Joe Pye Weed , Gravel Root
Eutrochium purpureum, formerly Eupatorium purpureumOther names: Queen of the Meadow, Gravel root, Kidney root , Purple boneset, Eupatoire D'Eau Rouge, Gravelwort, Joe Pye Weed, Purper Leverkruid, Roter Wasserhanf, Sweet-scented Joe-pye-weed, Sweet-scented Joepyeweed
Joe Pye Weed Herb Use
Caution: Joe Pye weed may contain dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloids (found in Boneset, a related species)that are harmful to the liver. WebMD says - Gravel root preparations that are not certified and labeled “hepatotoxic PA-free” are considered LIKELY UNSAFE.
Joe Pye Weed herb was historically used as an herbal remedy for rheumatism, gravel (gallstones), and dropsy (fluid retention). The roots are said to be the most potent part of the plant. Dried Joe Pye Weed root and flowers are used by herbalists for a diuretic tea to relieve kidney and urinary problems. The infusion is used to induce sweating and break a high fever. The crushed leaves have an apple scent and are dried then burned to repel flies.
Joe Pye Weed Habitat and Description
Joe Pye Weed is a North American native perennial herb found in moist woods and meadows from southern Canada to Florida and west to Texas. Growing to a height of about 12 feet, The sturdy, hollow, purple stems are covered with whorls of 4 to 8 dark green, lance shaped, and serrated leaves, up to 1 foot long. Atop each stem is a rose pink to whitish domed cluster of flowers, about 1 foot in diameter, blooming in August and September. The root is woody, thick and purplish brown with cream colored flesh.
How to Grow, Harvest and Use Joe Pye Weed
Joe Pye Weed makes a handsome addition to any garden or as a privacy border. Joe Pye Weed grows easily from seed or root separation, with partial shade to full sun in rich alkaline soil. Plant seeds in late fall or late winter, at least a month before the last expected frost. Gather the leaves anytime and harvest flowers in full bloom. Dig the roots after frost and store in cool dry and dark place to dry for future use. Seed Source
Joe Pye Weed Folklore and History
The plant is named after an American Indian named Joe Pye, who was said to have cured typhus with it. Some Native American tribes still consider Joe Pye Weed to be an aphrodisiac. It is said that carrying leaves of Joe Pye Weed will make one more popular.
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