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Because it's easy
to identify, boneset was one of my first plant
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
July to October
An unopened cluster
A moisture-lover, prefering swamp
margins, low wet woods, and wet meadows.
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
My observations about this plant can be found at:
If you're interested