Gravel Root

We are still researching and writing the content for this herb entry in our Herb Reference Guide. Thanks for your patience as we compile useful information on the more than 150 herbs in our materia medica.

What is Gravel Root?

This plant can be found stretching it’s tall purple, perennial flowers towards the sun in moist woodlands throughout the Northwest, Central and Eastern parts of the US and Canada. It’s referred to frequently as “Joe Pye Weed” after a legend of a Native American in New England named Joe Pye (Jopi) who used the plant to treat various ailments.* It’s also sometimes referred to as Queen of the Meadow, another name that harkens to the stately nature of this fine specimen. It does tower over other plants when it’s in bloom sometime up to 5 or 6 feet tall. There were several uses of this plant among Native Americans, including a wash for burns made from a poultice of the fresh leaves by the Potawatomi, and an infusion of the entire plant used by the Iriquois as a wash called “little water medicine”.* Since it grows near water it is a signature of the plant to be used for things related to fluids in the body.* Ingenious uses by Native Americans involved using the hollow stems to drink water from nearby sources.

What is Gravel Root Used For?

Much of the recorded use of this plant relates to internal preparations to support the body during times of stress.* Three of the known constituents, Kaempferol, Quercetin and Rutin have all shown promise in research surrounding their antioxidant properties.*

Uses and Benefits of Gravel Root


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents of Gravel Root

Eupatorin, gallic acid, gum, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin, tannic acid

Parts Used

  • Root

Important Precautions

For external use only. Nursing mothers should not apply to the breast area.

Additional Resources

Smith, Huron H. 1933 Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7:1-230 (p. 52)

Herrick, James William 1977 Iroquois Medical Botany. State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis (p. 455)

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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