Boneset is one of the best remedies when it comes to preventing the influenza, stopping influenza from taking hold when you have been exposed, reducing the severity of influenza, and, last but not least, speeding recovery from influenza.
We have not had an influenza epidemic in over sixty years which means we are over due for one. History reveals global epidemics have always occurred more frequently than this. I say get ready because when there is a real epidemic, lots of people are going to die. Boneset should be kept in the ready should a flu epidemic start ripping around the globe.
If you want to know more about using boneset in times of Influenza, read on. What follows is a chapter from one of my books, a chapter from my PhD thesis, and lastly a whole bunch of quotes from 19th doctors……all about boneset!
Chapter from Backyard Medicine Chest
Chapter from my PhD Thesis
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
Chapter from Backyard Medicine Chest
While we have not seen a real influenza epidemic in a long time, when they have happened in the past, they were potentially deadly. Believe it or not books have been written on the spread of flu around the globe and the havoc they wrecked.
One of the first recorded epidemics was one that raged among the greek soldiers at the siege of syracuse , 395, bc. There were epidemics of flu in 827,888,927, and 996 and many people died in them. It seems another big epidemic swept Italy , germany , and england in December, 1173. There we additional epidemics in the winters of 1293,1323,and 1387. Another epidemic swept through spain , italy , hungary , germany , france and then onto england in 1510.
A major influenza outbreak in the twenties of this century left so many dead that there were bodies stacked in great heaps outside the White House in Washington , DC . The flu sweeps across villages, regions, and countries due to its infectious nature, it is passed from on person to the next with a simple exhalation.
A doctor writing during the last epidemic in America said this of it, “Its force is irresistible, and it spares neither age, sex, nor condition. The millionaire and the pauper stand helpless before this Nemesis. Fortunately, unless severe complications arise or the treatment be too heroic, the mortality is small.”
The flu can make you feel like you are dying but the way it actually kills is this. Secondary infections. What kills people is the secondary illnesses that follow on from the flu. For this reason the elderly, the young, and the infirmed can be in big trouble if they come down with it. When peoples bodies aren’t strong secondary infections like pneumonia can set it once the flu has taken its toll and then its curtains. Credit where credit is due, the advent of anti-biotics and their ability to stop infection is the reason flu doesn’t kill people as it once did. Central heating and proper nutrition also has a lot to do with the fact flu doesn’t usually turn into pneumonia very often. A hundred years ago if you got sick in the winter time it was likely you wouldn’t make it through the winter.
Beyond any shadow of a doubt the easiest way to deal with the flu is to avoid getting it in the first place. If you speak to people about when they came down with flu you will find time and time again it sank its claws in when the person was run down and tired. The flu bug has eagle eyes for people in a lowered state and when opportunity knocks it jumps in for the kill. Take care of yourself, sleep and eat right, and you can avoid getting the flu for a long time.
Much like today, people in the past ere quite interested in medicines that could move the flu on as quickly as possible. In 1993 Americans spent several billion dollars on flu preparations. In the days when a touch of the flu could mean permanent rest for the patient people were quite keen on finding something that could make a difference. At that time the number one herbal medicine for treating the flu was a plant called boneset, Eupatorium perfoliatum. The plant is a native American one and it is from the American frontier that its powers were first extolled,
“There is probably no plant in American domestic practice that has more extensive or frequent use than boneset. The attic, or woodshed, of almost every country farm house has its bunch of dried herb hanging, tops downward from the rafters during the whole year, ready for immediate use should some member of the family, or that of a neighbor, be taken with a cold… the use of a hot infusion of the tips and leaves to produce diaphoresis, was handed down to the early settlers of this country by the aborigines, who called it by name that which is equivalent to ague-weed.” Millspaugh, 1892. American Medicinal Plants.
The plant gets its name directly from its use in treating the flu. One of the first symptoms of the flu is aching bones-hence the old fashioned name for the illness, break bone fever. People found that using this plant led to bone-setting or the end of the aches and pains associated with the flu. We are looking for something that will end the symptoms we are suffering from and boneset is likely to help you out with this aim.
