Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Boneset is a common perennial herb found in many parts of Canada and America (Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Nova Scotia, etc.). The plant was introduced to Americas by Indians who had been using this for treating all types of fever due to excessive sweating. Boneset plant is found in low lying wet patches and Reed Canary grass.

Boneset – Fact Sheet

Scientific Name Eupatorium perfoliatum
Other Names
  • Feverwort
  • Agueweed
  • Vegetable antimony
  • Indian sage
  • Sweating plant
Plant Family
Country of Origin India, Canada, and America
Plant Height 3 to 4 feet
Months Nurtured before Harvesting (seeds) 1 month
Years of Mature One Month after Blooming
Parts of the Plant Used Almost each and every part for producing gum, tannic acid, volatile oil, resin, etc.
Best Time to Grow Late Spring or Fall
Nutritional Composition Nutrients typically found in the plant include:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B-complex
  • Vitamin C
  • Para-amino benzoic acid (PABA)

Common Boneset comprises of:

  • Glucoside
  • Insulin
  • Resin
  • volatile oil & wax.
  • Eupatorin
  • Flavonoids
  • Kaempferol
  • Sterols
  • TriterpenesDescription


Boneset has been widely used for hundreds of years in the ancient medical system in the United States. The herb is very popular among the Native Americans and Boneset tea is highly popular as it can alleviate fever as it causes heavy perspiration and thereby provides immediate relief. Boneset herb was also used as a charm in pre-historic times. Its root fibers are frequently used for making hunting whistles owing to the popular belief that it would enhance the whistle’s ability to attract deer.

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)


It is distinct in its appearance because of its narrow and long tapering leaves that intersect each other around the lone thick stem. Boneset herb typically blooms in the late summer season. It tends to form a thick cluster above the foliage. The leaves grow concurrently around the thick stem area giving a sense of covering around the splint, like a bandage. Application of the leaves relieve all types of fractures and join broken bones.

Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits

Boneset is extensively used in homeopathic medicines either in liquid or tablet form. The other medical uses are as follows:

  • Fevers: Used for the treatment of all kinds of fevers, including dengue, influenza as well as malaria and other common ailments. Hence, it is also known as “feverwort” or “sweating-plant.”
  • Digestive Disorders: Treats digestive problems with ease and  replenishes strength in the stomach and spleen. To increase appetite and cure indigestion, consumption of cold boneset tea is pretty effective.
  • Cough & Cold: To loosen a cough and treat common cold and flu, Boneset is taken as a hot tea (Boneset tea). Combine it with Ginger (Zingiber officinale) or Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) to incite sweating and assuage the associated aches and pains.
  • The growth of WBC: Promotes growth of white blood cells that enhances one’s immunity and increases resistance to bacterial and viral infections. It also acts as a tonic and has a laxative effect.
  • Other health benefits: Helps in the treatment of all types of arthritis, chronic skin issues and in treating intestinal worms owing to its cleansing, anti-inflammatory, and detoxifying properties.

Possible side effects & Precautions

  • Boneset tea or its mixture with other components is bitter and astringent with a nauseous taste
  • Avoid consumption of the herb in any of its form for women who are pregnant or lactating
  • Shun all dairy products, refined sugars, and caffeine while consuming the herb
  • Excessive consumption may cause severe diarrhea, dermatitis, hepatic impairment, fatty degeneration of kidney & liver, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, nausea, and weakness.

Vegetative Cultivation and Propagation

Cultivate by dividing tip cuttings into two nodes in the late spring as they become inactive or in the fall just as shoots first appear. Boneset plant needs wet soil with a good quantity of organic matter and must remain partially exposed to the full sun. The foliage is too bitter for grazing the livestock.

Harvesting and Storage

The boneset seeds ripen about a month after blooming. Ideally, collect them when the heads are dry, split and the fluffy seed start to float away. If collected before time, dry the seed heads for 1 – 2 weeks in open paper bags. If one has to sow the seeds directly, plant them in the fall season. Plant the seeds in large quantities as germination rates are quite low. To increase germination percentage, it needs to undergo a cold-moist pre-treatment for 3 months at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)1

  1. After pretreating, sow in a fine germination mix comprising of milled sphagnum moss.
  2. Later, transplant the seeds into the potting mix. In the presence of adequate light, seeds usually germinate at 70 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Creating a greenhouse-like environment with alternating temperatures (day temperatures 70 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit, night temperatures 65 – 68 degrees Fahrenheit) will improve the longevity of the seeds. Boneset seeds can last up to 3 years if stored in the cold (40 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry (30% relative humidity) environment.

Landscaping and wildlife

Boneset plant needs a regular supply of water and cannot resist drought.

  1. Flower produces nectar which is alluring to diverse pollinators including bees, wasps, and butterflies.
  2. The Swamp Sparrow, a symbol of luck and love typically supplements its diet with Common Boneset seeds.
  3. Many types of caterpillars feed on various portions of the boneset plant.
  4. Grasshoppers, sawflies and flea beetles eat the leaves lending them a disheveled appearance by the middle of summer.


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