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Gravel Root–also known as purple Joe-Pye Weed, Kidney-Root, Trumpet Weed, Sweet-Scented Joe Pye Weed or simply Sweet Joe-Pye Weed–belongs to Astreraceae (daisy) family; same as for example Calendula, Chrysanthemum, Helichrysum or Yarrow. It is large, clump forming, herbaceous perennial which typically grows 4-7 feet tall with coarsely serrated, lance-shaped, dark green leaves in whorls of 3-4 on sturdy green stem. In midsummer plants are topped with a frothy crown of rounded pink-purple flower clusters and its fragrant flowers attract butterflies, skippers, moths and native bees. Gravel Root prefer moist soils which do not dry out. It is native to North America, from Ontario east to New Hampshire and south as far as Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
Legend has it that Joe Pye (or Jopi) was a First Nation medicine man who saved lives from fever and typhus. His concoction from a wild plant halted an epidemic that raged in Colonial Massachusetts. He used a “weed” (Eupatorium purpureum), which took his name thereafter, and found a status in botanical books.
Native American culture has a long history using Gravel Root. It was said that if you tucked a leaf into your cheek, it would ensure that any words spoken to the opposite sex would be well received. Abenaki tribe used Gravel Root as a mild diaphoretic to induce perspiration and break a fever. It has been also used to dispel small stones and sludge from the bladder. Cherokee nation used Gravel Root in the treatment of joint disorders and due its diuretic, soothing and astringent effect also in urinary tract problems. Traditionally Gravel Root has been used to cleanse the kidneys and dissolve the build-up of uric acid, relieve back pain frequently caused by kidney inflammation and also clear up a gout and remove the excess of uric acid in the joints. In Ayurvedic medicine Gravel Root is also used for kidney stones as well as gallstones.
Fragrance resembling old hay and slightly bitter, aromatic taste, which is faintly astringent but not unpleasant, with cool and dry energetics. Gravel Root has affinity towards the urinary tract, kidneys, stomach, blood, skeletal system and nerve system. For kidney stone formula you can combine with Corn Silk, Wild Yam Root, Cramp Bark and Hydrangea Root. For Gallstones mix with Parsley, Marshmallow, Liquorice, Ginger and Dandelion. For urinary tract support you can use with Uva Ursi, Corn Silk, Juniper, Parsley, Horsetail or Oregon Grape Root.
How to use:
Prepare a decoction by simmering 1 teaspoon of Gravel Root in 1 cup of water for 15-20 minutes. Drink up to three times daily.
Cautions & contraindications:
Gravel root is considered likely unsafe when used on broken skin, while pregnant or breast-feeding. Also take caution if you have allergy to Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. And do not use more than 28 days per year on account of the pyrollizidine alkaloid content which might be potentially harmful for the liver.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.