Discovering the Wonders of Boneset Herb: Benefits & Traditional Uses

Discovering the Wonders of Boneset Herb: Benefits & Traditional Uses

Discovering the Wonders of Boneset Herb

Boneset herb, scientifically known as Eupatorium perfoliatum, stands as a unique and respected plant in the world of herbal medicine, though it comes with important usage guidelines. Native to Eastern North America, this perennial plant, with its distinctive perfoliate leaves and clusters of fluffy white flowers, has a rich history in traditional healing practices. However, it is crucial to note that Boneset should not be ingested due to its potent properties, which can be harmful if used improperly.

Historically, Boneset was highly regarded among Native American tribes and early settlers for its supposed medicinal qualities, particularly in treating fevers and flu-like symptoms. The name "Boneset" was derived from its use in treating "breakbone fever," a term used for dengue fever, which was characterized by severe pain. Today, while its oral use is discouraged due to safety concerns, Boneset still holds a place in herbal medicine, primarily for educational and historical interest, as well as for external applications in some traditional practices.

This article aims to explore the intriguing history of Boneset, its traditional uses, and the importance of understanding and respecting the boundaries of herbal remedies. Our journey will highlight why Boneset continues to be a topic of interest in herbal circles, despite its limitations in use, underscoring the need for both knowledge and caution in the world of herbalism.

History and Traditional Uses of Boneset Herb

Boneset, with its scientific name Eupatorium perfoliatum, has a storied place in the annals of traditional medicine, particularly in North America. Its historical significance is rooted deeply in the practices of Native American tribes, who prized it for its purported medicinal properties. Known for its tall stature, perfoliate leaves, and clusters of white flowers, Boneset was traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, most notably fevers and flu-like symptoms.

The common name "Boneset" is believed to have originated from its use in treating "breakbone fever," a term associated with dengue fever, characterized by severe muscle and bone pain. Beyond this, Native Americans and early European settlers utilized it for its purported ability to alleviate symptoms associated with colds, such as coughs and congestion. It was also used in poultices and as a topical agent for skin ailments and bruises.

Benefits of Boneset Herb

Despite its historical use in treating various ailments, modern herbalists and medical professionals caution against the ingestion of Boneset due to potential toxic effects. The primary compounds in Boneset, such as sesquiterpene lactones and flavonoids, have been studied for their potential medicinal properties, but these studies often highlight the importance of caution and external use only.

Some traditional claims about Boneset's health benefits include its use as a fever reducer and an immune system stimulant. Historically, it was thought to have diaphoretic properties, meaning it could induce sweating and thereby help break fevers. However, these claims largely stem from historical and anecdotal sources rather than modern scientific research.

It's important to emphasize that while Boneset may have held a place in traditional medicine, its use today is limited and should be approached with caution.

How to Use Boneset Herb

While the ingestion of Boneset is not recommended due to potential toxicity, there are ways it can be used safely, particularly for external applications. It's crucial to approach the use of this herb with caution and respect for its potent properties.

  1. Topical Applications:

    • Boneset has been traditionally used in poultices for bruises, skin irritations, and minor wounds. The herb can be infused in a carrier oil or mixed into a balm for topical use.

Boneset Recipe: Making a Boneset Balm

A Boneset balm can be used externally for its traditional properties. Here’s a simple guide to making a basic herbal balm:


  • 1 cup of carrier oil (like coconut or olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup of dried Boneset herb
  • 1/4 cup of beeswax

Infuse the Oil:

  • Gently heat the carrier oil and dried Boneset in a double boiler for 2-3 hours on low heat. Do not allow it to boil. This process infuses the oil with the properties of the herb.

Strain the Herb:

  • After the infusion, strain the mixture to remove the herb, leaving behind the infused oil.

Add Beeswax:

  • Return the infused oil to the double boiler and add beeswax. Heat until the beeswax melts, stirring constantly.

Pour and Set:

  • Once the beeswax is fully melted and mixed, pour the mixture into small jars or tins and let it cool and set.

Label and Store:

  • Label your balm with the ingredients and date of creation. Store it in a cool, dry place.

Tips on Maximizing Benefits:

  • Quality of Ingredients: Use high-quality, dried Boneset and organic carrier oils for the best results.
  • Keep It Clean: Ensure all utensils and containers are clean to prevent contamination.
  • Use Sparingly: When applying the balm, use it sparingly and monitor for any skin reactions.

Sustainable Practices in Growing and Harvesting Boneset

At I·M·POSSIBLE Farm, the cultivation of Boneset is deeply intertwined with sustainable and regenerative farming principles, a core ethos that Sacred Plant Co proudly upholds. These practices are not just about growing plants; they're about nurturing the environment and ensuring a harmonious balance with nature. For detailed insights into these innovative farming techniques, you can visit Regenerative Farming Innovations at I·M·POSSIBLE Farm.

Adopting Regenerative Techniques:

  • Employing methods like crop rotation, organic composting, and promoting biodiversity, I·M·POSSIBLE Farm creates a thriving ecosystem where Boneset and other herbs can grow sustainably. This approach not only benefits the plants but also enriches the soil and surrounding environment.

Mindful Harvesting:

  • The harvesting process at the farm is conducted with utmost care, ensuring that it aligns with the plant’s natural growth cycle and ecological role, as opposed to the practices often seen with industrial herb suppliers. For a comparison of these practices with typical industrial approaches, visit Industrial Herb Suppliers vs Sacred Plant Co.

By supporting I·M·POSSIBLE Farm and Sacred Plant Co, consumers contribute to a sustainable future, embracing a vision where agriculture works in harmony with nature.


Boneset herb, despite its limitations in direct medicinal application, holds a special place in the history of herbalism and serves as a powerful educational tool in understanding traditional practices and the importance of safety in herbal medicine. Its story is a testament to the rich tapestry of nature's offerings and the need for respectful and knowledgeable interaction with our natural world.

We encourage you to delve deeper into the fascinating world of medicinal herbs with Sacred Plant Co. Explore our dedication to sustainable and regenerative agriculture at I·M·POSSIBLE Farm and discover the historical significance and versatile uses of various herbs. Embark on this journey with us at Nature's Pharmacy: Exploring the Historical Uses and Health Benefits of Medicinal Herbs.

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