The very thought of Boneset will send a shudder through most everyone who has been "brought up" in the good, old-fashioned way. Wet feet and snuffles, headache and cough, fever and ague, Boneset tea and goose grease! My, oh my! And yet Boneset tea certainly has a knack of rallying drooping spirits, and particularly so while it is being administered, for it is a horrible dose to take. However, it has long been regarded as a household remedy of no mean distinction. The Indians are said to have first used this plant and called it Ague-weed. Boneset taffy was often substituted for the tea and was easier to take. The latter was most effective in breaking up attacks of influenza, muscular rheumatism, or a general cold, and as a tonic in dyspepsia, jaundice, and general debility, also in producing perspiration. Yes, indeed, Boneset saved many a doctor's bill, and there is still many a bagful hung from the rafters in the garrets of old country homes. The large, round, hairy stalk grows from two to five feet in height, and branches at the top. The long, tapering, and slender-pointed leaves are set upon and around the stalk in opposite and completely united pairs. They appear like one long, continuous leaf with the stalk passing through its centre. They are finely notched with round-pointed teeth, and their upper surface is rough and wrinkled, with numerous veinings, while the under side is hairy. They alternate at regular distant intervals on the stalk. The numerous tiny, tubular florets are greenish white in colour, and from ten to sixteen are gathered in small, dense tufts, which terminate the branches in rather crowded, flat-topped clusters. The protruding stamens give the flowers a fluffy appearance. The leaves and flowering tops are used in medicine; their odour is faintly aromatic, and the taste is bitter and astringent. Boneset is commonly found from July to September, in low, wet places along streams and on the edges of swamps and in thickets, from New Brunswick to Manitoba, Florida, Nebraska, and Texas.
BONESET. INDIAN SAGE. Eupatorium perfoliatum.