Eupatorium purpureum. N.O. Compositae.
Synonym > Eupatorium purpureum is also called Gravel Weed and Queen of the
Meadow, from which the medicinal “Gravel Root” is obtained.
Habitat > Gravel Root is a native of the United States, and must not be confused with the English Queen of the Meadow or Meadowsweet (Spiraea ulmaria).
Features > Our present subject is a member of the Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) family, and sometimes reaches six feet in height at full growth. It is peculiar for a purple band about an inch broad round the leaf joint. Pale purple to white flowers bloom in August and September. The rhizome, as the medicinal “root” should more properly be termed, is hard and tough, up to an inch thick, with a nearly white wood and thin grey-brown bark. Short, lateral branches give off thin, tough root several inches long.
Part used > Root.
Action > Diuretic and stimulant.
Gravel root is much prescribed for cases of stone in the bladder and certain other troubles of the kidneys and urinary apparatus. A decoction of 1 ounce of the root to 1 pint (reduced from 1 1/2 pints) of water is made, and taken in wineglass doses. Gravel root is also met with in nervine formulae, in which its tonic properties are recognised.
The American physio-medical or “Thomsonite” M.D., F. H. England, has said that Gravel Root “induces very little stimulation. It expends nearly all its influence on the kidneys, bladder and uterus. It probably influences the whole sympathetic nervous system. Its use promotes the flow of urine as scarcely anything else will.”