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The Practical Herbalist


Early American Pioneers relied heavily on a common weed they called "Boneset". Many people assume that this herb was used for trauma. This was not the case, and the name is oddly misleading. Kept in many pioneer cabin attics, this simple bitter tasting herb developed a reputation as a "cure all", but was mostly used in the cases of infectious colds and flu.

The Boneset herb is classified as bitter, pungent and cold. These functions do not have anything to do with "bones" or trauma. This type of herb is used to disperse excess heat conditions out of the body. In the case of Boneset, this meant that the herb was used for viral and bacterial infections that result in fever. Boneset was kept on hand and was the first choice for any type of cold or flu that was marked by fever.

Boneset apparently got its name because of the strength of its power to break severe fevers. The terminology of the day was that severe fevers were referred to "bone-breaking fever". Boneset was the cure for a fever bad enough to break bones. In times prior to antibiotics, fever was a very dangerous situation. Many people died from infectious diseases, that we now take for granted. Throughout herbal history, herbs that cleared fever and infection were the most highly regarded herbs, because they saved lives.

David Bock

This article was from David's LakeCountryOnline.com column, "The Practical Herbalist"

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David Bock, C. Ac., Dipl. OM, FABORM
Wisconsin Certified Acupuncturist
National Board Certification in Oriental Medicine
Fellow American Board Of Oriental Reproductive Medicine

Bock Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
888 Thackeray Trail #206
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 53066