Other Common Names:
The other common names for the herb gravel root are Joe-pye weed, Gravel or kidney root, Trumpet weed, Purple or tall boneset,Gravelweed,Jopi Weed,Queen-of-the-Meadow Root,Eupatorium urpureum,Trifoliatum,Maculatum,Eupatorium verticillatum,Eupatorium ternifolium and Hempweed.
The common name of gravel root, Joe Pye Weed, is believed to be the name of an Abenaki First Nation healer who saved the New England colonists from typhoid fever. Another possible source for its name the word 'jopi,' and apparently First Nations Abenaki name for typhoid fever and hence Jopiweed.
Although it has been used as a mild diaphoretic its more commonly used name of Gravelroot however provides a better indication of its more important traditional uses, to dispel small stones and sludge from the bladder. The Cherokee nation used Gravelroot in the treatment of joint disorders and urinary problems, and used the stem to suck water from shallow springs and to blow medicine into the nose.
It has a smell resembling old hay, and a slightly bitter, aromatic taste, which is faintly astringent but not unpleasant. It yields its properties to water by decoction or spirits.
Joe-Pye weeds are perennial herbs with leaves in whorls (3 to 6 leaves per node) and purplish flowers in terminal clusters. Stems of HOLLOW JOEPYEWEED are mostly hollow, there are usually 4 to 6 leaves in a whorl, and flower heads consist of fewer than 8 purple tubular flowers. Flower heads are arranged in a domed terminal cluster. Stems of joepye weed are purple or purple-spotted, there are 5 leaves in a whorl, and flower heads are pinkish-purple consisting of between 8 and 22 tubular flowers.
Flower heads are arranged in flat-topped terminal clusters. SWEET JOEPYEWEED foliage smells like vanilla when crushed, stems are green with purplish nodes, there are 3 or 4 leaves in each whorl, and flower heads are dull pink consisting of fewer than 8 tubular flowers. Flower heads are arranged in dome-shaped terminal clusters. Joe-Pye weeds reproduce by rhizomes and seeds.
Gravel root is a native of North America and are now distributed over an area extending from Canada to Florida. It also covers a wide range from South-eastern and Central N. America - Newfoundland to British Columbia to Washington and New York.
Gravel root thrives best in damp meadows, moist woods and thickets, sides of streams and ditches. Thus it frequently establishes in marshes, wet meadows, swampy woods, roadside ditches, lakeshores, stream edges, bogs, and other wet places.
Gravel root is sometimes cultivated in wild gardens or herb gardens, as its flowers are extremely showy and it towers over surrounding plants. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil that is well-drained but moisture retentive in sun or part shade. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c.The bruised leaves have a vanilla-like odour. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Butterflies are attracted to this plant. Sow the seed in spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, the clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions. It should be thoroughly cleaned and dried slowly in a shady spot. When it is dry, it can be crushed or cut into pieces and stored in a cool, dark, dry place. It is made into a tea, decoction, or tincture; it yields its virtues both to water and to alcohol.
The most commonly used
part of the herb goldenseal is the
dried roots and the rhizome.
The purple tubular flowers of the gravel root are in bloom between August to September.
Pests and Diseases
Weeds in the pots will have to be controlled manually and through good santitation practices. There are no pre- or postemergence herbicicdes of which Joe-Pye weed is specifically mentioned as being tolerant.
• It is used as a healing tonic included relieving constipation, washing wounds with a strong tea made from the root to prevent infection and as a general tonic taken during pregnancy and after childbirth.
• Its main use is to treat urinary infections and stones.
• Gravel root is considered a valuable remedy in dropsy, strangury, gravel, hematuria, gout and rheumatism, exerting a special influence upon chronic renal and cystic troubles.
• Gravel root is also useful for cystitis, urethritis, prostate enlargement (and other forms of obstruction), and for rheumatism and gout.
• The tea of this herb is used to induce sweating and break a high fever.
• Gravel root can be used to alleviate problems with cystitis.
• Laboratory studies indicate that the herb's active ingredients may have anti-infective and cancer-fighting properties.
• The stems have been used as straws.
• The fruits yield a pink or red textile dye.