Boneset Tincture for Colds & Flu

Posted on 2023-08-25
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[MB] For those who might be interested in making Eupatorium perf. tincture, the herb that you would by is Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), not Sweet Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum). The best price available on Boneset right now is from Mountain Maus; they have the powder for $15.50 per pound.

P.S. More regarding Boneset herb: It was a common “country remedy” out East (in New England, if I remember correctly) when the Spanish Flu was running rampant from 1918 – 1921. It saved the lives of many, many people. Boneset tea is best served hot for the flu and for flu-like illnesses. For those who would like to grow it, it is perennial and pretty easy to grow.

… and you’ll never guess why

[SB] “Folklore of past civilizations report that for every disease afflicting man there is an herb or its equivalent that will effect a cure. In Puerto Rico the story has long been told “that to have the health tree Acerola in one’s back yard would keep colds out of the front door.”[1] The ascorbic acid content of this cherry-like fruit is thirty times that found in oranges. In Pennsylvania, U.S.A., it was, and for many still is, Boneset, scientifically called Eupatorium perfoliatum[2]. Although it is now rarely prescribed by physicians, Boneset was the most commonly used medicinal plant of eastern United States. Most farmsteads had a bundle of dried Boneset in the attic or woodshed from which a most bitter tea would be meted out to the unfortunate victim of a cold or fever. Having lived in that section of the country we qualified many times for this particular drink. The Flu of 1918 stands out very forcefully in that the Klenners survived when scores about us were dying. Although bitter it was curative and most of the time the cure was overnight. Several years ago my curiosity led me to assay this “herbal medicine” and to my surprise and delight I found that we had been taking from ten to thirty grams of natural vitamin C at one time. Even then it was given by body weight. Children one cupful; adults two to three cupfuls. Cups those days held eight ounces. Twentieth century man seemingly forgets that his ancestors made crude. drugs from various plants and roots, and that these decoctions, infusions, juices, powders, pills and ointments served his purpose. Elegant pharmacy has only made the forms and shapes more acceptable.”

-Frederick R. Klenner, M.D., F.C.C.P., “Observations On the Dose and Administration of Ascorbic Acid When Employed Beyond the Range Of A Vitamin In Human Pathology”, Journal of Applied Nutrition Vol. 23, No’s 3 & 4, Winter 1971
[1] Correspondence with colleague from Puerto Rico.
[2] Jennings & Avinoff: Wild Flowers of Western Penna. & Upper Ohio Basin, University of Pittsburgh Press, Vol. 2, Plate 156.


    • Mick

      Grandma, here are the directions for tea (taken from “Herbal Antibiotics, Second Edition,” by Stephen Harrod Buhner):

      “Cold tea: 1 ounce herb in 1 quart boiling water, let steep overnight, strain, and drink throughout the day. The cold infusion is better for the mucous membrane system and as a liver tonic.

      “Hot tea: 1 teaspoon herb in 8 ounces hot water, steep [covered] 15 minutes. Drink 4-6 ounces up to 4x per day. Boneset is only diaphoretic when hot and should be consumed hot for active infections or for recurring chills and fevers.”

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