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Edible Mountain is a bite-sized, digital series from WVPB that showcases some of Appalachia’s overlooked and underappreciated products of the forest while highlighting their mostly forgotten uses.

EDIBLE MOUNTAIN - Boneset The Forgotten Fever Remedy

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This forgotten fever remedy was once one of the most popular medicinal herbs used by herbalists in Eastern North America.

Also called break bone fever, it’s leaves can be used steeped as a tea and taken as warm as a person can stand to break a fever.

Some folks in Appalachia would simmer it with lemon and honey to make a cough syrup.

Boneset was also combined with elderberry and used with great success by some doctors during the influenza outbreak of 1918-19.

It’s popularity has faded over the years and is now considered a weed.

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Ella Jennings
The Stem grows through the base of the leaves of boneset

A key way to identify boneset is that its stem grows through the leaves.

In the early days of herbalism visual observations like this would influence what it was thought it would cure. In this case it was believed that wrapping a broken bone in the leaves of boneset would help cure the break. Of course this was not true but this is how it got the name boneset.

While it doesn’t fix bones, the fever remedy works very well. It’s worth having a boneset tincture in your apothecary for this reason.

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Ella Jennings
Boneset in bloom during the late summer

Do mind that white snakeroot has very similar flowers and can be mistaken for boneset. White snakeroot is deadly poisonous so please be sure what you are harvesting.

In the video below, 👇🏼Barbra Volk gives us info on how to ID identify it and makes a simple boneset tincture.

EDIBLE MOUNTAIN Boneset The Forgotten Fever Remedy


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