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Stimulant, febrifuge and laxative. It acts slowly and persistently, and its greatest power is manifested upon the stomach, liver, bowels and uterus.
It is regarded as a mild tonic in moderate doses, and is also diaphoretic, more especially when taken as a warm infusion, in which form it is used in attacks of muscular rheumatism and general cold. In large doses it is emetic and purgative.
Many of the earlier works allude to this species as a diuretic, and therefore of use in dropsy, but this is an error, this property being possessed by Eupatorium purpureum, the purple-flowered Boneset, or Gravel Root.
It has been much esteemed as a popular febrifuge, especially in intermittent fever, and has been employed, though less successfully, in typhoid and yellow fevers. It is largely used by the negroes of the Southern United States as a remedy in all cases of fever, as well as for its tonic effects. As a mild tonic it is useful in dyspepsia and general debility, and particularly serviceable in the indigestion of old people. The infusion of 1 OZ of the dried herb to 1 pint of boiling water may be taken in wineglassful doses, hot or cold: for colds and to produce perspiration, it is given hot; as a tonic, cold.
As a remedy in catarrh, more especially in influenza, it has been extensively used and with the best effects, given in doses of a wineglassful, warm every half hour, the patient remaining in bed the whole time; after four or five doses, profuse perspiration is caused and relief is obtained. It is stated that the popular name Boneset is derived from the great value of this remedy in the treatment of a species of influenza which had much prevailed in the United States, and which from the pain attending it was commonly called Break-Bone Fever. This species of Eupatorium has also been employed in cutaneous diseases, and in the expulsion of tapeworm
Used to treat ague, common cold, cough, dengue, fever, fractures, gastro-intestinal disturbances, hemorrhoids, influenza, intermittent fever, kidney ailments, malaria, orthopedic ailments, pulmonary ailments, skin ailments, snake bite, throat ailments, urinary ailments, venereal ailments.
Modern use - It is perhaps the best remedy for the relief of the muscular pain in influenza. As well as easing the aches and pains, it helps clear the upper respiratory tract of mucous congestion, and helps the body to deal with any fever that is present. Its mild aperient activity will help the body clear any build up of waste and ease constipation.
It increases bile flow.
The infusion can be used in the treatment of worms.
It may provide symptomatic relief in muscular rheumatism.
The leaves and flowering stems are harvested in the summer before the buds open, and are dried for later use.
Recent studies indicate that the sesquiterpene lactones and the flavones ( especially eupatorin ) may have anti cancer activity.
Traditional uses - The Cherokee Nation used eupatorium perfoliatum as a tonic, a sudorific, a stimulant, an emetic and a purgative.
An infusion was used to treat colds, sore throats and flu. It was also used as a febrifuge for fevers, and to promote bile flow.
The Ramah Navajo used a decoction for old injuries, and for coughs.
The original European settlers to North America used it for a severe and debilitating flu like illness, ì Breakbone Fever ì, giving rise to the use of the name ì Boneset ì.
Native Americans called it ì Ague Weed ì.