So what happened? Where has boneset gone? If you ask most Americans today what boneset is they couldn’t pick it out of a field if they had a gun pointed to their heads, let alone having some hanging from their rafters.One of the most powerful plants for treating the flu can be found along most wet places in america and it simply has been forgotten. Around the globe industrialization has led people from the land to the city and in this movement people traded in the medicines they knew in the woods for those they could find in the pharmacy. That is of course until now.
Boneset is one of the best plants in the medicine cabinet to pull out when the respiratory flu sets in, its power to relieve the symptoms associated with the unpleasant illness are unparrelled. It grows wild in many places, most of us walk right past it with no idea what it might be used for. Not so in earlier days. Doctors prior to the age of prescription pad kept lots of boneset in the pharmacy for the flu season. Here is a list of what the Eclectic physicians of America used boneset to treat;
influenza, constipation, rheumatism, influenzal colds, fevers, poor digestion, night sweats, achy bones, pulmonary inflammation and congestion, cough, chest soreness, post influenzal gastric irritation, biliousness, skin diseases, eruptive skin diseases, remittent, intermittent, and typhoid fevers, general debility, headache, hoarseness. This one might be called a medicine chest in its own right. Almost all of the symptoms of flu are treated with this plant, particularly fever. As the 1894 edition of the Household Guide Toronto says, ” This is a good remedy for malarial disease, chills, fevers, and is also a tonic.” The plant has the ability to end fever and the chills that often attend them.
Generally people get the flu when they are run down and there bodies are unable to fight off the bug. The problem with this is that you body has to fight off the flu just when its resistance is at its lowest point. What generally happens is that because of this lowered resistance the flu turns into a secondary infection. When you get the flu and congestion develops in the sinuses, because of the lowered resistance the sinuses become infected. So on top of having the flu, you end up with a sinus infection.
Another favorite of the electics, one physician couldn’t keep his mouth shut about the stuff. “It is one of the best remedies for epidemic influenza or laGrippe. Use it whenever an emetic is needed, and give it as directed for chronic ague. It overcomes the aching in the back and limbs and improves the condition of the skin. it is a very good drug in the treatment of pneumonia in the later stages, It is a good remedy in cough. For this purpose, use eupatrium one ounce, pour upon it water one pint and boil, strain, and add enough water to give a pint of the decoction. To this add sugar two pounds. This is agreeable to the stomach, relieves, cough, and irritation of the mucous membranes, and helps the digestive process. It receives the cough of measles, asthma, and that cough so peculiar to old people. It is a remedy for colds, with pain in the chest, roughness of voice, and general muscular aching. Eupatorium may be used for its direct tonic influence on the stomach. Give it for loss of appetite and it will restore tone and increase the desire for food. As a tonic give from a teaspoonful to a tablespoon of infusion. or from one to five drops of specific eupatorium.” Harvey felter md. 1901
Boneset is an exciting plant to use when you have the flu as it is also a tonic plant, one that gently stimulates the body back to health. It will relieve the symptoms of the flu and at the same time work with the bodies immune system and make certain the flu doesn’t lead into secondary illnesses. The plant contains several interesting polysacharides that boost the immune system which partly explains bonesets boosting ability.
You may have noticed that whereas ten years ago you got the flu and it lasted for a week, start to finish. Today, you get the flu and you can be out of action for nearly a month. There are two schools of thought as to why this is, the first is that the flu strains are getting stronger. The second is that people are running themselves ragged today and their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight it off. In either case bonesets ability to strengthen the body will make sure your flu only lasts a week.
