Gravel Root

Eupatorium Purpureum, E. maculatum, E. ternifolium,

E. verticullatum

Etymology The genus name, Eupatorium, honors an ancient Persian king, Mithrades Eupator, who was a renowned herbalist.  The common name Gravel Root refers to the plant’s long history of helping the body rid itself of kidney stones.  The common name joe-pye weed and jopi weed derive from that of Joe Pye (or Jopi), who, according to folklore, was a Native American medicine man in New England who used the plant to treat typhus.  The common name Queen of the Meadow is a reference to the plant’s beautiful and stately purple and pink flowers. Common Names:  Joe-Pye weed, Queen of the Meadow English: feverweed, hempweed, joe-pye weed, jopi weed, kidney root, marsh milkweed, purple boneset, queen of the meadow, tall boneset, thoroughwort, trumpet weed Parts Used:  Roots and Rhizome Family:  Asteraceae (Daisy Family) / Sunflower Family Description:  Gravel Root is a perennial native to the meadows, woodlands, and lowlands of Europe and eastern North America.  It blooms in midsummer.  Gravel Root reaches a height of about 6ft but on occasion 12ft.  The stems are green with a purplish hue at the leaf nodes.  The leaves are broad, rough and jagged and grow 3-5 at a joint.  The hermaphroditic flowers are tubular and white or pale pink to purple and grow in rounded clusters.  Growing Gravel Root:  Gravel Root is native to low meadows, swamps, and the margins of waterways in eastern North America.  It also grows in gravelly soil near such locations.  Its interwoven roots will help keep the soil from washing away.  It grows at the intersection of water and land.  Just like all the other great kidney stone herbs (marshmallow root, hydrangea, smartweed). Very often there will be calcification on and around the roots.  This is what gave it the common name “Gravel Root” and suggested its most famous use as gravel. Collecting Gravel Root:  The roots and the rhizome should be dug up in the autumn after the plant has stopped flowering.  Was thoroughly, slice and dry. Energetics:  Bitter, Pungent, Neutral, Cool, Dry Biochemical Constituents: Volatile oil, flavonoids, and euparin Planet:  Saturn Element: Earth Polarity: Yin Dosha: PK- V+  System Effects:            Kidney: kidney stones            Stomach: Crohn’s Disease         Bladder: cystitis and urethritis                    Skeletal: bone-healing properties, strains, sprains, pulled ligaments & tendons Blood:  Type II Diabetes Actions:  Diuretic, lithotriptic (dissolves stones), nervine, tonic, anti-rheumatic, carminative, antiseptic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, immune stimulant, Indications:  Most urinary tract problems, especially those of a more chronic nature including gravel stones, hematuria, frequent and nighttime urination.  It strengthens the nerves of the urinary organs. Preparation:  1 teaspoon full of the herb in a cup of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Drink 3 times a day. Tincture: 1-2ml of the tincture 3 times a day. Combinations:  For kidney stones or gravel it combines well with Parsley Piert, Pellitory of the Wall or Hydrangea. Caution:  Only the root of this plant should be used because the leaves, stems and flowers contain echinatine, a pyrrolizidine alkaloid that may be harmful to the liver if consumed in large enough quantities.  Magickal Lore of Gravel Root:  Gravel Root is used when wanting to get a new job or a raise.  It can also be used when seeking steady work or needing a “boss fix.”  Many carry Gravel Root chips in their pocket when going for an interview or asking for a raise. Uses on Pets:  This herb has been safely used on dogs and cats, however, it is not a first choice because herb simply because we don’t know it as well as its alternatives.  However, Gravel Root is a profusely abundant plant in North America and it is a valuable resource when other urinary tract herbs may not be available.  Only the root of this plant should be used because the leaves, stems and flowers contain echinatine, a pyrrolizidine alkaloid that may be harmful to the liver if consumed in large enough quantities.  The symptoms of overdose may include nausea, weakness, vomiting, liver damage, tremors, collapse, difficult breathing, convulsions, coma or death.  It is highly recommended to find a vet familiar with using Gravel Root before administering it to your cat or dog.

 Written by:  Sheryl Burns

Sources:  Herbs for Pets; Gregory L Tilford & Mary L. Wulff/The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine; Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad/The Earthwise Herbal; A Guide to New World Medicinal Plants; Matthew Wood/The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine; Brigitte Mars/Holistic Herbal; David Hoffman/The Way of Herbs; Michael Tierra **Please note:  The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration.  It is always best practice to speak with your medical doctor and conduct your own research*