DISCLAIMER: ALWAYS USE CAUTION WHEN IDENTIFYING PLANTS. USE YOUR FIELD GUIDES AND LEARN YOUR LATIN NAMES. WHEN IN DOUBT, FIND AN EXPERT. NO ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES IS INTENDED TO GIVE MEDICAL OR ANY OTHER ADVICE IN THE HEALING ARTS OTHER THAN THAT OF A LAY PERSON.
Something is quietly growing in your fields right now, Michigan. It is slowly greening and popping and getting stronger. Tiny leaves of one of the most bitter plants are expanding and reaching towards the sun so that they might one day turn into common Boneset, or Sweat Plant (Eupatorium perfoliatum). If you have ever had it, you know what it tastes like. If you ever do, you will not forget.
Migrants from the South recognized this familiar plant when they hit the lands up here as one of the plants they grew up knowing (and dreading). Those nearer to the wild places will be able to remember where the patches are from last year, it is a showy flowery resident. A perennial, it is part of the Sunflower family and seems to bring the heat of the sun to the body by sweating out sickness and fever. Actually, it is a great big ol’ girl.
Our cooks will have to sit this one out, as it is not what you would serve at an afternoon brunch. Actually, you would not serve it as a food at all. Especially since ingesting it raw in large amounts can cause serious problems. Those with liver issue should steer clear of this plant unless under a doctor’s care. This plant has sesquiterpene lactones,and polysaccharides and flavonoids. Though it is not a rule, per se, do not go gobbling it down for more than 2 weeks at a time.
You will not see it bloom until around July, but it is good to remember where you see it for next year. The florettes are identifiable by
large, numerous, white or purple flower clusters, which appear at the ends of the branches, are comprised of 10–20 florets (small flowers). Boneset has a faint aroma and a very bitter taste. – Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine
Our healers will make be able to make use of it for pain relief. Of course, they will only do this if they are versed in its usage.
Richard Whelan gives a great insight into its usage insofar as dampness in the body in his article in his piece regarding it as a medical herb. It is already bitter, no need to add bitter regret to its employ. Don’t be a goose.
The butterflies will love you if you grow this plant. Your arthritis will, too. Your taste buds will not. Did I mention it is bitter?
*Pssst. It is bitter. Just saying.
You can find a great recipe for a tea at Alchemy Works here.
Speaking of alchemy, you can use it for great magicks. Fending off evil, and breaking curses is really up this plant’s alley. Think of it as a Daisy Death Dealer of Doom to hexes. It is great in a wash, and even more long-lasting in a pouch spell. Personally, I like to fume a room with it and then do a wash, but that is just me.
Here is a great song to think of when you look for her, “Fever” by Peggy Lee.