Eupatorium perfoliatum. Boneset.
Nat. Ord. — Asteraceae. Sex. Syst. — Syngenesia Aequalis.
The Tops and Leaves.
Description. — Boneset, or Thoroughwort, as it is also called, is an indigenous plant, with a perennial, horizontal and crooked root, sending up many erect, herbaceous stems, which are round, hairy, simple below, trichotomously branched above, of a grayish-green color, and from two to five feet in hight. The leaves are opposite, connate or perfoliate, resembling a single leaf, centrally perforated by the stem, decussating at right angles, gradually tapering to a point, serrated, rough above, tomentose beneath, of the same color as the stalks, and both combined are from eight to fourteen inches in length ; the upper leaves, and those of the branches are not joined at the base, being merely sessile. The flowers are white, numerous, in dense, depressed, terminal corymbs, formed of smaller, fastigiate ones. The peduncles are hairy. Involucre cylindrical, imbricated, twelve to fifteen-flowered ; the bracts lanceolate, acute, entire, hairy. Florets tubular, five-toothed, with a rough, down-like pappus. Anthers five, deep-blue or black, united into a tube. Style filiform, divided into two filiform, acuminate branches, which project beyond the corolla. Fruit or seeds oblong, black, prismatic, acute at base, on a naked receptacle.
History. — This is a well-known plant, growing in low grounds, and on the margins of streams, in almost every part of the United States. It flowers in August and September. The tops and leaves are officinal. It has a faint odor, and a strongly bitter, somewhat peculiar taste. Its virtues are readily taken up by water or alcohol. No accurate analysis of the plant has been made, though its medical virtues probably reside in a bitter extractive matter, which is soluble in water and alcohol, and forms copious precipitates with the metallic salts. According to Rafinesque it contains a brown, bitter, resinous principle, termed by him, Eupatorin.
Properties and Uses. — This is a very valuable medicinal agent. The cold infusion, or extract, is tonic and aperient; the warm infusion, diaphoretic and emetic. As a tonic, it is useful in remittent, intermittent and typhoid fevers, dyspepsia and general debility ; and combined with bitartrate of potassa and camphor, the powdered leaves have been serviceable in some forms of cutaneous disease. In intermittent fever a strong infusion, as hot as can be comfortably swallowed, is administered, for the purpose of vomiting freely. This is also attended with profuse diaphoresis, and sooner or later by an evacuation of the bowels. During the intermission, the cold infusion, or extract is given every hour as a tonic and antiperiodic. In epidemic influenza the warm infusion is valuable as an emetic and diaphoretic, likewise in febrile diseases, catarrh, colds, and wherever such effects are indicated. The warm infusion is also administered to promote the operation of other emetics. Externally, used alone or in combination with hops or tansy, etc., a fomentation of the leaves applied to the bowels have been useful in inflammation, spasms, and painful affections. Dose of the powder, from ten to twenty grains; of the extract, from two to four grains ; of the infusion, from two to four fluidounces.
Off. Prep. — Extractum Eupatorii ; Infusum Eupatorii ; Pilulae Aloes Compositae.