“Common in swamps , marshes and near streams…where it appears to have been stationed by the benevolence of nature , where ever men are liable to local fever…the whole plants, roots, stems, leaves, are intensely bitter , but not astringent, It was one of the most powerful remedies of the native tribes for fevers, and consumption. It has been introduced extensively into practice all over the country and inserted in all our medical works. It acts powerfully on the skin and removes obstinate cutaneous diseases.. this plant may be so managed as to act as a tonic, sudorific, laxative or an emetic, as required. No other tonic of equal activity can be exhibited in fevers, with less danger of increasing the excitement or producing congestion, the only objection to its general use is its nauseous and disagreeable taste. Chapman relates that it cured the kind of influenza called breakbone fever, acting as a diaphoretic, whence it popular name, boneset came. Eberle says that catarrhal fevers may be removed by drinking a weak infusion of it going to bed. It is particularly useful in indigestion of people, and may be used as an axillar to other tonics and emetics in all cases.” 1828 Raffinesque.
Boneset is indigenous to the temperate regions of the eastern United States , the settlers learned of it from the native americans early on. Its a perennial plant, coming up each year from the same roots. It tends to be found in groves, usually near the edge of a woods. The tribes familiar with it use it to treat all infectious illnesses, colds, fevers, and debilitated conditions. Colonial home makers gathered it from the woods and dried in the eaves of the root to have on hand when ever any one came down with the flu. The early medical community knew it and swore by it, terming it a bitter tonic. One drug supply company made this statement about it in 1917, ” One of the most valuable remedies for breaking up colds and fevers, and efficient for dyspepsia, jaundice, fever, ague and general debility of the system.”
The plant contains sesquiterne lactones, eupafolin, euperfolitin, eufoliatorin, euperfolide, eucannabinolide, and helenalin; polysacharides including 4-o-methylglucuroxylan, flavanoids including quercetin, kaempferol, hyperoside, astragalin, rutin, eupatorin, diterpenes, triterpenes, dendroidinic acid, hebenolide, sterols, resin, and volatile oils. The polysacharides have been shown to improve the functioning of the immune system and the sesquiterpene lactones and flavones have been proven to inhibit tumor formation. The exact manner in which boneset perks up the flu sufferer is yet unknown, time will surely reveal what element does the trick.
The exciting feature with the flu buster is you needn’t let your flu develop into a full blown case- as soon as the first signs show themselves take yourself to bed and stay there drinking hot cups of boneset tea until it passes. With rest, lots of good live food, and boneset you can skip the pleasure of a complete case of the flu, and certainly any secondary infections. When you have the flu stay on boneset for one week beyond when all the symptoms have disappeared. If you dont catch the flu early enough to stop its progression or if your flu has progressed, continue taking boneset and if you need to, look at the next herbs in this book to treat symptoms such as cough, congestion, etc.
The entire plant, everything above ground should be chopped down just as the flowers begin to break bud, this will vary depending on where in the world you are growing the boneset. To use this one you need to make an infusion using 2 teaspoons of the herb in one cup of water. Pour boiling water over the herb and let stand 10 minutes. When you have the flu you can drink this every half hour until the symptoms subside.
Getting your supply:
1. Buy the dried herb from a health food store.
2. With the help of a field guide, collect it from the wild in the early summer and dry in the sun.
3. Grow it yourself. Boneset is an easy plant to grow and being perennial you only have to plant it once and you will have a lifetime supply. Mail order herb nurseries will provide you with your starter plants and the only thing to be aware of is the plant likes full sun and takes rich soil. It tends to grow on the edge of woods in meadows where the soil is filled with decomposed leaves and organic matter so it likes its soil on the robust side. Once plant the starter plant will quickly grow and spread into a mound of boneset. The part we use is the leaves and they should be collected before the flowers appear. This can be done by picking the leaves off the plant or simply cutting the stalks off and stripping the leaves at a later date. The old fashioned method for curing boneset was to hang it in the attic until completely dry and this will do today as well. You can dry it anywhere so long as the location is dry, moist basements are to be avoided. Once the plant is dry strip the leaves off and store in brown paper bags.
Chapter from my PhD Thesis
Part Used: recently dried herb
Chemical Constituents: Significant phytochemicals include eucannabinolide, eufoliatin, eufoliatorin, eupafolin, eupatroin, euperfolide, euperfolin, and euperfolitin. (13)
The drug was popular amongst the Native Americans before and after the arrival of the Colonials. The Mohegan, Chippewa, Menomini, Meskwaki, Seneca, Iroquois are known to have used the drug. (13) The drug passed into Colonial use early in American history and was mentioned by Schopf in 1785 and by Barton in 1789. Medical authorities including Thacher, Bigelow, Chapman, Raffinesque and Zollickoffer spoke highly of the drug. In 1814 a Dr. Anderson published an entire treatise on the medicinal applications of Eupatorium perfolatum.
