Feverfew

Feverfew

tanacetum parthenium

Feverfew helps with headaches and congestion in the head. It is also a nervine.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Mayweed
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: Yes
  • Parts Used: Flowers & Leaves
  • Side Effects: Do not use in pregnancy
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About Feverfew

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is an herbaceous perennial and flowering plant that belongs to the family Asteraceae. The maximum height that the feverfew plant can reach is 30 inches. It has light yellowish-green, parsley-shaped leaves that give off a pungent smell. The flowers of the feverfew plant resemble daisy in both its colors and apparent features i.e. white small petal around the bright yellow disc.

Feverfew is mostly known for its famous legends that hail it for treating the fever and headache. Presently, it is used for treating migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, stomach pain, toothache, menstrual cramps, and insect bites. Feverfew is also a potent abortifacient and quite helpful in labor induction during childbirth.

Feverfew has also been reported to have anti-allergic properties and it can attenuate asthma, psoriasis, nausea, vomiting, and tinnitus.

The bitter taste of feverfew does not allow it to be an active participant of the culinary department. Some scientific researches claim it to be efficacious in curtailing the spread of cancer. An active ingredient, parthenolide is considered to induce apoptosis in cancer cells that help in decreasing the proliferation of cancer.

Growing

Feverfew prospers in full sun exposure or light shade with soil that supports good drainage like that of sandy or loamy, with pH that dangles from 6.0 to 6.7.

Fortunately, feverfew can be grown in both indoor and outdoor settings but the time of year matters a lot in both frames. For indoor plantation, the seeds of feverfew should be sown in late winters, whereas for an outdoor garden beds, seeds are sown after all the frost dangers have sailed. Also, transplantation of the cuttings or division of feverfew is another favorable option that helps in the propagation of plants.

Feverfew plant cannot tolerate dry conditions and needs water at any cost to keep its roots moist. A balanced fertilizer can be given to the crop, every spring, as a bonus to let it flourish.

Feverfew follows the footsteps of the perennial life cycle. It blooms from summer till mid-fall during which successful pollination processes occur. Although feverfew self-pollinates but when it is grown near plants that attract pollinating insects, chances are that there might be some help of bees in pollination.

The flowers of feverfew develop seeds inside them that kind of shoot out to disperse and help in the growth of new feverfew plants.

Harvesting

Feverfew plant is harvested after its second birthday i.e. on its second year from germination. The leaves and flowers of feverfew are harvested when the plant is in full bloom to attain a higher yield.

The leaves, flowers, and seeds of feverfew plant are mostly anticipated by people. The leaves and flowers can be easily plucked off of their joints while the seeds are obtained by pinching off the dried flowers.

Feverfew leaves and flowers are air-dried by in a well-ventilated room, out of sunlight. The dried plant material can then be stored in an airtight jar for later use.

Usage

Feverfew leaves and flowers can be used fresh or dried in making various formulations for seeking refuge from various ailments.

  • Tea - Fresh or dried feverfew leaves are steeped for 30 to 60 minutes to set the beneficial medicinal ingredients free and infuse with the water to make a perfect cup of feverfew tea.
  • Tincture - Infuse freshly chopped feverfew flowers and leaves in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place. 
  • Decoction - Dried leaves of feverfew are simmered in water for an hour and the plant material is strained to attain the decocted feverfew liquid.
  • Salve - Feverfew oil is used to make the salve.
  • Syrup - Freshly leaves of feverfew (chopped) are added to the simple sugar syrup or honey to make feverfew syrup.
  • Infused oil - Freshly feverfew leaves (chopped) are mildly heated with olive oil to make feverfew oil.