Boneset: A Great Flu Remedy

Photo by SB_Johnny.

This past month, our family has been sick with a flu that brings lots of deep coughing and totally zaps your energy. It felt really good to me to be able to reach for specific herbal remedies to help with the symptoms we were experiencing throughout our week of illness.

Doing so made me realize how my relationship with these herbs has really grown and deepened over the past few years.

Pulling out my dried herbs and tinctures from my summer gathering felt really nourishing and empowering.

So, I want to share with you some of the herbs that I reached for and highlight our favorite flu remedy.

This flu started with a headache, the beginnings of a cough and a huge drop in energy.

So, my first response was to get as much rest as possible. I canceled all my plans and took time to sleep throughout the day.

The next day, I started to experience chills and achy bones and muscles. This is when I pulled out that favorite flu remedy I told you about at the beginning of this article – a boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) infusion. This is an easy flu remedy to make.

Important update about boneset

Thank you to Juliet Blankespoor for sharing this information about boneset: In 2017, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia tested over forty samples of botanically-verified boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) and found that it contains low levels of potentially toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), specifically the alkaloids intermedine and lycopsamine. Based on these new findings, we recommend avoiding the internal use of boneset in pregnancy and nursing. Additionally, children under twelve years of age and those with known liver disease should avoid internal use. Others who wish to ingest boneset internally (after researching the potential of PA toxicity on the liver) should limit the internal use to no more than one week, and preferably ingest the herb in a formula with other herbs (to limit the dosage). Topical use shouldn’t cause concern, as dermal absorption is negligible.

For this flu remedy, you will need…

  • 1 ounce dried boneset leaf
  • 1 quart boiling water

Put the dried boneset in a quart jar and pour enough boiling water over it to fill the jar.

Let this infusion steep for 4 hours.

Strain and drink.

This flu remedy is VERY bitter tasting. We recommend heating it back up after straining it, and drinking it warm. Experiment for yourself and see what works for you to help you get it down. Remember that the results will be worth it. This flu remedy infusion provides great relief from the achy stage of a flu!

Later in the week, my nose started to run and my cough got worse, so I made a chamomile (Matricaria recutita), mullein (Verbascum thapsus) steam. I made a tea from these herbs in a large pot then put a towel over my head and the pot and breathed in the steam.

I love chamomile steams for clearing and healing my sinuses, and the addition of mullein made this remedy healing for my cough as well. There are many different herbs you can reach for to help with your healing, and our relationships with these herbs develop over the course of months and years of experiences with them.

Perhaps next time you have the flu you will try a boneset infusion as your flu remedy and that will give you one more experience of the healing power of the herbs and one more remedy to add to your home pharmacy.

Which herbs & remedies should you always stock in your kitchen?

The TWO key ingredients for learning about herbs are…

Experiences that inspire + a great learning community

Join the LearningHerbs community for free recipes, remedies, webinars and more…