Raffinesque wrote that it was the Native Americans most powerful remedy for fever, he considered the drug to be febrifuge, tonic, sudorific, and laxative, and recommended it in fevers, influenza (break bone fever), catarrhal fevers, and obstinate skin conditions. The drug was in use by the American medical community for 100 years when the first American pharmacopoeia was printed and was official in every edition of the USP from 1820 through 1910. (11)
Eclectic uses (1–11)
Bitter, astringent, tonic, alterative, stimulating tonic, aperient, diaphoretic, emetic, antiperiodic, expectorant, increases functional activity of the skin and kidneys, increases circulation, stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, improves all vegetative function.
“Pulse full and large, the current exhibiting little waves; skin full and hot with a tendency to become moist, even during the progress of fever, cough, embarrassed breathing, and pain the chest; urine turbid and urination frequent; deep-seated aching pains in muscles and periosteum.” (7)
General debility, epidemic influenza, febrile diseases, convalescence from acute disease, influenza with pain in the back or limbs, bone aches associated with infectious disease and rheumatism, periosteal pain associated with febrile conditions, severe nocturnal muscular and bone pains of syphilis, inflammatory states, gastric, intestinal, post-nasal, bronchial or vesical catarrhal disorders, exanthemata (small pox, chicken pox, measles), masked intermittent fever (sluggishness of every function, irregular occurrence of chill and fever, little perspiration, and severe aching bones), malaria, malaria with intermittent headache or severe irregular brow ache, fever, remittent, intermittent, typhoid fevers.
Dyspepsia, spasms, painful affections, poor appetite and power of digestion, stomach disorders of alcoholics, stomach disorders of nervous origin.
Rheumatism, periosteal pain associated with febrile conditions.
Headache of intermittent character when the intermissions are irregular, neurasthenia of long-standing, intractable hiccough.
Catarrh, colds, influenza, debility cough, asthma, hoarseness, pleuritic pain, pneumonia, cough of the aged person, cough with abundance of secretion but lack of power to expectorate, cough of measles.
The drug from Selye’s perspective
State of Resistance
The drug was used to raise resistance to feverish conditions, typhoid fever, epidemic influenza, catarrh, colds, pneumonia, measles, small pox, chicken pox, malaria, syphilis, debility due to acute disease, and rheumatism.
State of Exhaustion
The drug was used when resistance could no longer be maintained against a variety of infectious diseases, some acute (influenza) and some chronic (terminal syphilis and malaria) in nature. Manifestations of State of Exhaustion treated with the drug included stomach ulceration, mucous membrane abnormalities, temperature abnormalities, mucous membrane break down, and tendency to ulceration, neurological deficits, general debility, debility cough, and cutaneous disease.
From Selye’s’ perspective, the drug was used to augment the GAS, which suggests it increases adaptation energy. Evidence to this effect includes the following. The drug was used to raise resistance to acute infection (influenza) and chronic infection (malaria, syphilis, etc.). It was used to increase resistance to autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis). It was used when resistance failed and State of Exhaustion set in. Lastly, it was used when acute or chronic disease depleted vital energy and physiological functions were thereby diminished or perverted. Digestive, respiratory, circulatory, nervous, and urinary function were all said to be augmented with its administration.
Brekhman’s Adaptogen Criterion
An adaptogen should be innocuous and cause minimal disorders in the physiological functions of an organism.
The drug is considered innocuous in both Eclectic and contemporary literature. (1–12)
The action of an adaptogen should be non-specific i.e. it should increase resistance to adverse influences of a wide range of factors of physical, chemical, and biological nature.
