Eupatorium perfoliatum


Eupatorium perfoliatum


Names : Feverwort

Habitat : N. America

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

Part Used : Dried aerial parts

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.

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

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 by an evacuation of the bowels.

During the intermission, the cold infusion or extract is given every hour as a tonic and anti-periodic. The chill and succeeding fever is slight, the skin dry, and not, as a rule, followed by perspiration; there are pains in the bones, precordial 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 intermittent character when the intermissions are irregular. In epidemic influenza the warm 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 influenza 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 : Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk as hot as possible. During fevers or the `flu it should bedrunk every half hour. Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Eupatorium

Boneset, Gravel RootCai 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 inthe 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):527-8Kupchan SM Sigel CW Hemingway RJ Knox JR Udayamurthy MS Tumor inhibitors. 33. Cytotoxic flavones from eupatorium species.

Tetrahedron 1969 Apr;25(8):1603-15 Lexa 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):127-32 Malingre TM
[Eupatorium cannabinum L., and old medicinal herb with newperspectives]

Eupatorium cannabinum L., een oud geneeskruid met nieuweperspectieven.

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 Thai1991 May;74(5): 283-7 Woerdenbag HJ Eupatorium cannabinum L.A review emphasizing the sesquiterpene lactones and their biological activity.Pharm Weekbl [Sci] 1986 Oct 17;8(5):245-5

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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