Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

Chrysanthemum parthenium. Matricaria parthenium.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Tanacetum parthenium

The dried flower buds are a source of an insecticide. They are said to have the same properties as pyrethrum (obtained mainly from T. cinerariifolia)[61, 100, 201]. Steep 1 cupful of the dried flowers in one litre of hot soapy water for an hour. Strain, then allow to cool slightly before use[201].

An essential oil from the plant is used in perfumery[7].

  • Medicinal Use

    Feverfew has gained a good reputation as a medicinal herb and extensive research since 1970 has proved it to be of special benefit in the treatment of certain types of migraine headaches and rheumatism[238, K]. It is also thought of as a herb for treating arthritis and rheumatism[254].

    The leaves and flowering heads are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, aperient, bitter, carminative, emmenagogue, sedative, stimulant, stings, stomachic, vasodilator and vermifuge[4, 7, 21, 36, 46, 53, 100, 165]. The plant is gathered as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use[7]. Use with caution[165], the fresh leaves can cause dermatitis and mouth ulcers if consumed[238]. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238].

    A tea made from the whole plant is used in the treatment of arthritis, colds, fevers etc. It is said to be sedative and to regulate menses[222, 238]. An infusion is used to bathe swollen feet[257].

    Applied externally as a tincture, the plant is used in the treatment of bruises etc[7].

    Chewing 1 – 4 leaves per day has proven to be effective in the treatment of some migraine headaches[222].

  • Edible Use

    The dried flowers are used as a flavouring in cooking certain pastries[177, 183]. The plant is used in cooking to impart a deliciously aromatic bitter taste to certain foods[7].

    A tea is made from the dried flowers[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the pot to dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown outdoors in situ during the spring. Plants usually self-sow freely and so, once you have the plant, further sowing is usually unnecessary[K]. Division in spring. Since the plants are quite short-lived, this method is not really very serviceable[K].
A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[1]. Thrives in any kind of soil[7], plants can even be grown in walls[219]. Often grown in the flower garden, feverfew is a short lived perennial but usually self-sows prolifically[7, K]. There are many named varieties selected for their ornamental value[238]. The cultivar ‘Golden’ (syn ‘Yellow’) has yellow tinted leaves[183]. The leaves have a refreshing aromatic aroma[245].
S.E. Europe to Asia. Naturalized in Britain[17].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.