Gravel Root

Home My Blog Herb Profiles Botanical Names Glossary Treatments Recipes Other stuff HERB SHOP Books & Equipment Useful Links

Eupatorium purpureum (L)


Synonyms: Queen of the Meadow, Joe-pye weed, Jopi weed, kidney root, kidneywort, purple boneset, trumpet weed, gravelweed, hempweed

Order: Compositae

Description: Eupatorium purpureum is a native North American perennial plant found in damp woodland and meadows in southern Canada and from Maine to Florida and Texas. The woody, fibrous rootstock produces one or more hollow stems, from 1-3m high and marked with purple where the leaves attach. The elliptic-lanceolate, coarsely serrate leaves grow in whorls of four to six. Flower heads of six or seven flowers, varying from purple to whitish, grow in loose terminal clusters from August to September.

Parts used: rhizome and roots

Collection: late summer and autumn, when the plant has stopped flowering. 

Constituents: volatile oil, a yellow flavonoid (eupatorin), resin

Actions: antilithic, diuretic with a soothing effect on the urinary system, antirheumatic, astringent, tonic, promotes menstruation, tones the pelvic viscera in general

Indications: urinary calculus, cystitis, dysuria, urethritis, prostatitis, rheumatism, gout

Therapeutics and Pharmacology: Useful for kidney problems, urinary difficulties and gravel, dropsy, rheumatism and neuralgia. Used primarily for kidney stones or gravel, it is also of benefit in the treatment of cystitis, dysuria and urethritis. It is also used in pelvic inflammatory disease. It can play a useful role in a systemic treatment of rheumatism and gout as it encourages excretion of excess uric acid. It tones the reproductive tract and is used to treat inflammation of the prostate, spasmodic dysmenorrhoea with scanty menstruation; and to ease childbirth.

Combinations: with Alchemilla arvensis, Parietaria or Hydrangea in urinary calculus. Use with Lamium for prostate problems.

 Preparation and Dosage: (thrice daily)

Regulatory Status GSL

Dried rhizome and root: 2-4g or by decoction - use for period pain or sip during labour and for its cleansing effect for persistent urinary infections.

Liquid extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 2-4ml

Tincture: 1:5 in 40% alcohol, 1-2ml

Additional Comments: Gravel root takes one of its common names from Joe Pye (or Jopi), a New England Native American named Joe Pye, who was famous for curing typhus with 'joe-pye weed'.



BHMA 1983 British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, BHMA, Bournemouth.

Grieve, M. 1931 A Modern Herbal, (ed. C.F. Leyel 1985), London.

Hoffmann, D. 1990 The New Holistic Herbal, Second Edition, Element, Shaftesbury.

Lust, J. 1990 The Herb Book, Bantam, London.

Mabey, R. (ed.) 1991 The Complete New Herbal, Penguin, London.

Mills, S.Y. 1993 The A-Z of Modern Herbalism, Diamond Books, London.

Wren, R.C. 1988 Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, C.W.Daniel, Saffron Walden.


Back to top

Previous herb Back to Index Next herb


Contact: [email protected] Please complete the 'Subject' heading or your email will be assumed to be spam and automatically deleted. Before you contact me, I'd be grateful if you would please check to see if this website has the answer to your question (search box at the top of the homepage) - I have time to answer only a few of the many emails that arrive in my inbox every day. See also the statement below:

For your safety I am prohibited from giving specific medical advice to individuals over the internet or telephone so please do not waste your time or mine by emailing or calling me with detailed information about your health problems - I can only undertake face-to-face consultations for what should be obvious reasons. Diagnoses cannot be made remotely, and I am unable to offer any advice or treatment until I am completely satisfied that I know what I'm dealing with!  The herb profiles and treatment suggestions on this website will help enable you to choose which herbs might be appropriate for minor ailments. For more serious or chronic conditions you should seek professional advice. This is particularly important if you are taking medication from your doctor or pharmacist, as some herbs can interact adversely with other drugs. If you would like to have a consultation with a medical herbalist then you should click here  then scroll to 'Professional Organisations' at the bottom of the page to find a qualified practitioner in your area.

Christine Haughton, MA MNIMH MCPP FRSPH

Wold Farm, West Heslerton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 8RY, UK

Last updated 27th November 2014     ęPurple Sage Botanicals