Clinically, the drug was used to increase resistance to acute and chronic infectious disease, autoimmune disease, and alcohol abuse. (1–12)
Experimentally, compounds found in the drug have been shown to increase resistance to bacterial, viral (influenza), fungal, protozoan (malaria), parasite, and plasmodium infection indirectly through immune stimulation and directly through antibiotic activity. They have been shown to increase resistance cancer, tumours, and free radical damage. (13)
An adaptogen may possess normalising action irrespective of the direction of the foregoing pathological changes.
Clinically, the drug was used to normalise mucous membrane and membrane permeability function throughout the body. It was used to normalise both hypo immune function (inclination to infection) and autoimmune function (rheumatoid arthritis). It was used to normalise the entire range of physiological abnormalities associated with State of Exhaustion . (1–12)
Experimentally, compounds found in the drug have been shown to normalise aberrant physiological functions including immune suppression, platelet stickiness, capillary fragility, abnormal inflammation, autoimmune disease, hyperlipidemia, poor urine flow, and a tendency to ulceration. (13)
The drug exhibits properties consistent with Brekhman’s definition of an adaptogen. It is innocuous, it raises resistance to a wide range of biological threats, and it normalises aberrant physiological function.
In the last century, Eupatorium perfolatum was the domestic and professional solution to the cough and cold season. It was used to prevent and treat influenza and the less severe common cold. It was also used to prevent influenza or a cold from turning into bronchitis or pneumonia. The Eclectics knew that when a person was battling one infection, they were vulnerable to a second infection. It was precisely in these moments that they used the drug. This represents a unique Eclectic use of the drug.
A second unique Eclectic use of the drug was when constitutional collapse was either imminent or in place. When resistance to a severe acute infection, or chronic infection could no longer be maintained, and the body was giving way, the Eclectics used this drug. The Eclectics contribution to the collective knowledge of Eupatorium perfolatum lies in their discovery of its utility in State of Exhaustion .
Potential Clinical Applications
The drug was used to raise resistance to seasonal illnesses like coughs, colds, and influenza. The drug may have a role in preventing these illnesses in those vulnerable to such infections, as an example, in the elderly, the ill, and the asthmatic.
• Eupatorium and its effects on the GAS. The drug should be tested out in the animal model to determine its specific effects on the GAS.
• Eupatorium perfolatum and fibre-myalgia. The drug was used to correct the painful Musculoskeletal symptoms associated with acute and chronic disease. More specifically, the bone pains associated with influenza and syphilis. Lastly, the drug was used to remedy a condition that appears similar to what is now being called fibre-myalgia. The drugs’ role in increasing resistance to fibre myalgia should be examined.
• Eupatorium and resistant strains of malaria. The drug was used to treat Cinchona rubra (quinine) resistant forms of malaria. Experimentally, the drug has been shown to increase immune function and have a direct anti-malarial effect. Its role in raising resistance to resistant forms of malaria should be examined.
• Eupatorium perfolatum and epidemic influenza. At the moment there is very little available to prevent Influenza. Vaccination is not a realistic solution as the virus rapidly mutates. By the time a vaccine has been manufactured, the virus has changed to the point the vaccine is ineffective. Eupatorium perfolatum was used to raise resistance to influenza for hundreds of years and it has been shown to have an antiviral effect. Its role in raising resistance to influenza should be examined.
The drug is available in the wild and is readily grown.
• Beach, Wooster . A Medical and Botanical Dictionary. Baker and Scribner. New York . 1848. P. 82.
• King, John. The American Eclectic Dispensatory. Moore , Wilstach, and Keys. Cincinnati . 1854. P. 454.
• Dyer, D. The Eclectic Family Physician A scientific System of Medicine on Vegetable Principles Designed for Families. 1855.
• Scudder, J. M. Specific Medication and Specific Medicines. Revised. Fifth Edition. Wilstach, Baldwin and Company. Cincinnati . 1874. P. 134.
• Scudder, J. M. The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics. Published by the Author. Cincinnati . 1883. P. 452.
• Watkins, Lyman. An Eclectic Compendium of The Practice of Medicine. John M.Scudder’s Sons. Cincinnati . 1895. P. 435.
