Thursday, August 22, 2013

Joe Pye - Named After a Native American Medicine Man

Joe Pye Weed, Purple Boneset, Kidney Root

It has been said that a native American medicine man named Joe Pye traveled throughout New England in the 1700s treating fevers using a plant still commonly found around central New York today. It was rumored he cured typhoid fever using the plant and that the colonists learned from him how to use the plant for medicinal purposes.

Supposedly the plant is also beneficial for treating kidney stones and other urinary tract symptoms. The leaves of the tall slender plant are used to make an infusion. Some reports note that when the leaves are crushed they give off a cedar and vanilla scent.

Joe Pye Weed is a tall plant growing four to six feet high.

Still, other native Americans have used the plant to treat burns and inflamed joints. Today, the common name for the plant is Joe Pye Weed. Other names for the plant include purple boneset and kidney root. Once again, testifying to the medicinal purposes of the plant.

The plant grows four to six feet high towering over anything near it. It holds several large puffy purple flower heads. Joe Pye Weed blooms in late summer and can be found along roadsides where there are small streams or moist ground. It survives long dry spells with its deep reaching roots.

There is one other explanation for the common name of the plant. Some people believe it comes from the native American word for typhoid - jopi.

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