and leaves  (50)

Identification & Harvesting:    A perennial herb with a horizontal hairy rootstock.  Stems are rough-haired and grow to about 5 ft.  Leaves are opposite, 4-6 in. long, lanceolate, crenate, tapering to narrow point and fused at base.  They have shiny yellow points due to the resin glands, which are visible on the undersurface.  Numerous flower heads in terminal, large, slightly convex inflorescences.  They consist of 10-12 white, inconspicuous florets with bristly pappus whose hairs are arranged in a single row.  Fruit is a tufted achene.  Taste is astringent and persistently bitter.  Indigenous to eastern US.    (2)

Boneset is an indigenous perennial plant found in swampy areas and along stream banks in eastern North America. The rough, hairy stem  grows to a height of 1 to 5 feet from a horizontal, crooked rootstock. The leaves are rough, serrate, and taper to a long point. Terminal corymbs of numerous, white flowers appear in August and September. The fruit is a tufted achene. The plant has only a weak odor, but a very bitter taste (13); collect once the flowers open in August or September  (9)         

Leaves opposite, 4-6 inches long, lanceolate, tapering above to a narrow point, united at their base, crenate at margin, reticulated above, with minute, shining yellow resin dots beneath.  Tastes astringent and persistently bitter, slightly aromatic.    (57)

Active constituents:    flavonoids incl. eupatorin, astragalin, rutin, hyperoside;  sesquiterpene lactones incl. eupafolin, euperfolitin, eufoliatin, eufoliatorin, euperfolide;  immunostimulating polysaccharides (heteroxylans).    (2)

A bitter glycoside called eupatorin, volatile oil, gallic acid, a glucosidal tannin.    (9)

Actions:  antiphlogistic, diaphoretic, bitter, immunostimulant.  In vitro, the phagocytic action of granulocytes was increased  (2)

diaphoretic, stimulant; antipyretic, laxative  (14)    

…aperient, tonic, anti-spasmodic, relaxes mucous membranes   (9)

…cathartic, emetic, febrifuge   (13)

promotes sweating, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, laxative, antispasmodic,                expectorant, promotes bile flow.  (15)

Diaphoretic, tonic, febrifuge, expectorant, laxative.    (57)

Conditions and Uses:    Treats flu and fevers of all kinds (2)

Boneset is one of the best remedies for the relief of the associated symptoms associated with influenza. It will speedily relieve the aches and pains…and aid the body in dealing with any fever that’s present…may also be used to help clear the upper respiratory tract of mucous congestion. Its mild aperient activity will help clear the body of any buildup of waste and it will ease constipation. It can safely be used in any fever and also as a general cleansing agent. It may provide symptomatic aid in the treatment of muscular rheumatism.   (9)

The effect of boneset depends on the form it is taken. Taken cold, the infusion has tonic and mildly laxative effects. Taken warm, it is diaphoretic and emetic and can be used to break up a common cold, (also) for intermittent fever, and for the flu. The hot infusion is both emetic and cathartic.  (13) 

Indicated Uses:  Internal

                                                              Bronchitis: Infusion*, Powder*

                                                              Catarrh: Infusion*, Tincture*, Fluid Extract*

                                                              Fevers:  Infusion, Tincture, Fluid Extract

                                                              Influenza: Infusion, Tincture, Fluid Extract

                                                              Indigestion: Tincture,  Fluid Extract,  Infusion

                                                              Jaundice: Tincture*, Fluid Extract*, Infusion*

                                                              Night sweats: Tincture, Fluid Extract, Infusion

                                                              Skin diseases: Tincture*, Fluid Extract*, Infusion*

* Indicates that boneset is usually used in combination with other herbs when treating the indicated problem. (14)

For colds & influenza: Promotes sweating; reduces fever; expectorant; good for feverish colds and influenza with muscle pain/Take an infusion or tincture 3-4x daily/for feverish colds and influenza, combine with yarrow, elderflower, and peppermint.  (15) 

Boneset is one of our most popular herbs and is a very valuable remedy for many ailments. The cold infusion is tonic and aperient; the warm infusion diaphoretic and emetic…

for breaking up colds and fevers; also useful in the relief of dyspepsia, jaundice, fever and ague, and general debility of the system. Externally a fomentation of the leaves applied to the bowels is very efficient in inflammation, spasms and other painful affections.  (50)

A certain remedy in all cases of fever and flu.   In many cases no other medicine will be needed if given in moderate doses frequently.  Largely used by black people in southern states for this purpose as well as for its tonic effects.  Also recommended in catarrh and skin diseases.    (57)


In the treatment of influenza, combine with yarrow, elder flowers, cayenne or ginger  (9)

For feverish colds and influenza, combine with yarrow, elderflower, and peppermint.  (15) 

          BONESET (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Tincturing Process: 

FLOWERING HERB. Fresh plant tincture 1 oz herb: 2 oz alcohol   (11)

Dosage & Applications:  Infusion: Use 1 level tsp. herb with one cup boiling water; steep 

for 30 min. and strain. As a tonic, take cold, 1 tsp. 3-6x daily.

Tincture: Take 10-40 drops at a time.  (13)

Boneset is a specific for treating fevers. Use a warm infusions for fevers, flu and catarrh conditions. Drink four to five cups while in bed to encourage sweating. The cold infusion or tincture is a tonic. One to two tablespoons of the tincture added to hot water can be used for sweating therapy to break fevers. 

             Infusion: Steep 5 to 15 minutes. 3 oz. three times daily.

             Tincture: 10 to 40 drops three times daily

             Fluid Extract: 1/2 to 1 tsp. three times daily

             Powder: 4 to 10 #0 capsules (20 to 60 grains) three times daily.  (14)  

Infusion of 1 oz. to 1 pint of boiling water may be taken in wineglassful doses, hot or cold.  For colds and to produce perspiration it should be given hot, and as a tonic, cold.  Powdered herb, 10-20 grains.  Liquid extract, 1/2-1 drachm.    (57)

Precautions:  Possible sensitization through skin contact with the plant.  Can lead to enhanced outbreaks of sweat and diarrhea in therapeutic use.    (2)

High doses can cause vomiting.  (15)

Divination:      u    (48)

General Notes: 


(2)  PDR for Herbal Medicines (Medical Economics Co., 1998), p. 842

(9) The Herbal Handbook by David Hoffman, pgs 58-59

(11) Herbal Materia Medica (5th edition) by Michael Moore, pg. 14 

(13) The Herb Book by John Lust, pg. 131

(14) Natural Healing With Herbs by Humbart Santillo BS, MH, pgs 92-93

(15) The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, pgs. 134-35, 180

(48) The Rulership Book by Rex E. Bills, pg. 16

(50) The Practical Herbalist and Astrologer by Ira N. Shaw, pgs. 30-31

(57) Potter’s Cyclopaedia by R.C. Wren, F.L.S., pgs. 45-46