“Boneset”, rather than describing structure, derives from the plant’s use in folk or herbal medicine. A potion made from the leaves and stems was used to treat dengue or breakbone fever. It has also been used to treat everything from migraines and gout to intestinal worms and malaria. These days it might be better to stick to more modern treatments, since boneset contains some vicious toxic compounds that can cause liver damage, muscular tremors, weakness, constipation—and death (although all of the above may be true of some “modern” medicines as well).
The Genus Eupatorium contains 30 to 60 species (depending on who’s classifying), including (at least formerly) Joe-pye weeds and snakeroots. So the boneset stands in good company. Take a look here at my previous post about some classification confusion.
Human-made classifications not withstanding, the Eupatoriums are magnificent creations, as are all plants. Sometimes we underestimate their complexity because they have only five “organs,” – root, stem, leaf, flower and fruit—as compared to the dozens making up animal bodies. But when we look closer we find that plants are far more complex, especially in their biochemistry, than animals. That’s why the plants are called autotrophs—self-feeders. They make their own food from carbon dioxide, water and a few minerals, while we have to stuff our faces with pre-made food to keep us growing and going.
That’s why God made plants first, then animals, contrary to faulty, illogical evolutionary theory. And He called them “very good,” which was almost an understatement. They are more than good; they are magnificent biochemical machines that produce thousands of complex chemicals, not only for their own survival but for us poor hapless heterotrophs, who are totally dependent on them, either directly or by way of the food chain, for our survival.
So thank a plant today, for its outward beauty and for its hidden secrets—and thank the great Creator God who made it.
By the way, if you look closely at our photograph (you can enlarge it by clicking on it) you may notice someone else who is thankful for the Boneset, at least as a temporary shady resting place.
Soli Deo Gloria
Soli Deo Gloria