GRAVEL ROOT, Eupatorium purpureum

Gravelroot Herb

Back in the days of the Roman Empire, there was a king whose name was Mithridates Eupator. He thought that he should do more than sit on his throne. This king wanted his people healthy, so he learned about herbs. He raised many herbs in his own herb garden. He became expert in herbal medicines. He liked one herb in particular, because this herb helped so many people with so many of their different health problems. His people called this herb Eupatorium after his name and in his honor. Over a two thousand years, this herb became the genus of a big family of many important herbs and it is of a genus, or family, of Eupatorium. The child, or species, of this family is purpureum.

Purpureum is an herb with three different names. In our day and age, and in our part of the country, purpureum is mostly referred to us gravel root. Gravel root is one of the common names. It is called gravel root because it is so effective and removing the gravel from the kidneys and bladder. I don’t know of anything more painful than a gallstone or a kidney stone. Gravel root contains the solvent euparin, an oleoresin that dissolves urinary calculus. Gravel root will help dissolve gallstones, kidney stones, vesicular calculi, dysuria or painful urination, prostatistis, urethritis and other urinary problems caused by too much of the wrong kind of calcium in the body. This herb works well alone, but its effects are improved when combined with other herbs. Gravel root is one of the main herbs in Grandma’s herbal Kidney formula. Gravel root is a diuretic that will increase the flow of urine. It is a tonic to the urinary-genital areas helping the kidneys, liver, bladder, prostate gland, and uterus.

This same species, purpureum, is also reffered to as “Queen of the Meadow.” It is stately and tall and grows more than ten feet in some areas. Queen of the Meadow is known as a nervine that will feed and build the nerves, including the entire sympathetic nervous system. It will soothe the pains of neuralgia. The diuretic action and the stimulant to the heart pull the fluids out of the legs and help to overcome dropsy.

Another name of this same species, purpureum, is Joe Pye weed. I know that Joe Pye weed is a funny sounding name for an herb, but Joe Pye was the name of an Indian medicine man, or herb doctor. He lived up in the New England states sometime after the Pilgrims came there. When his people got sick, he would use this herb for many of their health problems. He used this herb mainly as a diaphoretic to promote sweating. It seemed that in most Indian village, they would get typhus fever and sometimes many would die. Joe Pye would serve them hot tea and got them sweating to break typhus fever. Eventually, everyone started using Joe Pye weed. Other names of purpureum are kidney root, purple boneset, trumpet weed, and gravel weed, but they are all the same herb.

Gravel root grows well in the Eastern half of the United States because the ground is moist and mulchy. The root is the main part used; however, the leaves and blossoms are also used. It grows from 3 feet to about 12 feet tall. The leaves are 1 inch wide and 8 inches long and grow and holes around the stalk. The edges are toothed or serrated and the underneath is downy and when mashed, smells like vanilla. The flower is numerous, small tubular florets or flowers that grow in large terminal clusters. The blossom is pale, dull magenta, lavender pink or whitish in color, and slightly fragrant. The root or rhizome is grayish brown and often hollow and has an odor that resembles old, wet hay.

Besides being used for renal disorders, gravel root has been used for rheumatism, lumbago, gout, lower back pains, lame back, diarrhea, cystitis, female troubles and a lot more.

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