Erakina

PLANTS TO KNOW – FEVERFEW; A Rare combination of Beauty and Utility.

Published Date : February 7, 2022

Overview

Feverfew or Tanacetum Parthenium is a flowering plant of the Asteraceae family.  It is commonly found in European countries but now it is cultivated all around for its medicinal character.  It is both annual and perennial.  If the climate is cool it will bloom annually. It can be evergreen if it gets good sunlight.

This name is derived from the Latin word Febrifugia, meaning medicine for fever.  For centuries, this plant has been used to treat fever and headache, particularly migraine.  It’s also useful for treating inflammatory conditions.  Migraine is a health condition where the patient will have moderate to severe headaches on both sides of the head along with throbbing and palpitating.

Feverfew is a wonderful herb used both as a gardening plant and as a medicine.
Feverfew plants growing in sun
  • Colour of the Flower.

Though it is cultivated as a medicinal plant, it is also a pet for gardeners as its flowers are very beautiful and invasive in character, spreading quickly to larger areas without any human effort.It has a height of about one inch and resembles the flowers of white Daisy.  It is a flower with large yellow centers in the middle rising on a spindly stem with parsley-like leaves.

  • Habitat

Primarily a native of the Balkan Peninsula, it is now grown in most of Europe, Japan, America, China, Australia, and some North African countries.   The plant can be grown along roadsides,  Wastelands, and along the borders of Fencing making it a good natural appeal to the landscape.

  • Other Names

Though the common name is FeatherFew, it is also known by other names such as Chrysanthemum parthenium, Bachelor’s Button, Featherfoil, Febrifuge Plant, Midsummer Daisy, Santamaria, etc.

It can withstand a climate of around -29C. That’s the reason it is growing abundantly well in European countries where the winter is harsh.  It likes to get sunlight or partial afternoon shade.  They bloom heavily but die after two or three summer periods.  So it’s better to cut blossoms to make the plants live and bloom for a long period.

Anything above the root of this plant has medicinal properties.  It has a variety of active compounds like flavonoids and volatile oils, but the important one is Parthenolide which is abundantly found in the leaves of the plant.  This chemical may be behind most of the health benefits these wonder plants exhibit.

It is used to treat arthritis and inflammation and is widely consumed to treat migraine.  It helps reduce uterine contractions and treats menstrual periods and menstrual pain.  It can be applied to the areas affected by insect bites.

The American Botanical Council in their website has published a study conducted at the Hillel Yaffe Hospital, Hadera, Israel.  The study was on 57 patients from the age group of 9 to 65 years.  The median age was at 38 years.The treatment was for two months, with a daily dose of 100 mg of Feverfew leaves.  The patients exhibited significant improvement in migraine pain intensity and severity of other migraine symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to noise and light.(http://herbalgram.org/resources/herbalgram/issues/42/table-of-contents/article543/)

Feverfew Tea is also gaining momentum among tea lovers, particularly among those who suffer migraine.  It is just like green tea and has got a series of health benefits such as controlling fever, irregular menstrual periods, allergies, Asthma, inflammations, skin disorder, and vomiting.

Some people complain of upset stomach, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation when used continuously above four months.Chewing fresh leaves can create mouth sores, swelling of the mouth, and loss of taste.

Not safe for pregnant ladies and Lactating mothers.

Don’t use feverfew if you are a pregnant lady.  There is a possibility of early contractions and miscarriage.  Also, there are contradicting statements regarding the consumption of feverfew by lactating mothers.  Until a proper and reliable study and its result is published, it is better to say no to feverfew and its products.

Do not consume before surgery

Feverfew has got the ability to slow down blood clotting.  So those who have a surgery schedule should stop consuming this plant well two weeks before surgery.  Also if anyone has a bleeding disorder,  it is advisable not to use this plant.

Feverfew is best suited for decoration besides its medicinal properties.

Once planted, it will spread rapidly since it has an invasive character.  It likes sunlight to grow better and shady afternoon sunlight.  The ideal time to plant this sapling is in the afternoon when the dews are fully dried out.  Use the best sapling, discarding any parts of the plant which are damaged or not healthy.  Cut the foliage with a sharp knife, and plant the stem in the moist soil. If you are using the seed, allow the seed to dry well after the plants stop flowering.   Separate it from flowers and immerse it in the ground 8 to 12 inches apart from each other.  The ideal time for harvesting is when it starts flowering, generally in mid-summer.  Since the leaves have maximum health benefits, they can be harvested throughout the season.  Once the flower is in full bloom, it can be harvested.

Since it is an invasive plant, it does require only minimum care.  Water is the most important one.  Fertilizers are not required, still mild use of organic compounds will help the flower bloom in full health.

  • Soil type

Soil should be fertile and well-drained.  It also grows well in damp soil.  If the soil is fertile, no need of adding fertilizer otherwise use the fertilizer to compensate for the infertility of the soil.

  • Watering

Watering is very important and should be watered a couple of times a week. The roots should be moist throughout the year.  It does not like dry conditions and prefers to grow in moist soil

  • Pruning 

Pruning is not required as it is an invasive plant and reseeds quite liberally.  Remove old and dried stems and flowers to allow fresh ones to propagate well and getting enough space for them is important.  If we wish to control it’s overspreading, Deadheading is the better solution through which we can avoid seeds falling into the ground.

It has got high immunity and is relatively disease-free, but be prepared to face some occasional problems which affect the quality and quantity of the leaves and flowers.

If Aphids become an issue, spray water from the hose which will keep Aphids away from the plant.  Use soap oil and cooking oil mix diluted in water and spray on foliage whenever there is a sign of aphids in the plant.

Slugs are capable of making holes in leaves.  We have to handpick and destroy them. Also putting coffee powder waste on the ground sprinkled around will keep the slug away from the plant.

Aster yellows disease can become a threat you may face.  The best way to fight is to prevent the plants from getting the disease.  Kill the bugs using insecticidal chemicals thus protecting the plant from bugs.

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