The healing power of waterhemp

Waterhemp is a perennial plant with white flowers that can grow to a height of one meter to one and a half meters. Waterhemp is closely related to queen herb. This variety originally comes from North America. The plant has medicinal properties and is used in phytotherapy, homeopathy and folk medicine. It is mainly used for fever and colds. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Waterhemp / Source: H. Zell, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)


  • Naming
  • Waterhemp in history
  • Active ingredient
  • Waterhemp for flu
  • Dose and safety


The Latin name of waterhemp is Eupatorium perfoliatum . In Dutch the plant is called waterhemp and liverwort. Eupartorium is probably derived from ‘hepar’ which means liver in Latin. Perfoliatum literally means: leafing through and figuratively: continuing to grow. The plant is called waterhemp because it likes damp places. It is called hemp because its European cousin, royal weed, has leaves that are very similar to those of the cannabis plant. In the US the plant is called boneset and that refers to its beneficial effect on the bones. For example, it helps with dengue fever or dengue.

Waterhemp in history

Dioscorides, pioneer of medicine and herbal science from the first century BC, mentions waterhemp as a liver protectant in his book Materia Medica. By the way, Dioscorides had a variety in mind, namely the Eupatorium cannabinum or queen’s herb. Indians in North America knew waterhemp as a medicinal plant. They used it to sweat out a fever. It was also used for typhoid fever and mucosal inflammation.

Active ingredient

Waterhemp is an herb that grows above ground. It contains the following phytonutrients: essential oil with sesquiterpene lactones such as eupafolin, euperfolitin, eufoliatin, eufoliatorin, euperfolide, eucannabinolide and helenaline. Furthermore, it contains immune-stimulating polysaccharides, flavonoids in the form of quercetin, kaemferol, hyperoside, astragalin, rutin and eupatorin. It also contains gallic acid, resin, diterpenes such as dendroidic acid and hebenolide. It also contains sterols.

Waterhemp for flu

Waterhemp is perhaps the best remedy to relieve flu symptoms. Painful bones, muscles and joints are resolved by water hemp. The feeling of thirst also decreases during flu. The diaphoretic, antipyretic and analgesic effect are mainly responsible for this medicinal property. Furthermore, it is a laxative, an expectorant, which means that mucus is loosened and it is a stimulant for the immune system. For these reasons, waterhemp is used in phytotherapy for:

Waterhemp / Source: Jomegat, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Influenza or flu,
  • Grippal fevers,
  • feverish cold,
  • Acute bronchitis.

Waterhemp is recommended for rheumatic muscle pain resulting from damp weather.

Dose and safety

When used normally, waterhemp is a safe herb. There are only symptoms of vomiting when too much of this medicinal plant is taken. The therapeutic doses as used in phytotherapy are:

  • 2 to 4 ml of tincture three times a day in a ratio of 1:5.
  • Three times a day a hot cup of tea made by boiling one to two teaspoons of the dried herb for 12 minutes.