Common Boneset

(photo by 2018, John Hilty)

Common Boneset

Asteraceae family  

Part: leaf and flowering top

Energy: neutral to cool

Taste: bitter, slightly acrid and astringent

Latin name: Eupatorium perfoliatum

Western herbalism use:  constituents include; caffeic acid derivatives, immune-stimulating polysaccharides; flavonoids, quercetin, kaempferol, astragalin; sesquiterpene lactones, eupafolin, eufoliatin, vitamin.C, and volatile oils, etc.

Actions:  diaphoretic, febrifuge, expectorant, bitter tonic, sudorific tonic, stimulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, emetic (induces vomiting) in large doses

Considered a detoxifying herb, especially for the skin (sudorific tonic action) and via detoxifying action of the liver (bitter tonic) and is said to inhibit viral activity in relation to influenza (immune-stimulating and diaphoretic action).

“The extract showed potent cytotoxicity with EC50 values (12–14 µg/mL) comparable to a standard cytotoxic agent, chlorambucil.” (Habtemariam, Solomon, and Angela M. Macpherson, 2000). *chlorambucil, also known as Leukeran, is a chemotherapy pharmaceutical used to treat chronic lymphoma and some other associated lymphoma conditions. Boneset showed cytotoxicity to cancer cells as comparable to Leukeran in this study.

“The polysaccharides show a phagocytosis enhancing effect as determined in three immunological test systems” (Vollmar, Angelika, Wolfram Schäfer, and Hildebert Wagner, 1986).

“in vitro experiments with plant extracts both indicate antiinflammatory effects beside antiplasmodial effect against Plasmodium falciparum. Such, antiinflammation caused by the ethanolic extracts can be correlated well with clinical symptoms related to diseases as common cold, rheumatism, arthritis etc.” (Hensel, Andreas, et al. 2011).

“extracts from the aerial parts of E. perfoliatum were shown to inhibit growth of a clinical isolate of IAV(H1N1)” (Derksen, Andrea, et al. 2016).

Chinese name:  Guan Ye Zelan

Traditional Chinese Medicine use: considered to have an effect on the Organs; Liver and Lungs, and  helps with releasing or expelling pathogenic Wind/Heat and clearing Heat in relation to feverish conditions (sometimes called “breakbone fever” or dengue). Also, considered for use with rheumatic conditions that come and go (Wind) along with inflammation (Heat) and swelling (stagnation leading to dampness).

Cautions: considered safe in small doses taken over short periods of time

“Common Boneset is emetic and laxative in large doses, and it may contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are potentially harmful to the liver” (Belt, S. 2009) *

Preparation and dosage: 0.5 to 20 grams, some books say 3-9 grams (Tierra, 2011)

-tea (infusion), 1 cup 3x/day along with other liver herbs or other Wind patterns

-decoction (simmer herbs with water for at least ten minutes), 4 tbsp every 3-4 hours, combine with other diaphoretic/anti-bacterial/anti-viral herbs or along with other liver herbs for liver complaints and constipation

*Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals

Book an appointment today with

Shannon Hobson

Certified East West Herbalist

Text or call 604-993-0169, or email at

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Image: (common boneset photo) 2018, John Hilty.

1)       Habtemariam, Solomon, and Angela M. Macpherson. “Cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity of ethanol extract from leaves of a herbal drug, boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum).” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 14.7 (2000): 575-577.

2)       Vollmar, Angelika, Wolfram Schäfer, and Hildebert Wagner. “Immunologically active polysaccharides of Eupatorium cannabinum and Eupatorium perfoliatum.” Phytochemistry 25.2 (1986): 377-381.

3)       Hensel, Andreas, et al. “Eupatorium perfoliatum L.: phytochemistry, traditional use and current applications.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 138.3 (2011): 641-651.

4)       Derksen, Andrea, et al. “Antiviral activity of hydroalcoholic extract from Eupatorium perfoliatum L. against the attachment of influenza A virus.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 188 (2016): 144-152.

5)      Belt, S. 2009. Plant fact sheet for common boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum L.). USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Norman A. Berg National Plant Materials Center, Beltsville, MD 20705.

