Eupatorium. N. F. IV (U. S. P. VIII). Boneset. Thorough-wort. Herba Eupatorii Perfoliati. Indian Sage. Thorough-stem. Cross-wort. Thorough-wax. Sweating Plant. Herbe d'Eupatoire perfoliée, Berbe a fievre, Herbe parfaite, Fr. Durchwachsener Wasserhanf or Wasserdost, G.—"The dried leaves and flowering tops of Eupatorium perfoliatum Linne (Fam. Compositae)." N. F. This is an indigenous perennial plant, with numerous herbaceous stems, which are erect, round, hairy, from two to five feet high, simple below, and trichotomously branched near the summit. The leaves serve to distinguish the species at the first glance. They may be considered either as perforated by the stem, perfoliate, or as consisting each of two leaves, joined at the base, connate. In the latter point of view, they are opposite and in pairs, which decussate each other at regular distances upon the stem; in other words, the direction of each pair is at right angles with that of the pair immediately above or beneath it. They are narrow in proportion to their length, broadest at the base where they coalesce, gradually tapering to a point, serrate, much wrinkled, paler on the under than on the upper surface, and beset with whitish hairs, which give them a grayish-green color. The uppermost pairs are sessile, not joined at the base. The flowers are white, numerous, supported on hairy peduncles, in dense corymbs, forming a flattened summit. The involucre, which is cylindrical and composed of imbricated, lanceolate, hairy scales, encloses from twelve to fifteen tubular florets, having their border divided into five spreading segments. The anthers are five, black, and united into a tube, through which the bifid filiform style projects.
This species of Eupatorium inhabits meadows, the banks of streams, and other moist places, growing generally in bunches, and abounding in almost all parts of the United States. It flowers from the middle of summer to the end of October. All parts of it are active, but the herb only is official. It has a faint odor, and a strongly bitter, somewhat peculiar taste. It is described as "usually more or less broken; leaves opposite, the pair united at the base, from 8 to 20 cm. in length and from 1.5 to 5 cm. in breadth, tapering regularly from near the base to an acute summit, crenate-serrate, rugosely veined, rough and bright green above, yellowish-gray-green, tomentose and resinous-dotted beneath; flower-heads small, numerous, corymbed, with a campanulate involucre of lance-linear, imbricated scales and with from ten to fifteen tubular, yellowish-white florets having a bristly pappus in a single row. Odor faintly aromatic; taste strongly bitter. Eupatorium yields not more than 10 per cent. of ash." N. F. The virtues of the plant are readily imparted to water and alcohol. W. Peterson found it to contain a peculiar bitter principle, chlorophyll, resin, a crystalline matter of undetermined character, gum, tannin, yellow coloring matter, extractive, lignin, and salts. (A. J. P., xxiii, 210.) George Latin (A. J. P., Aug., 1880) found a glucoside, eupatorin, and a crystallizable body of the nature of wax. O. F. Dana, Jr., obtained 3.80 per cent. of extract with petroleum benzin; 4.60 per cent. with ether; 33.80 per cent. with alcohol; 24.80 per cent. with water; 5.80 per cent. with alkali. (A. J. P., 1887, p. 229.) Shamel (Am. Chem. J., 1892, p. 224) published an analysis of the nitrate of the crystalline principle giving the formula C20H25O36HNO3.
Eupatorium is, in large doses, emetic and aperient. Because of its nauseating action, the warm infusion tends to increase perspiration and has been used to abort attacks of muscular rheumatism or general cold. H. S. Wilkins has found the infusion useful in the expulsion of tapeworm. (A.J.P., 1874, p. 295.)
As an emetic and cathartic, a strong decoction, prepared by boiling an ounce with three half-pints of water to a pint, may be given in doses of from four fluidounces to a half-pint (120 to 240 mils), or more. (See Fluidextractum Eupatorii, N. F., Part III.)
Dose, twenty to thirty grains (1.3 to 2.0 Gm.).
Eupatorium purpureum L., Joe-Pye Weed, Trumpet Weed, or Gravel Root, is a perennial herbaceous plant, with a purple stem, five or six feet in height, and furnished with ovate-lanceolate, serrate, rugosely veined, slightly scabrous, petiolate leaves, placed four or five together in the form of whorls. The flowers are purple, and consist of numerous florets contained in an eight-leaved involucre. It grows in swamps and other low grounds, from Canada to Florida, and flowers in August and September. The root has, according to Bigelow, a bitter aromatic and astringent taste, and is said to be diuretic. Its vulgar name, boneset, indicates the popular estimation of its virtues. J. U. Lloyd found in it an apparently new, yellow, neutral, crystalline principle, euparin. (A. J. P., 1890.) This euparin, with a number of derivatives, has been prepared by C. C. Mauger (A. J. P., 1894, 120) and analyzed. The formula C12H11O3 is assigned to it.
Eupatorium verbenaefolium Michx., commonly called wild horehound, is also an indigenous perennial, with an herbaceous stem, which is about two feet high, and supports sessile, distinct, ovate, acute, scabrous leaves, of which the lower are coarsely serrate at the base, the uppermost entire. The flower-heads are small, white, composed of five florets within each involucre, and arranged in the form of a corymb. The plant grows in low wet places from New England to Georgia, and abounds in the Southern States. It is in flower from August to November. The whole herb is used. In sensible properties it corresponds with E. perfoliatum, though less bitter and disagreeable, and has been used for similar purposes and in like manner. E. incarnatum and E. aromaticum are said to contain an aromatic principle similar to, if not identical with, coumarin, obtained by Guibourt from Dipteryx odorata, or Tonka bean. (See P. J., Oct., 1874, 303.) The roots of E. aromaticum are said to be sold in the Western United States under the name of white snake-root. E. cannabinum of Europe, the root of which was formerly used as a purgative, and E. triplinerve Vahl (E. Aya-pana Vent.), of Brazil, the leaves of which at one time enjoyed a very high reputation, have fallen into neglect. The Aya-pana is an aromatic bitter, like E. perfoliatum, but weaker, and is said to be still occasionally met with in European commerce. (A. J. P., 1887, 154; Ph. Era, 1898, 293.) E. villosum is used in Jamaica, under the name of bitter-bush, in the preparation of beer, as a tonic, and as a stimulant in low zymotic diseases. (P. J., Oct., 1866; A. J. P., 1887, 155.) E. collinum is included in the Mexican Pharmacopoeia.
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.