tanacetum vulgare

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: No
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used:
  • Side Effects: Do not use in pregnancy
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About Tansy

Tansy is an aster family herbaceous perennial that is commonly known as bitter buttons, golden buttons, or cow bitter. Tansy is marked by the presence of compound leaves on a reddish stem. The plant also bears yellow-colored flowers that depict the shape of a flat button. The flowers impart a camphor-like scent that has some notes of rosemary.

The leaves and tops of tansy usually complement sweet and savory dishes. But apart from being incorporated in puddings, tansy is also availed for preparing medicines due to its staggering health perks. Tansy’s amazing anthelminthic property is known to kill threadworms and roundworms in children. Its antiepileptic property can control the onset of seizures. Also, tansy can shorten the duration of cold and flu.

Tansy induces diaphoresis (sweating) in individuals with high fever to reduce the temperature. Quite surprisingly, the tiny leave of tansy can remarkably treat tuberculosis, gout, and urinary tract infections. It calms the nerves by bringing equilibrium in excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, which is quite helpful in treating hysteria.  

However, if the leaves and tops are consumed a little over-aggressively then they are liable to induce toxicity because they contain a toxic compound called thujone. Thujone can predispose the consumer to contract brain, liver, and kidney damage. It is recommended to consult the dose of tansy medicinal preparation with a physician/pharmacist to avoid such hazardous episodes of unwelcome disorders.


Tansy is a drought-tolerant plant that can be started both indoors and outdoors. For indoor plantation, tansy is recommended to be started with seeds at least eight weeks prior to the last frost date in spring. Tansy can also be started via cuttings or division but in autumn. In case of the outdoor plantation, tansy seeds are sown in the soil after all the dangers of frost have departed.

It requires weakly acidic soil that should be kept moist until the germination of seeds. Also, the seeds must be thinly covered to let the sunlight and air reach them.

Tansy seeds take around 3 to 4 weeks to sprout and grow out shoots and roots. The shoots immediately start producing compound green leaves. From July to August, the tansy plant stays in the bloom phase. The vibrant yellow flowers signal the insects to pollinate the plant to make way for the seeds.

The seeds of tansy are light-weighted and self-sow readily to begin a new lifecycle again.


Tansy leaves and flowers are harvested when the plant I blooming .i.e. from July to August.

The leaves and flowers of tansy are harvested with sharp shears or knives.

The stalks containing leaves and flowers tied with a thread and hung upside down in a well-ventilated region, away from the direct sunlight. The crispy plant parts are crumpled and stored in airtight container.



Tansy plant is readily being employed in different medicinal preparations to seek its versatile health benefits.

  • Tincture - Infuse dried chopped tansy flowers in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - Dried tansy leaves are boiled in water for 5 to 10 minutes and strained to yield tansy tea.
  • Decoction - Tansy flowers are boiled in water until the volume of water reduces to half (from the originally taken volume) to form tansy decoction.
  • Salve - Tansy infused oil can be merged with melted beeswax to form tansy salve.
  • Syrup - Tansy leaves or flowers are rolled with sugar solution for 20 minutes and strained to form tansy syrup.
  • Infused oil - Tansy flowers and leaves are placed in olive oil (or any other carrier oil) and infused for 2 to 3 weeks on a sunny windowsill to form tansy infused oil.