The Uses and Benefits of Boneset

This perennial plant is a potent antiviral, and can also be used to treat toothache and osteoporosis.

Bee on boneset

Boneset is a fairly common plant that can be used as a treatment for osteoporosis, or consumed as a tea to induce sweating.

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In Heal Local: 20 Essential Herbs for Do-It-Yourself Home Healthcare (New Society Publishers, 2015) author and herbalist Dawn Combs makes herbal healthcare less intimidating and more attainable, helping locally-minded gardeners and non-gardeners alike take back food, goods and services from pharmaceutical corporations and sourcing them from small growers, producers, artisans and entrepreneurs. This section on Boneset comes from the chapter “The Herbs.”

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living Store: Heal Local.

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Properties: Stimulant, diaphoretic, antimicrobial, antitumor

Harvest notes: This perennial is native where I live. Its leaves along with everything above ground are harvested in summer when the plant is in full bloom.

Boneset is a fairly common plant that is not widely used in today’s herbal practices. I don’t know why. It is a very potent antiviral, and when used as a hot tea it is also a diaphoretic.

There is some argument about whether or not this herb is useful for broken bones, but I am convinced that it is. It can be used to recalcify teeth, ease bone pain and repair crushed and broken bones. It seems to do that by increasing the blood flow to the periosteum, the thin tissue surrounding our bones. It is also helpful for osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Complimentarily it seems that boneset also works on the joints and nerves that are part of the skeletal system. It can be used for multiple sclerosis and it has been shown to rebuild the myelin sheath.

Boneset is heavily antibacterial and especially useful to our immune system addressing such issues as flu, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, yellow fever, Staphylococcus aureus, typhoid fever and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. It was one of the most successful herbs during the 1918 flu epidemic when nothing else worked. In the digestive system its action is due to its profound bitterness. It is good for acid reflux and indigestion.

Contraindications: It is not advisable to eat large amounts of boneset as it can act as an emetic or cathartic.

Natural Remedies for Toothache

• Boneset
• Echinacea
• Plantain

A toothache can be a symptom of another problem or the result of an injury. If you have a toothache as a result of an injury to the mouth or you have a broken tooth it is important that it be assessed by a dental professional.

Learn more about local, natural remedies in The Health Benefits of Lobelia.


This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Heal Local: 20 Essential Herbs for Do-it-Yourself Home Healthcare, by Dawn Combs, published by New Society Publishers, 2015. Purchase this book from our store: Heal Local.