• Felter, Harvey Wickes and Lloyd, John Uri. Kings’ American Dispensatory. Volume one and Volume two. Ohio Valley Company. Cincinnati . 1898. P. 738.
• Lloyd, JU. History of the Vegetable Drugs of the Pharmacopoeia of the United States . Bulletin number 18: pharmacy number 4. 1911. P. 37.
• Fyfe, John William. Pocket Essentials of Modern Materia Medica and Therapeutics. The Scudder Brothers Company. 1903. P. 116.
• Ellingwood, Finley. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics, and Pharmacognosy. Ellingwood’s Therapeutist. Chicago . 1919. P. 269.
• Lloyd, John Uri. Origin and History of all the Pharmacopeial Vegetable Drugs, Chemicals and Preparations. Volume 1: Vegetable Drugs. The Caxton Press. Cincinnati . 1921. P. 137.
• Lloyd Brothers. Dose book of Specific Medicine. Lloyd Brothers. Cincinnati . 1907 P. 128.
• Dr. Dukes Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Agricultural Research Service. USDA.
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
A favorite and well known remedy with the aborigines is the E.P. its taste is intensely bitter, with a slight astringency, but no acrimony. The natives administer it with food effect in fever, and as a common drink in acute rheumatism, pouring a quat of boiling water on two drachms of leaves, drinking about three ounces three times a day.
1854: JOHN KING – EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATUM – BONESET
Properties and Uses – This is a very valuable medicinal agent. The cold infusion, or extract, is tonic and aperient; the warm infusion, diaphoretic and emetic. As a tonic, it is useful in remittent, intermittent and typhoid fevers, dyspepsia and general debility; and combined with bitartrate of potassa and camphor, the powdered leaves have been serviceable in some forms of cutaneous disease. In intermittent fever a strong infusion, as hot as can be comfortably swallowed, is adminstered, for the purpose of vomitting 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 antiperiodic. In epidemic influenza the warm infusion is valuable as an emetic and diaphoretic, likewise in febrile diseases, catarrh, colds, and wherever such effects are indicated. The warm infusion is also adminstered to promote the operation of other emetics. Externally, used alone or in combination with hops or tansy, etc, a fomentation of the leaves applied to the bowels have been useful in inflammation, spasms, and painful affections. Dose of the powder, from ten to twenty grains; of the extract, from two to four grains; of the infusion, from tow to four fluidounces.
1855; Dyer (Vegetable Principles) – EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATAM
Taken cold it is a tonic, warm it is a diaphoretic, and in large doses it vomits and purges. Good for dyspepsia, debility cough and asthma, etc.
1874: J.M. Scudder
Preparation – Prepare a tincture from the recently dried herb in the proportion of 3viij. to proof spirit Oj. Dose from gtts. v. to 3j.
The Eupatorium increases functional activity of the skin, and to a less extent, secretion from the kidneys. It also influences the circulation, to a slight extent, and does well combined with the sedatives.
In quite small doses it stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, and improves all the vegetative function. It is not an active remedy, and too much must not be expected from it; yet, in many cases, it may well supplant costly foreign drugs.
1876: Canadian Pharmacy
It is said to have been prescribed with advantage in rheumatism, typhoid pneumonia, catarrhs, dropsy and influenza. Thoroughwort is used by many physicians, and is considered the very best of the indigenous antiperiodics as a substitute for quinine.
1883: Scudder: (tonic)
(The plant Eupatorium Perfoliatum – U.S. )
Preparation – Tincture of Eupatorium.
Dose – From the fraction of a drop to half a drachm.
Therapeutic Action – Eupatorium is tonic, diaphoretic, emetic, aperient, and expectorant. It may be so administered as to fulfill a variety of important indications in the treatment of disease, according to the dose and mode of administration; for this reason it is somewhat difficult to say which of its properties is most prominent, and under what class of agents it should be described. Believing it to be more frequently used as a tonic, we shall attach it to that class of agents.
