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September 2010
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Feverfew – A plant with medicinal properties, helps in reducing fever

Feverfew is derived from the Latin word febrifugia, meaning “fever reducer”. Also known as Tanacetum parthenium, it belongs to the family of sunflowers and chrysanthemums. The leaves of the plant are greenish yellow with a citrus scent and flowers are tiny yellow, resembling daisies. It is mostly mistaken for Chamomile, because of its resemblance to the plant. The feverfew plant can be grown easily and is found commonly in places like rocky slopes, wastelands, walls etc. Feverfew is edible and has many medicinal properties. It has been used as a remedy for fevers, headaches and arthritis in Europe for centuries now. The plant contains a compound “parthenolide”, that is said to be the main reason behind its migraine relieving effect. It’s also used in the treatment of other health problems like asthma, menstrual irregularities, skin conditions and stomach aches. Feverfew is native to south-eastern Europe and Asia, but has naturalized itself widely all over, and as such, it is not very fussy about growing conditions.

Growing a Feverfew plant

1. Pick a site where sunlight is available in abundance. Soil should be well drained and fertile. A little shade to protect from the hot afternoon sun is desirous.
2. Plant the seeds in spring, directly in the ground. Even out the soil with a trowel and disperse the seeds, covering them with a thin layer of soil and water. Water them regularly until they are firmly established.
3. If u want to plant container grown fever few, spring would be the best time. Place the plant in a hole, twice the size of the base of the plant. Fill the hole back with soil and water generously. Keep a space of 1-2 feet between the plants.
4. During summer, remove any dead flowers, by pinching them off the stem, if u don’t want self seeding to occur, and new feverfew plants to pop out of the ground.
5. Apply mulch at the base of the plant during winter, to protect it from cold conditions.

Caring for your Feverfew

1. Mix a good quantity of organic matter into the soil like peat moss and aged manure before planting the seeds or the plant.
2. Mulch should also be applied around the plant during summer, to prevent moisture loss from the roots and check the growth of weeds. This mulch could be anything like leaf debris, bark chips etc.
3. Soil should be kept well watered around the plant. This plant dies out, if kept in draught like conditions.
4. To control the plant from self seeding, prune off spent flower heads.
5. Foliage should be cut down to ground level, when it dies at the start of winter. The feverfew plant will return back in spring.

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