Boneset

Common-Boneset by Axie Breen Photography

This plant is slightly furry with purple leaves which appear fused together around the stem. It grows in low wet areas. (I shot this from the boardwalk at Lake Waban.) It’s in the sunflower family! Native people used it to break fevers by heavy sweating, and it was a very commonly used medicinal plant in the 19th century for all kinds of ailments. The latin name perfoliatum comes from the way the stem appears to perforate the leaves. Native.

Common Boneset, Thoroughwort, Agueweed, Feverwort (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

4 thoughts on “Boneset

  1. The leaves look rather thick and leathery, kind of like a desert plant might look to preserve water. Was it used for a medicinal tea?

    • hm, not thick and leathery, more crinkly and velvety.

      Yes it was used as a medicinal tea, and in fact, you can still buy boneset herb tea, on such a mainstream place as Amazon, where it is described as a treatment for “dengue fever, arthritis, certain infectious diseases, migraine, intestinal worms, and diarrhea.” (But not actually for setting bones. The name apparently is related to its use as a treatment for dengue fever, also known as “breakbone.”)

      I also read that in the 19th century, it was the most widely used medicinal herb in the US. And now, we’ve hardly heard of it. A few generations and it’s gone!

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