GravelrootBotanical Name: Eupatorium purpureum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae
Synonyms: Trumpet-weed. Gravelweed. Joe-pye Weed. Jopi Weed. Queen-of-the-Meadow Root. Purple Boneset. Eupatorium purpureum, trifoliatum, and maculatum. Eupatorium verticillatum. Eupatorium ternifolium. Hempweed.
Part Used: Fresh root.
Habitat: Is indigenous to North America, and common from Canada to Florida, growing in swampy and rich low grounds, where it blossoms throughout the summer months.
Description: This species varies greatly in form and foliage, the type being very tall and graceful.
The stem is rigidly erect, usually about 5 or 6 feet high, though sometimes even reaching a height of 12 feet, and is stout, unbranched and either hollow, or furnished with an incomplete pith. It is purple above the joints and often covered with elongated spots and lines (this variety having been called maculata by Linnaeus). The leaves, oblong and pointed, rough above, but downy beneath, are placed in whorls of four or five on the stem (mostly in fives) and are nearly destitute of resinous dots. The margins are coarsely and unequally toothed, the leafstalks either short or merely represented by the contracted bases of the leaves. The flowers are purple, in a dense terminal inflorescence, the heads very numerous, five to ten flowered, contained in an eight-leaved, fresh-coloured involucre.
It grows in low, swampy ground. There are over forty species of the genus, many of which are used medicinally. The name is derived from a king of Pontus, Mithridates Eupator, who first used the plant as a remedy, and the popular name of Jopi or Joe-pye is taken from an American Indian who cured the typhus with it.
The taste is aromatic, astringent, and bitter.
The roots should be collected in the autumn.
Constituents: The chief constituent is Euparin. It is yellow, neutral, and crystalline,and received the formula Cl2 = H11 = O3.
Eupurpurin, a so-called oleoresin, has been precipitated from a tincture of the drug.
A tincture and a fluid extract are prepared.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Diuretic, nervine. Formerly the use of this purpleflowered Boneset was very similar to that of the ordinary Boneset. It is especially valuable as a diuretic and stimulant as well as an astringent tonic, and is considered a valuable remedy in dropsy, strangury, gravel, hematuria, gout and rheumatism, exerting a special influence upon chronic renal and cystic troubles.
Preparations: Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm. Eupatorin, 3 to 5 grains.