6) Tierra, 2011. East West Herb Course, Section II

Rose (petals) – fragrant, warming, uplifting

*image credit in reference section

Rose  *petals

Rosacea family  

Part: Flower petals

Energy: warm (Chinese), cooling (Ayurvedic)

Taste: sweet

Latin name: *not an exhaustive list:  Rosa chinensis, Rosa rugosa, Rosa canina, Rosa damascene, Rosa centifolia and spp.

Western herbalism use: constituents include; anthocyanins, terpene alcohol, glycosides; pelargonidins, peonidins and cyanidins, flavonols; quercetin, kaempferol, procyanidins which are derivatives of flavan-3-ols, polyphenols; ellagitannins, etc.

Actions:  slightly carminative (calming flatulence), aperient (relieves constipation), emmenagogue (increase uterine circulation), antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, kidney tonic, sedative, etc.

Anthocyanins have been categorized as the largest group of water-soluble pigments present in flowers. These natural pigments are of great interest in the food industry, due to their attractive colors and beneficial health effects, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antidiabetic, and antioxidant activities.” (Prata, G. G. B., et al. 2017)

“Rosa damascena mill L., known as Gole Mohammadi in is one of the most important species of Rosaceae family flowers. R. damascena is an ornamental plant and beside perfuming effect, several pharmacological properties including anti-HIV, antibacterial, antioxidant, antitussive, hypnotic, antidiabetic, and relaxant effect on tracheal chains have been reported for this plant.” (Boskabady, Mohammad Hossein, et al. 2011)

Rosa rugosa – “significant cytotoxic (up to 100% of dead cells) and antiradical properties (IC50 1.33 – 0.08 mg mg(-1) DPPH(•) ) were demonstrated. Moreover, notable antimicrobial activity against eight bacterial (i.e. S. epidermidis, S. aureus, B. subtilis, M. luteus, E. coli, K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, P. mirabilis) and two yeast strains (C. albicans, C. parapsilosis) was showed.” (Olech, Marta & Pecio, et al. 2014)

“It soothes mind and heals depression, grief, nervous tension and stress” (Nikbakht, A., and M. Kafi, 2004)

“It helps in problems with digestive system so many Iranians add the powder of dried petals to yogurt and use it with their meal.” (Nikbakht, A., and M. Kafi, 2004)

Chinese name:  Yue Ji Hua

Traditional Chinese Medicine use: effecting the Liver Organ, it is considered to counteract swelling, regulate irregular menses, used topically for boils, and considered to create an uplifting effect for use on depression/anxiety (disturbances to the Shen or Spirit of the Heart)

“Chinese rose tea ‘Yue Ji Hua’ (Rosa chinensis) had higher antioxidant property values than green teas.” (Jin, Liang, et al. 2016)

Ayurvedic use: used to balance Pitta (Fire) dosha, some books say that it has an equalizing effect on all doshas, considered to help anxiety, anger, depression, diarrhea, high cholesterol, exhaustion, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Cautions: potential for seeds to cause “toxicity” (nausea) (Western), not to be used in pregnancy as it increases uterine circulation and can cause uterine contractions, not to be used with weak digestion (Ayurvedic- cooling effect decrease digestive energy and is used as a mild laxative)

Preparation and dosage: 3 to 10 grams

-tea infusion (steep covered for 5 minutes) blend with other herbs

-topical oil/salve, decoction (strong tea for more medicinal effect)

-mix into sugar or honey for tasty use for depression/anxiety

*Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals

Book an appointment today with

Shannon Hobson

Certified East West Herbalist

Text or call 604-993-0169, or email at

IG: natural_knowhow

Facebook: Natural-Know How



Images: (dried rose with spoon, left) Suncore Foods Inc. 2019, (fresh Damask rose, right) Eroma Store Pty Ltd. 2019

1)       Prata, G. G. B., et al. “Nutritional characterization, bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of brazilian roses (Rosa spp).” Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical-Artigo em periódico indexado (ALICE) (2017).

2)       Boskabady, Mohammad Hossein, et al. “Pharmacological effects of Rosa damascena.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences 14.4 (2011): 295.

3)       Olech, Marta & Pecio, Łukasz & Oleszek, Wieslaw & Los, Renata & Malm, Anna & Rzymowska, Jolanta. (2014). Cytotoxic, Antioxidant, Antimicrobial Properties And Chemical Composition Of Rose Petals.. Journal of the science of food and agriculture. 10.1002/jsfa.6294.

