Boneset Herb Tincture
Boneset Herb has many traditional uses.
Names: feverwort, sweat(ing) plant; thoroughwort; Indian sage; ague weed; crosswort; vegetable antimony;
Native American names: ‘skipwa’isi mamitcakanakesiti (sweet potato root and weeds with flowers round) and “manitowu’skw” (snake root) [Mesquakie]; Eupatorio (Spanish)
Properties: antibacterial, aperients, diaphoretic; laxative; antipyretic; bitter tonic; antispasmodic; emetic; carminative; astringent
History: Boneset’s name comes from its traditional use as a treatment for “breakbone fever,” an old term for dengue fever, a mosquito-borne, viral disease that causes muscle pains so intense that people imagine their bones are breaking. The Indians introduced it to early colonists as a sweat-inducer, an old treatment for fevers. The Indians also used it for all fever-producing illnesses: influenza, cholera, dengue, malaria, and typhoid, which accounts for the other names of feverwort and sweat plant. It was also used to relieve arthritis and to treat colds, indigestion, constipation, and loss of appetite. Boneset was listed as a treatment for fever in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820-1916, and in the National Formulary from 1926-1950.
Medicinal Uses: Parts used: tops and leaves. European studies show this herb helps treat minor viral and bacterial infections by stimulating white blood cells to destroy disease-causing microorganisms more effectively. In Germany, physicians currently use boneset to treat viral infections, such as colds and flu. One study shows boneset is mildly anti-inflammatory, lending some support to its traditional use in treating arthritis. Taken in small doses it often gives relief very quickly. It reduces fever and clears up mucous build-up in the lungs. It gently empties any toxins which may be stored in the colon. It relaxes the joints and eases the terrible pain which often accompanies the flu. Some people have found it to be very useful for their rheumatism. Boneset is dual in action, depending on how it is administered, when cold a tonic, when warm emetic diaphoretic. It is extremely bitter to the taste and is disliked by children, but in these cases a thick syrup of boneset, ginger and anise is used by some for coughs of children, with good results.