Gravel Root
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Botanical:  Eupatorium purpureum - sometimes called Eutrochium purpureum
Family:  Compositae (daisy); Asteraceae (aster)
Other common names:  Kidney Root, Trumpet Weed, Gravel Weed, Joe-Pye Weed, Jopi Weed, Hempweed, Queen of the Meadow Root*, Purple Boneset*, Tall Boneset*

*Note:  Queen of the Meadow is also the name of a different herb (often called Meadowsweet with the botanical title, Filipendula ulmaria), and it is an entirely different plant with different applications. 

Moreover, Boneset (Eupatorium purfoliatum) is another distinct plant that is frequently called

Queen of the Meadow and it, too, has different properties and applications.

Gravel Root is believed to do exactly what its name promises!  It has been utilized to flush the bladder and kidneys with increased urine flow and help to remove gravel, stones and accumulated toxins from these organs.  This action has been beneficial in relieving gout, rheumatism and the stiff joints associated with accrued uric acid in the kidneys.  Moreover, Gravel Root is also used to relieve inflammatory urinary tract infections, including cystitis, prostatitis, urethritis, vaginitis and leukorrhoea.

The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Gravel Root is a hardy perennial that is native to North America, where it may be found in swampy and rich, low grounds and in woods of the United States and Canada, thriving in moist, well-drained, preferably calcareous (containing lime/calcium carbonate), soil in sun or dappled shade.  It grows to about six feet in height (but has been known to reach twelve feet!) and is distinguishable by the purple band around the leaf joint and the pale purple-to-white tubular flowers that bloom in August and September.  The plant's stem is rigidly erect and usually hollow, and its leaves are broad, rough, and jagged, and when bruised, they exude a vanilla aroma.  The root, with its fragrance resembling old hay, is used as an important ingredient in herbal medicine.  Gravel Root was used as the "remedy of choice" by Native Americans, who employed it as a diaphoretic, and the Ojibiwas were known to wash their babies and children with a solution of Gravel Root in order to strengthen them.  One of the herb's common names, Joe-Pye Weed, comes to us in honor of a New England Indian healer who used Gravel Root to induce perspiration, break fevers and cure typhus.  The herb was quickly adopted by the settlers who incorporated it into their folk medicines, and it was soon found that it worked particularly well on the genitourinary system, a use that has continued to this day by modern herbalists.  There are several interesting applications that have evolved with the use of this plant. The root has been burnt with the ashes used as a salt to flavor foods; the stems have been used as straws; and the fruits yield a red textile dye.  Gravel Root is a slightly bitter, aromatic, cooling herb that is faintly astringent (but not unpleasant to the taste), and some of its constituents include oleoresins (eupatorin and euparin), sesquiterpene lactone and a flavonoid.

Beneficial Uses:
Gravel Root is a potent diuretic that works well on the genitourinary system and uterus.  The herb promotes urine production, and the increased flow has the ability to flush waste from the kidneys, removing kidney stones and sediment and also helping to dissolve systemic, inorganic crystalline deposits.  Gravel Root has been used as an almost infallible remedy for accumulated gravel in the bladder, kidney and urinary systems and, as such, has been employed to eliminate stones from the urinary tract and relieve rheumatism, arthritis, gout and joint stiffness by expelling the uric acid deposits and other toxins that have amassed.  Gravel Root is also believed to relieve the back pain that is frequently caused by kidney inflammation.

Further supporting the urinary tract, Gravel Root is said to soothe its irritated mucous membranes, and because it is also considered an antiseptic, it is believed to relieve inflammatory infections and other ailments common to the urinary tract, including cystitis, prostatitis, urethritis, vaginitis and leukorrhoea.  The herb is also thought to treat enuresis (the involuntary discharge of urine, usually during sleep at night), which is helpful for children and incontinence in the elderly.  Gravel Root is used to encourage a reliable urine flow in cases where the urge is there, but the flow is not.

Gravel Root's increased urine flow (in addition to its astringent properties) also helps to remove excess retained water from the body, which benefits dropsy/edema (the accumulation of fluid in tissues that produces swelling) and excess water weight.  It is also used to help hematuria (blood in the urine).

Gravel Root is considered a diaphoretic that stimulates perspiration and sweating, which not only cools the body and lowers intermittent fevers, but also helps to expel toxic wastes through the skin.

As a nervine, Gravel Root has been used as a tonic to strengthen the functional activity of the nervous system, and its relaxant qualities are thought to be useful in relieving nervous conditions, headache, and hysteria.  There are some claims that it may be beneficial in cases of threatened miscarriage.

Gravel Root is believed to help women who experience difficult menstrual periods.  The herb is said to promote the flow of menstrual blood and regulate its flow, which helps to relieve two specific conditions, amenorrhea (the absence or suppression of menstruation) and dysmenorrhea (painful and difficult menstruation).

Gravel Root Herbal Supplement should not be used in conjunction with prescription medications without consulting a physician.  Gravel Root should not be taken by persons with current or past liver disease.  Medications that increase breakdown of other compounds by the liver interact with Gravel Root (i.e., carbamazepine [Tegretol], phenobarbital, phenytoin [Dilantin], rifampin, rifabutin [Mycobutin], etc.). Gravel Root interacts with lithium; as a strong diuretic, it affects how much remains in the body.  Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium or any other prescription medications. Those who suffer from allergies to members of the daisy (Compositae) family (ragweed, asters, sunflowers, etc.) should consult a doctor before using this product. 

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