4)       Nikbakht, A., and M. Kafi. “A study on the relationships between Iranian people and Damask rose (Rosa damascena) and its therapeutic and healing properties.” VIII International People-Plant Symposium on Exploring Therapeutic Powers of Flowers, Greenery and Nature 790. 2004.

5)       Jin, Liang, et al. “Antioxidant properties and color parameters of herbal teas in China.” Industrial Crops and Products 87 (2016): 198-209.


Lemon verbena


Lemon verbena

Part: leaves and flowering tops

Scientific name: Aloysia citrodora, Aloysia triphylla, Verbenaceae family, also known at common vervain

Chinese name:  Ning Meng Ma Bian Cao

Energy: Cool

Taste: Bitter, sour, aromatic

Western herbalism:  constituents include; Verbascoside, Citral, Nerol, Geraniol, Luteolin 7-diglucuronide, Limonene, Myrcenene, Eucalyptol, Isovalerianic acid (antioxidants), as well as, Apigenin, Luteolin (flavonoids).

Some actions:  anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, digestive or carminative, anti-spasmodic, laxative, relaxant, antimicrobial, sedating, tonic

  • Protective to muscle tissues
  • Good for asthma and colds
  • Febrifuge (reduces fevers)
  • Calming effect on the nervous system in times of stress or anxiety, helps with poor sleep
  • Helps with nausea, bloating and other digestive ailments

“A. triphylla presented moderate antibacterial activity against Aeromonas sp.” (Parodi, Thaylise Vey, et al. 2013)

“Lemon verbena extract showed strong antioxidant properties as measured by the ORAC assay. The nutritional supplement containing standardized lemon verbena extract (14% verbascoside, w/w) and fish oil omega-3 fatty acid reduced symptoms of pain and stiffness significantly, and improved physical function” (Caturla, Nuria, et al. 2011)

“among others, anxiety can be reduced by using neroli, lavandula, citrus reticulate, rosemarinus officinalis and lemon verbena essential oils.” (Fradelos, E., and A. Komini, 2015)

“The plants that have a substantial body of data in support of their digestion-enhancing activities mainly belong to one of three groups: bitter, aromatic and pungent plants.” (Valussi, Marco, 2012)

Traditional Chinese Medicine use: effecting Kidney, Liver, Spleen, Stomach organs

  • Releases stagnant Qi (pains in joints, injuries, female ailments i.e. menstrual cramps etc.)
  • Calm the Shen (anxiety, good for sleep)
  • Aids in digestive Qi through Spleen and Stomach (helps reduce bloating, gas, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Clears heat and helps removes toxins (Blood- and Damp-Heat)

“The spasmolytic and anti-inflammatory effects support the traditional use of Aloysia triphylla leaves in the treatment of the primary dysmenorrhea,” (Ponce-Monter, Héctor, et al. 2010)

Cautions: considered safe in food/drink amounts, essential oil can cause skin irritation, “avoid use with kidney failure” ( , 2019)

Preparation and dosage:

Tea- infuse tsp to tbsp dried leaves in boiled water, steep for 5 mins

Traditional dosage: “45 mL extract taken 2-3 times/day” ( , 2019)

Some texts say the leaves can be eaten, but the taste is very strong.

*Always consult a qualified health professional before using herbal medicine, especially in conjunction with pharmaceuticals in therapeutic doses above those found in food/drink amounts*


Book an appointment today with Shannon Hobson

Certified East West Herbalist

Text or call 604-993-0169, or email at

IG: natural_knowhow

Facebook: Natural-Know How


Ref 1:  Parodi, Thaylise Vey, et al. “Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of Aloysia triphylla (L’Hérit) Britton extracts obtained by pressurized CO2 extraction.” Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology 56.2 (2013): 283-292.

Ref 2:  Caturla, Nuria, et al. “A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of the effect of a combination of lemon verbena extract and fish oil omega-3 fatty acid on joint management.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 17.11 (2011): 1051-1063.

Ref 3: Fradelos, E., and A. Komini. “The use of essential oils as a complementary treatment for anxiety.” J AJN 4.1 (2015): 1-5.