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Tanacetum parthenium L. Family: Compositae, The Devil’s Daisy, Featherfew, Bachelor’s Button, Featherfoil, Midsummer Daisy, Chrysanthemum parthenium, Altamiza, and Pale Maids among others.


Feverfew is masses of one-inch, white, daisy-like flowers with large yellow centers rise on spindly stems above parsley-like leaves. It grows anywhere from eight to 24 inches tall, with a width of about the same range and can be propagated by seeds, cuttings and division. Sow them indoors in early spring in a seed tray using well draining starting mix. They are sometimes confused with Chamomile but it is not the same. Plant it in full sun, or in an area that receives a bit of light shade. Well-drained sandy or loamy soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.7 is perfect for these plants.


During the 5th Century BC, the Ancient Greeks referred to feverfew as Parthenium supposedly because it was used to save the life of someone who had fallen from the Parthenon during its construction in the 5th century BC. As such, it is believed that carrying feverfew, along with hyssop and rosemary, will protect the wearer from accidents. It was used as aspirin during the 18th century. It is believed to originate in Southeast Europe but popularized by the Greeks. They believed it protected from the plague and a mad dogs bite. Feverfew has been used since the first century, and perhaps even longer, as a medicinal herb. Derived from the Latin word, febrifugia, meaning "fever reducer," Feverfew was documented for its medicinal qualities by the Greek botanist, pharmacologist, and physican, Pedanius Dioscorides. Dioscorides was employed by the Roman Empire and wrote what was considered the physician's bible of medical wisdom, De Materia Medica, a five-volume pharmacopea encyclopedia widely read and used for more than 1,500 years.


Medicinally, this adorable little plant is good for assisting with reducing fevers, migraine headache relief (which it is most known and traditionally used for), possibly aiding in the relief from Rheumatoid arthritis, Stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites and possibly aid in infertility issues, problems with menstruation and ease pain during childbirth. It has also been known to be used in aiding the relief of psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus, dizziness, and nausea. It’s anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, antispasmodic, an emmenagogue and possibly used as an enema for worms. While this herb is widely used as an herbal remedy, those who have allergies to Ragweed may have an adverse reaction to it.


It was once believed that planting this flower by the house would help protect those inside from disease, especially during the Black Plague. It was also thought to cure those suffering from rejection of love and were heartbroken. Some believe it is protective for those who suffer from “accident prone disease”. It is also believed to be beneficial for breaking hexes.


Feverfew has been well documented being used for centuries or longer for health and metaphysically. While some firmly believe the “magickal” uses not all ascribe to them. What cannot be argued with is the medicinal benefits of this beautiful little flower. It is the undisputed champ for its versatility and efficacy medicinally, aesthetically and spiritually. A true trifecta! I have been fortunate to be able to find and harvest this little wonder in the wild here in Missouri. It is not as densely found here so my advice is to propagate your own little feverfew garden to be able to truly harvest the benefits of this spectacular herb! As spring is coming nearer, now is the time to take advantage and include it in your gardening plans. Happy Gardening and better yet… Happy Harvesting!!!

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