Gravel Root (Eupatorium purpureum)

Gravel Root is a perennial in the Asteraceae family often found listed as Eutrochium purpureum, and is also known as Joe-Pye Weed and Trumpet Weed. It grows readily in low elevation swampy areas and is indigenous to Eastern North America from Canada to Florida. It has tall, upright, round, purple stems, and whorls of leaves at each node that can grow up to a foot long. The pointed leaves are slightly wrinkly in texture and have almost downy undersides. It can tolerate full sun to part shade, and does best in rich, water retentive soils. The root should be harvested in Autumn, after the plant has finished flowering, then washed, sliced, and dried. It attracts many butterflies to the garden with it’s pink and purple clusters of flowers, and can grow between 4 and 6 feet tall.

Medicinal Uses
Gravel root is diuretic and carminative herb primarily used to treat kidney stones, sometimes referred to as gravel. It can also help alleviate the symptoms of urinary tract infections, urethritis, rheumatism, and gout with it’s anti-lithic and anti-rheumatic properties. It also can aid poor digestion and fluid retention. It is also an astringent tonic and nervine herb. In cases of kidney stones, it combines well with parsley piert, pellitory of the wall, and hydrangea.

Folk Use
Traditionally, some native american tribes of Eastern North America have used Gravel Root to cure fevers and typhoid.

Dosage
A decoction at the strength of 1 teaspoon in a cup of water, simmered for 10 minutes, is recommended three times daily. In tincture form, 1-2 ml three times daily is the recommended strength. When blending, it is important to note that this herb has an aromatic, astringent, and bitter taste.

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The whorled leaves of Eupatorium.

The whorled leaves of Eupatorium.

A close-up of the flower clusters.

A close-up of the flower clusters.

A close-up of the roots.

Roots of Eupatorium purpureum.

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