Common names of boneset are thoroughwort, Indian sage, crosswort, Joe pie weed, vegetable antimony, sweating plant, teasel, ague weed, feverwort, rheumatism root, fit plant.


It is native to the Eastern United States and Canada, widespread from Nava Scotia to Florida, west as far as Texas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Manitoba. It is found in wet woods, scrub, fens, and damp grassland.


Boneset grows up to 100 cm tall, with leaves that clasp the stems. The plant produces dense clusters of tiny white flower heads held above the foliage.

Part used

The medicinal part is derived from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant.


Traditional Uses and Benefits

  • It has traditionally been used for colds, all types of fever, malaria, and typhoid. A Native American named Joe Pye became so famous for treating typhoid with boneset that the plant was nicknamed Joe Pye Weed.
  • According to Mark Pedersen, a research chemist specializing in herbal chemistry, boneset is a very effective medicinal plant for all inflammation or infection types.
  • Boneset has antiviral and immunostimulating properties. Studies have found that the boneset effective against minor viral and bacterial infections by stimulating the white blood cells. Boneset’s immunostimulating properties are due to the presence of sesquiterpene lactones and polysaccharides in the plant. It strengthens the immune system by enhancing the secretion of interferon.
  • A hot infusion of boneset promotes a therapeutic sweat in fevers. It contains flavonoids and essential oils that stimulate peripheral circulation by encouraging sweating. It also forces the body to release several harmful toxins through the skin.
  • The boneset’s immunostimulating and fever-reducing properties make this herb perfect for alleviating colds and flu symptoms.
  • The boneset contains a chemical called sesquiterpene lactones. It stimulates deficient digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract and stimulates bile flow in the liver. It also has a mild laxative effect, allowing waste to move through the body more easily.

Dosage and Precautions

There is no exact clinical evidence to guide the dosage of boneset. The traditional use was 2 g of leaves and flowers.

As a tincture, 2-3ml taken 2-3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.

Warning: People with liver damage should not use boneset. If you are taking any prescription medications, please consult your doctor before using boneset. Breastfeeding and pregnant women should not use boneset.



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