I have never grown feverfew but have given some thought over the years about doing so. One of the things that has kept this from happening is that it has natural bee repellant properties to it. Though this probably wouldn’t be an actual deterrent in the garden, it makes me pause. I try to grow things that attract bees (doing my part for the bee world). If this is something I finally decide to give a shot at growing this year, I think I will probably plant it away from the main garden so I can get a feel for it.
Feverfew looks a lot like chamomile with its small daisy-like flowers. The leaves of feverfew are noticeably different, though. The first photo below is of feverfew and the one below it is of chamomile.
It is a good thing to know which plant is which since both can be found growing wild. Should you come across either plant growing wild and decide to respectfully harvest some, it’s a good idea to know which plant it is since they have differing medicinal properties.
Feverfew has a hardiness rating for zones 5a thru 9b and likes to grow in full sun, though does quite well with partial shade. Plants get to be around 2 feet to 2-1/2 feet tall and grow in a bush-like fashion. As this herb is self-seeding, choosing a location where it won’t matter if it colonizes the area, or taking measures to prevent it from doing so, is important. It is my understanding that feverfew can be quite invasive, crowding out other plants within a couple of years if left unattended.
Feverfew, taken regularly, aids in the prevention of migraines. The whole plant can be used to make an infusion (tea), though it is more common that only the flowers and leaves are used. This infusion can used to reduce inflammation due to arthritis, aids in relieving cold symptoms and fevers, can be used as a mild sedative, and can help regulate menstrual cycles. Pregnant women should not take feverfew. Brewing a strong tea makes a great foot soak for swollen feet.
This herb also has insecticidal properties, mimicking pyrethrum. I’m not sure, and would have to do some more research about it, but I would think you could make a mild to strong tea, allow it to cool, and place it in a spray bottle to use on outdoor plants to help protect them from buggies. That’s just my thoughts on it, anyway. I’ll have to see if I can try this out this summer and I’ll get back to you on its results. Unless, that is, as I’m researching this possible use of feverfew, I find that it is strongly recommended against using feverfew this way, then I’ll update this post with that information.