Feverfew Seed Pack


Tanacetum parthenium. 

A prolific producer of beautiful looking and bitter-tasting flowers, feverfew holds an esteemed place in herbalism having been so well researched as a treatment for migraines. 

The name feverfew is derived from the latin word ‘febrifugia’, meaning ‘fever reducer’, which is slightly misleading as it is rarely used for this purpose now. However, it has been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency of migraines as well as a number of other inflammatory issues (see ‘uses and benefits’ below). 

We would recommend growing feverfew in your garden even if you have no intention of harvesting it. Of all our herbs, there are few that produce more flowers than this. It is an easy plant to grow – it will grow almost anywhere so long as it is in full sunshine, and is remarkably resistant to drought: a good plant for parts of the garden where the sprinkler doesn’t reach and other plants refuse to grow. 

Sowing and Growing 

Feverfew is a low-maintenance, easy plant to grow. It can be sown indoors anytime from early spring, or sown directly outdoors once the soil has warmed up a bit. Scatter seeds on the surface and press into the soil; do not cover with soil as the seed requires light to germinate and keep damp. Transplant or thin with a spacing of 30cm between plants. 

It is a sun-loving plant that – once established – can tolerate long periods without watering. It will grow in very poor soils (even in gravel and cracks between paving stones), so be bold in your positioning and perhaps try growing it in sunny corners that you might not normally consider. 

Uses and Benefits

Use Feverfew wherever there is inflammation or heat. This is notable for use in headaches and migraines with sensitivity to light and heat. It may also be of use in allergies as it inhibits histamine secretion. Its interface with the arachidonic inflammation modulating pathway reveal its use for early-onset arthrtic issues. And, of course, its name tells us that it has been used to clear fevers, as many true bitter herbs do. 

Feverfew contains a sesiquterpene lactone constituent known as parthenolide, which is believed to be one of the ingredients involved in the anti-inflammatory and migraine preventing properties of the herb. However, it breaks down rather rapidly once the plant is harvested or extracted and this may be why feverfew leaves work best for migraines in the fresh form. 

As King’s American Dispensatory says, feverfew is a “tonic, carminative, emmenagogue, vermifuge, and stimulant. This agent is one of the pleasantest of the tonics, influencing the whole intestinal tract, increasing the appetite, improving digestion, and promoting secretion, besides having a decided action upon the renal and cutaneous functions.” The note that it is ‘one of the pleasantest’ of tonics only indicates how bad so many medicines tasted of old. 

Harvesting and Preparing 

Harvest the aerial parts when feverfew is in full flower and its at its most potent- probably in June or July. 

As its best when used ‘cold’ either take one fresh leaf three times a day or mascerate the fresh plant in 50% alcohol for a couple of weeks. Take half a teaspoon every few hours for acute migraines. 

The crushed leaves and flowers can be used as a poulitice for aching joints and muscles. 

Feverfew should not be used in pregnancy

One potential downside of the sesquiterpene lactones is that they can act as mild to potent allergens for susceptible individuals. Reported reactions have ranged from varying degrees of allergic contact dermatitis all the way up to severe anaphylaxis requiring emergency treatment. Because these compounds are so widely distributed among the Asteraceae, cross reactions can easily occur. A person might become sensitized to the sesquiterpene lactones in one plant (e.g., Ragweeds – Ambrosia spp.) and subsequently will have a reaction to a novel species (e.g., Chamomile or Yarrow) in the family. This is why the herbalist should be cautious when using Asteraceae herbs with people who have a tendency toward respiratory and contact allergies or problems with chronic eczema / atopic dermatitis. 

Certified organic. Minimum 350 seeds per pack.