Eupatorium perfoliatum


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Because it's easy to identify, boneset was one of my first plant friends.

Sunflower Family (Asteraceae)

Boneset is most easily identified by its leaves, which seem to be wrinkly lanceolate affairs pierced by the stem of the plant, or else viewed as two opposite leaves joined together. The whole plant is stiffly hairy and is topped by clusters of of many dull-white flowers. The flowers are small, up to 1/4" in size. Some upper leaves may be unjoined.

July to October

A moisture-lover, prefering swamp margins, low wet woods, and wet meadows.

An unopened cluster of flowers.


Very little scientific evidence has been done and little to support the Indian and Early North American settlers belief that boneset was useful in treating fevers, colds, coughs and constipation. As a regular tea it has been thought of to help ease arthritis. I know it as a general tonic and use it to ward away flus and more generalized colds before they seem to take hold. Tom Brown, Jr. suggests mixing 1/2 bonset tea with 1/2 catnip tea to ease muscles and sore joints, and breaking up colds.

The plant is named for its supposed ability to knit bones. I sense that it is helpful in this area, but have not verified that particular use.

Closely related to Joe-Pye Weed (E. purpureum) and both are thought to share medicinal properties. Since Joe-Pye Weed seems more prevalent in this area, I am more inclined to harvest that, except where fevers are concerned.

Hairy, wrinkly and stiff, boneset is like an old man, and just as sagely.


My observations about this plant can be found at:


If you're interested