The name ‘gravel root’ might sound a bit odd for an herb.
However, the etymology of its name is commonly attributed to its ability to clear gravel or stone from the kidneys and bladder - just one of the many gravel root benefits.
Gravel root also popularly called “Joe Pye weed” or “Queen of the Meadow Root” is a therapeutic herb that has been around for centuries.
And while you may not have heard of it, there are more than forty species of the genus in existence, many of them used medically.
History of Gravel Root
Gravel root thrives well in the Eastern part of the US where the ground is moist and rich. The herbs can grow from 3 to 12 feet tall. It usually contains clusters of small flowers ranging from white and pink to pale magenta.
Its root is typically used for herbal treatments, though its leaves and blossoms are sometimes used as well.
The botanical name of gravel root ‘Eupatorium Purpureum’ was derived from Mithridates Eupator, a king of Pontus in Northern Anatolia (now Turkey) from about 120-63 BC.
He was the very first one who used gravel root as an herbal remedy.
Gravel root also has a place in Native American history where a prominent Native American used the herb to cure and treat typhus.
While the history of the plant is indeed interesting, the fact remains that it has been used for centuries as a therapeutic herb for a lot of issues.
In fact, scientists are already analyzing some of the bioactive compounds present in it for their range of health benefits.
5 Medicinal Gravel Root Benefits
Breaks Down Kidney Stones
Thought to be an antilithic (kidney stone-dissolving) by Native American Indians, they traditionally use it for softening and dissolving kidney stones and promoting the passage of debris in the kidney.
The herb is also reputed to be effective for reducing the size of kidney stones. Despite this traditional use, the only real evidence surrounding gravel root’s power for reducing kidney stone is anecdotal.
No modern scientific proof is yet available.
Gallstones are common complaints affecting the gallbladder. They are not actually stones though, but an accumulation of excess substances in the bile, resulting in hard crystalline deposits.
These hardened deposits range in size. They can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as golf balls.
The thing with gallstones is that they often go unnoticed, but they can become very painful and even require surgery over time.
For centuries, cultures have attributed gravel root with the ability to dissolve existing gallstones and discourage new ones from forming.
Treats Arthritis and Gout
It is no secret that excess uric acid in the joints can result in gout and possibly arthritis.
Thankfully, gravel root plays a role in the systemic treatment of gout and rheumatism as it supports the cleansing of the kidneys and has an antilithic effect on uric acid crystals.
It is also great for arthritis and overall bone health due to its ability to bring minerals into and out of a solution, hence being effective for dissolving and removing deposits in the joints.
Treats Urinary Tract Problems
Gravel root has natural diuretic abilities and a suiting astringent effect on the urinary tract. Its benefits include helping to tone and stimulate the pelvic areas as well as the mucous membranes throughout the body.
Traditional and conventional uses of gravel root indicate it has been used successfully to treat urinary tract problems and bladder problem. The herb also helps people with dysuria (painful urination) in alleviating pain.
Gravel root also works quite well for treating typhus, and it helps lower typhus-related fever as well. WebMD confirms this as they say it can be used for “fever from malaria, typhus or dengue virus.”
Native North American Indians have cited its use as a diaphoretic to promote sweating, which comes in handy for breaking a fever.
Supplementing with Gravel Root
Gravel root can be used in many ways, but it is mostly available in liquid forms and extracts, powder supplements and capsules.
Its dried flower and root can be infused to create tea and tinctures. All types of its preparation methods are believed to impart the same benefits, meaning one form doesn’t appear to be superior to another.
It’s simply personal preference.
We prefer to use gravel root in our glycerin-based extracts for purity and absorption purposes.
Unfortunately, the quality of gravel root varies, so it’s important to get your herbs and supplements from a trusted source.
Side Effects of Gravel Root
Despite the host of potential gravel root benefits, people with pre-existing liver complaints should consult their doctor before consuming.
It also seems to be contraindicated for pregnancy.
Even though modern research is still catching up, many have turned to gravel root for its reputation as a timeless must-have natural remedy for a host of maladies.
Hopefully with more research by the scientific community, its numerous health effects will be discovered and more people can take advantage of the the many benefits of gravel root.