Growing Feverfew

July 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

Feverfew is a perennial herb. Feverfew can grow up to two feet. Its leaves are brightly colored and have an aromatic smell, but somewhat bitter taste. The plant will live through a mild winter if placed in a sheltered spot.

Country people have long been accustomed to make curative uses of this herb.

Feverfew has been used as far back as the ancients Greeks. It was listed in their medical literature as remedy for headaches, menstrual discomfort, inflammation, and the reduction of fever. Until the 1700’s, it remained the leading use for headaches, and for rheumatic aches and pains.

Feverfew will grow anywhere, even in bad soil and among weeds.

Cultivation

Propagation can be done by seed, by division of roots and by cuttings.

Sow in February or March, thin out, and transplant early in June to permanent location. They will establish themselves quickly.

For division, lift the plants early spring, or whenever the roots are in an active condition, and with a sharp spade, divide them into three or five pieces.

For cutting, take a young shoot with a heel of the old plant attached, to assist in their rooting. Insert any time from October to May. Shorten the foliage to about 10 cm. While rooting they need shade.

Maintenance

Low maintenance. Will grow anywhere, anytime. Is self-seeding too. Feverfew will grow between the cracks in a sidewalk or a wall, a weedy garden, a rocky slope. And a great companion plant as it attracts aphids (away from the other plants).

Remove flowers as needed to have the plant focus its energy on leaf production.

Enemies


Toad land ~ 100m from the house.
Uploaded by prlwytskofski
on 21 Jun 10, 6.37AM PDT.

Do keep an eye out for snails, slugs and black fly. For the latter, try peppering the plants; for the others use soot, ashes or lime. Toads will keep a garden free of slugs. We have loads of toads. They are living in Toad land and come out every evening, all the way up to the house.

Harvesting

Cut fresh leaves for use as needed, and/or dry and store in an airtight container. Store no longer than 120 days to maintain full effectiveness. In freezer for longer.

Remedies

The main chemical constituents of feverfew are its volatile oil components, dominated by camphor and chrysanthenyl acetate, sesquiterpene lactones notably panthenolide and flavonoids. Parthenolide, long thought to be the main active anti-migraine principle of feverfew leaf has now been indicated to be irrelevant to that activity.

The flowers, stems and roots can be used also, but the leaves contain the most of the pain-killing function. Some people just chew the leaves, but they have a mildly bitter taste.

The leaves can be used to make a headache tonic; a tincture for relief from insect bites; a tea to calm nerves and soothe coughs and aid in breathing. The tea is also useful in case of menstrual cramping, but please don’t use if you are pregnant (it is a carminative).

If you suffer from migraine I recommend taking the leaves or teas on a daily basis for maximum effectiveness.

In addition, the leaves tend to repulse insects in the garden and home.

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