Joe Pye Weed for Butterflies & UTIs


Joe Pye weed otherwise known as Gravel Root is an amazing wild edible plant that is an herb, a wildflower, a butterfly plant and looks great in cultivated flower beds. This is a hardy perennial that blooms when many other plants are finished and it lasts until the first hard frost. When made into a tea, it has many health benefits. Its other name, gravel root was listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1842. [1]

The flowers of this very tall growing weed are pale or dull magenta or lavender pink, slightly fragrant, of tubular florets only. They are very numerous, showing in large, terminal, loose, compound clusters and generally elongated. Several series of pink overlapping bracts form the oblong involucre

from which the tubular floret and its protruding fringe of style-branches arise.

The stem is 3 to 10 ft. high, with a green or purplish color. They are leafy, usually branching toward the top. Leaves are found in whorls of 3 to 6 (usually 4), oval to lance-shaped, saw-edged, thin, and rough.

This plant is found in moist soil, meadows, woods, and low ground. I find mine around my pond and along my driveway. They bloom from August to September. You may find Joe Pye weed growing in places like New Brunswick to the Gulf of Mexico, westward to Manitoba and Texas. I’m in Western NC, and we have plenty.

Towering above the surrounding vegetation of low-lying meadows, this vigorous composite spreads clusters of soft, fringy bloom that, however deep or pale of tint, are ever conspicuous advertisements, even when the golden-rods, sunflowers, and asters enter into close competition for insect trade. Slight fragrance, which to the delicate perception of butterflies is doubtless heavy enough, the florets' color and slender tubular form indicate an adaptation to them, and they are by far the most abundant visitors. These clusters of weeds provide an excellent place for the butterfly collector to carry his net is to a patch during September.

Joe-Pye, an Indian medicine-man of New England, earned fame and fortune by curing typhus fever and other horrors with decoctions made from this plant in Colonial America. His name has come down through oral tradition. Scholars have diligently tried to trace this legendary Indian herbalist and healer who supposedly befriended New England pioneers, but the name on the plant is really all that remains of him. He may have been a Mohegan who lived and practiced his homeopathic arts near Salem, Massachusetts, in colonial times. It is said that he brewed decoctions of the plant bearing his name to induce sweating in typhus fever. The name Eupatorium memorializes another, much earlier healer. This was first-century Mithradates IV Eupator, king of Pontus who was reputed to have used this plant for aches and pains. Native tribes used gravel root as a healing tonic included relieving constipation, washing wounds with a strong tea made from the root to prevent infection. Use as a pregnancy tonic is not recommended by herbalists today. The common name gravel root, reflects its main use as a diuretic used to treat urinary infections and stones otherwise known as gravel. [2]

Joe Pye is entirely edible. “The leaves and stems can be harvested in the summer before the flower buds open and can be dried and stored for later use. The roots are harvested in the autumn. Fresh flowers can be used to make an herbal tea. Joe Pye weed, when dried, has a vanilla odor and makes a pleasant tea.

Crazy for Tea gives the following instructions for making Joe Pye Weed tea:

Tea can be prepared using the root or using the dried flowers.

To prepare the root tea, steep 1 ounce dried and crushed root in 1 pint of boiling water for 30 minutes and drink ½ cup at a time.

To prepare the flower tea steep 1 teaspoon dried flower in 8 ounces of boiling water for 10 minutes. [3]

[1] https://www.ediblewildfood.com/joe-pye-weed.aspx

[2] https://www.anniesremedy.com/eupatorium-purpureum-joe-pye-weed.php

[3] https://commonsensehome.com/joe-pye-weed/

#health #healingplants #healing #JoePyeweed #UrinaryTracInfections #fever

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