Eupatorium is a mild, simple, valuable bitter, and may be employed in all cases where the simple tonics are indicated. Administered along, or associated with other tonics, aromatics, or stimulants, it answers a valuable purpose in the convalescent forms of acute diseases. The same may be said of it in dyspepsia, and almost all chronic diseases; as a general tonic, exhibited in the form of powder or small doses of a cold infusion, it answers an admirable purpose.
1895: Watkins: EUPATORIUM PER, SP MED
Skin hot and moist, feeling of oppression in chest, dyspnoea,full pulse.
Full pulse, cough, hoarseness, dyspnoea, pain in chest, skin hot and moist, frequent urination, urine turbid. Five to twenty drops in four ounces of water; teaspoonful every two hours.
1909: Felter and Lloyd: EUPATORIUM (U.S.P.) – EUPATORIUM
History and Description – This is a well-known plant, growing in low grounds and on the borders of swamps, streams, etc., throughout the United States , flowering in August and September. The tops and leaves are the parts used. Alcohol or boiling water extracts its medicinal properties. Boneset is officially described as follows: “Leaves opposite, united at the base, lanceolate, from 10 to 15 Cm. (4 to 6 inches) long, tapering, crenately serrate, rugosely veined, rough above, downy and resinous-dotted beneath; flower-heads corymbed, numerous, with an oblong involucre of lance-linear scales, and with from 10 to 15 white florets, having a bristly pappus in a single row; odor weak and aromatic, taste astringent and bitter” – (U.S.P.).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage – This is a very valuable medicinal agent. The cold infusion, or extract is tonic and aperient; the warm infusion diaphoretic and emetic. As a tonic, it is useful in remittent, intermittent, and typhoid fevers, dyspepsia, and general debility; and combined with bitartrate of potassium and camphor, the powdered leaves have been serviceable in some forms of cutaneous disease. 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 an dantiperiodic. It is not well adapted to ordinary cases of ague which may be cured with quinine, but is more particularly useful in the irregular cases which that drug does not seem to reach. The chill and succeeding fever is slight, the skin dry, and not, as a rule, followed by perspiration; there are “pains in the bones, praecordial 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” (Locke). 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 deepseated 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. In pneumonia, if an emetic is indicated in the early stage, this agent is as efficient as any that may be used; but it is of greater value in the latter stage when given as a syrup. This is kindly received by the stomach, improves digestion, and allays the irritable cough. 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, tonic doses of eupatorium. Although slightly stimulant, it is of service in most inflammatory states, administered according to the indications given below. The warm infusion may be administered to promote the operation of other emetics. Externally, used along or in combination with hops or tansy, etc., a fomentation of the leaves applied to the bowels has been useful in inflammation, spasms, and painful affections. Dose of the powder, from 10 to 20 grains; of the extract, from 2 to 4 grains; of the infusion, from 2 to 4 fluid ounces; of the syrup (1 pint of the decoction of 1 ounce of the herb sweetened with 2 pounds of white sugar), 1 to 4 drachms; specific eupatorium, 1 to 60 drops. As an emetic administer the warm infusion freely.
Specific Indications and Uses – Pulse full and large, the current exhibiting little waves; skin full and hot with a tendency to become moist, even during the progress of fever, cough, embarrassed breathing, and pain the the chest; urine turbid and urination frequent; deep-seated aching pains in muscles and periosteum.
Deep seated soreness of the muscles of the back and limbs; sweating during fever, severe cough associated with deep seated muscular soreness.
This agent is frequently indicated in rheumatism,inflammations, remittent, intermittent and other fevers.
Eupatorium perfoliatum is tonic,diaphoretic,alterat ive, resolvent and laxative. In large doses it is emetic and cathartic.
Eupatorium perfoliatum, boneset, or thoroughwort, is indigenous to the temperate regions of the Eastern United States , and in the form of an infusion or tea was very popular with the settlers; being found in every well-regulated household. As a bitter tonic, its uses became known to the early members of the American medical profession, and was handed therefrom to physicians of the present day. Its American history is probably paralleled by the record of this herb inother countries.
