Plant Profiler

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) Image
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Agueweed, Asteraceae (family), astragalin, common boneset, Compositae (family), crosswort, dendroidinic acid, eucannabinolide, eufoliatin, eufoliatorin, eupafolin, eupatorin, Eupatorium connatum Michx., Eupatorium perfoliatum, Eupatorium perfoliatum D2, euperfolide, euperfolitin, feverwort, flavonoids, gravelroot, hebenolide, helenalin, hyperoside, Indian sage, kaempferol, quercitin, rutin, sesquiterpene lactones, snakeroot, sterols, sweat plant, sweating plant, tearal, teasel, thoroughwax, thoroughwort, thorough-stem, vegetable antimony, wild Isaac, wild sage, wood boneset.

Notes: Avoid confusion with gravel root (Eupatorium purpureum), which is also known as boneset. Snakeroot is a common name used for poisonous Eupatorium species, but boneset should not be confused with Ageratina spp., which are more commonly known as snakeroot.

Mechanism of Action


  • Constituents: Boneset contains sesquiterpene lactones, including eupafolin, euperfolitin, eufoliatin, eufoliatorin, euperfolide, eucannabinolide, and helenalin; immunostimulatory polysaccharides, primarily 4-0-methylglucuroxylans; flavonoids, such as quercitin, kaempferol, hyperoside, astragalin, rutin, eupatorin; diterpenes, including dendroidinic acid and hebenolide; sterols; and volatile oil.3The sesquiterpene lactones are known for antimicrobial, antitumor, immunostimulating, and cytotoxic activities. The flavonoid eupatorin may have cytotoxic activity. Usually, the dried leaf and flowering parts are used in herbal therapy.
  • Cytotoxic and antibacterial effects: In an in vitro study, ethanol extract of boneset leaves showed potent cytotoxicity with EC50 of 12-14microg/mL and weak antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus megaterium).2
  • Immunomodulating effects: In a mouse study, boneset increased the activity of phagocytosis, more so than a pure Echinacea angustifolia mono-extract.1


  • Insufficient available evidence.


  1. Wagner, H. and Jurcic, K. [Immunologic studies of plant combination preparations. In-vitro and in-vivo studies on the stimulation of phagocytosis]. Arzneimittelforschung  1991;41(10):1072-1076. 1799388
  2. Habtemariam, S. and Macpherson, A. M. Cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity of ethanol extract from leaves of a herbal drug, boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum). Phytother Res  2000;14(7):575-577. 11054857
  3. Herz, W., Kalyanaraman, P. S., and Ramakrishnan, G. Sesquiterpene lactones of Eupatorium perfoliatum. J Org Chem 6-24-1977;42(13):2264-2271. 874606

Licensed by Natural Standard Copyright © 2010 by Natural Standard Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

back to Plant Profiler
back to top