Native Americans used boneset to eliminate infection or disease through fever reduction, sweating, and bowel evacuation. They introduced the herb to the colonists, who adopted it to treat malaria and other diseases that cause fever. Boneset became popular during shortages of quinine, the main treatment for malaria at the time.
Boneset comes from the dried leaves and flowering tops of the perennial herb Eupatoriumperfoliatum, which grows throughout much of the United States and parts of Canada. Some people claim it got its name from its alleged ability to relieve dengue ("breakbone") fever. It was included in the United States Pharmacopeia, the legal compendium of drug standards, from 1820 to 1916 and the National Formulary from 1926 to 1950. However, the conventional medical community has never advocated its use. More recently, boneset has been included in homeopathic preparations and Herbal preparations.