Herbs & Botanicals
What is boneset? What is it used for?
Boneset is a particular subspecies of eupatorium (E. perfoliatum), a tall, thin, flowering plant found throughout North America.
In addition to boneset, it is known under a variety of names, including
feverwort, Indian sage and thoroughwort.
It is in the same botanical family
as echinacea and daisy, and has serrated green leaves and small, white
or yellow-white flowers. The flowers and other aerial parts are used for
Boneset has been traditionally used by Native Americans, who employed
boneset to treat a wide range of infections and fever-related conditions.
European settlers also used it to treat fevers, with some practitioners
claiming it was occasionally effective against malaria.
The active ingredients in boneset include sesquiterpene lactones, polysaccharides
and flavonoids. Test tube studies have found boneset extract to stimulate
the function of immune cells, which may explain its ability to combat
colds and minor infections. Boneset also raises body temperature, which
explains its use in fighting influenza. Some practitioners have used it
to clear upper respiratory infections and mucous-related congestion.
How much boneset should I take?
Traditionally, boneset is taken as a tea or tincture, with one cup of
boiling water added to 1-2 grams of boneset and being allowed to steep
for 10-15 minutes. Three cups a day may be drunk; however, the tea is
quite bitter. As a tincture, 1-4 millileters can be taken three times
What forms of boneset are available?
Dried boneset is available, which is used to make boneset tea. It is
also available in extract and tincture forms.
What can happen if I don't get enough boneset?
What can happen if I take too much? Are there any side-effects I should
be aware of?
Some people may experience episodes of nausea or vomiting when using
boneset; this is more likely to occur when using fresh plant instead of
a dried version. Patients with liver disease should avoid boneset, as
should women who are pregnant or lactating. As boneset can cause an increase
in body temperature, it should not be used by people who have a high (102
degrees or higher) fever. Boneset should not be used consistently for
more than six months.
As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with boneset.
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