Uses for Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium) aka Purple Boneset


Joe-Pye weed is found in wet areas, such as marshes, ditches, wet meadows and wet woods. [1] It is a great plant for genitourinary conditions– namely those involving an irritable bladder or uterus. Usually, the root is used as a tea or decoction. This plant can induce periods, so please don’t use with pregnant or lactating women. One of the constituents can be toxic in large doses, so don’t use too much or for an extended period of time.

Herbal Actions

  • Diuretic [2]
  • Lithotriptic
  • Nervine
  • Emmenagogue
  • Vulnerary

Organ Affinities

  • Kidneys
  • Urinary organs
  • Uterus

Conditions Treated

  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Kidney stones
  • Excess of uric acid
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Lumbago
  • Gout [4]
  • Rheumatism [5]
  • Painful joints (as a wash) [5]
  • Irritated bladder
  • Kidney pain/aching in small of back
  • Atony or displacement of uterus
  • Chronic endometriosis
  • Painful periods
  • Prostate problems (esp. boggy prostate)
  • Spermatorrhea
  • Diabetes (E. seritonum)
  • Burns

Major Constituents

  • Benzofurans (euparin, euparone and more)
  • Cistifolin
  • Eupurpurin (an oleoresin)
  • Sesquiterpene lactones
  • Unsaturated Pyrrolizidine alkaloids* (Can be toxic)
  • Essential oil

Medicinal Uses


  • 1/2 – 1 teacup, 3-4x per day (decoction) [1]
  • 20 g. of root for 600 mL of water (decoction)
  • 1 qt. of roots makes 1 gallon of medicine. (decoction)


Decoction: Boil for 1 hour and keep refrigerated.


  • Joe Pye Weed has been known to cause pain as a result of getting rid of kidney stones too quickly. Pair with a demulcent herb, such as marshmallow. [3]
  • Not to be used in large quantities, as one of the constituents could be toxic if used long term. [3]
  • DO NOT give to young children or infants.
  • DO NOT use with pregnant or lactating women, since it is an emmenagogue which can induce periods.


In conclusion, Joe-Pye weed has many important uses. It can be used in conditions that break down uric acid and is especially effective for kidney stones and genitourinary conditions. Usually, the root is used as a tea or decoction. However, you shouldn’t use this plant with pregnant or lactating women OR young children and infants as one of the constituents can be toxic in large doses. Even in adults, it should be used in smaller amounts for a short amount of time.


[1] Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Midwest by Matthew Alfs
[2] United States Pharmacopeia
[3] Terry Willard
[4] Cherokee Indians
[5] Ojibwe

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