1919: Ellingwood – EUPATORIUM, EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATUM
Synonyms – Boneset, Ague Weed.
Constituents – Eupatorin, volatile oil, resin, tannin, wax, gum.
Preparations – Extractum Eupatoriae Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Eupatorium. Dose, from ten to sixty minims.
Specific Medicine Eupatorium. Dose, from five to thirty minims.
Physiological Action – Stimulating tonic, aperient, diaphoretic, emetic, antiperiodic.
The action of this agent upon the stomach is somewhat unique, differing in some important particulars from that of other stomach tonics.
Therapy – It is valuable in catarrhal disorders of whatever nature, whether gastric, intestinal, post-nasal, bronchial or vesical. It has an undoubted soothing influence upon the nervous system, and is of much value in stomach disorders of nervous origin. In a case of neurasthenia of long standing, complicated with emphysema, the patient, an extremely nervous woman, persistently regurgitated all the food she took. There was no nausea, no vomiting; the food simply came back after it was swallowed. Fifteen drops of the fluid extract of boneset every two hours was given. The second day the patient was relieved, and there was no return of the disorder after the fifth day, for several months, when it recurred for a short time, but was promptly relieved by the same medicine.
In a case of intractable hiccough in an old man, when every possible remedy had failed and death seemed inevitable, boneset, fifteen drops in an infusion of capsicum, every hour, produced a permanent cure.
It is a typical diaphoretic, although not powerful in its action. In intrmittent fever of the severest types, in remittent fever, in continued fevers of any type, and in the exanthemata, given in hot infusion in the early stages, it produces delightful results.
Dr. Locke says the remedy is specific in masked intermittent fever, in which there is sluggishness of every function and irregular occurrence of chill and fever, the fever followed with but little reaction, almost no perspiration, but with severe aching in the bones. He uses the infusion, made by steeping one ounce of the foliage of the plant in a quart of boiling water. Of this a half teacupful is given every fifteen minutes until the patient vomits thoroughly. He then puts the patient to bed and continues the remedy in smaller doses at lengthened intervals until the patient has perspired for two or three hours, when the medicine is discontinued and tonics are then given.
In conditions due to malaria, where there is intermittent headache, or severe irregular browache, where many of the symptoms of ague are present, this remedy takes precedence over every other.
EUPATORIUM (Eupatorium, Thoroughwort, “Boneset.”)
Rejected from 1910 U.S.P. Official in every other edition, from 1820.
Eupatorium perfoliatum, boneset or thoroughwort, is indigenous to the temperature regions of the Eastern United States . In the form of an infusion or tea, it was very popular with the settlers, by whom it was employed “in every well-regulated household.” As a bitter tonic, its uses became known to the early members of the American medical profession, its praises being handed therefrom to physicians of the present day. In this connection it may be stated that over one hundred years before there was in print an American materia medica, eupatorium was a favorite remedy in the practice of American physicians. The first work in covers touching American medicinal plants, – Schopf, 1785 (582), – gave it a setting. This was followed (1789) by Professor B. S. Barton (43), of the University of Pennsylvania , in his Collections of American Remedial Agents. Medical authorities such as Thacher, Bigelow, Chapman, Rafinesque and Zollickoffer pronounced the highest encomiums on the value of eupatorium. Its principal field of usefulness was in colds an dinfluenza, Dr. Anderson, of New York , issuing in 1814 a special treatise on the subject of this drug and its uses. So good an authority as Dr. Hosack testified to its value in intermittents, but its chief application was as an influenza remedy. Let us quote from the celebrated botanical explorer, Pursh (528), concerning its early record in that direction:
“The whole plant is exceedingly bitter, and has been used for ages past by the natives and inhabitants in intermittent fevers … I have stated a case of its efficacy in those diseases in a letter to William Royston, Esq., who inserted it in the Medical and Physical Journal, in which I stated the benefits derived from this plant, by myself and others during my stay in the neighborhood of Lake Ontariou, when both the influenza and lake fever (similar to the yellow fever) were raging among the inhabitants.” – Pursh’s Flora Americanae Septentrionalis, 1914.
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