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Tanacetum parthenium

In late Anglo-Saxon lore, feverfew was a remedy for "elfshot" or flying venom, something like a severe stich in one's side or shooting pains in a particular area, that was considered the result of being struck by an arrow shot by an elf, a hag, or a god. In that case, feverfew was boiled with red nettle and waybread (plantain) in butter and rubbed into the pained area. This was applied together with a spoken charm.* Traditionally, feverfew was picked with the left hand only and the harvester should not look behind them when doing so. Gold leaf feverfew Feverfew contains the planetary metal for Jupiter (tin) but is usually considered to be a Venus plant on account of its use for menstrual cramps. Some have also pointed out that migraines tend to afflict women more than men and to occur more around one's period than not, also signalling the Venus character of this plant. Culpeper advised boiling feverfew in white wine for help in expelling the afterbirth. He also recommended the powdered herb in wine for people suffering from melancholy and sadness of spirits. To me it seems this plant also has a lot of Mercury qualities because of its use in migraine (works as a preventative), for headache and in lifting spirits. Some use feverfew in love magic because it is ruled by Venus, but I would advise instead it be used for rituals relating to the Mother because of its herbal uses. Because of its use as an insect repellent (protection against Martial creatures) in addition to its healing of elfshot, consider it also for protection against attack magic. I like to pair this plant with tansy and yarrow. They just seem to go together.

Mundane Uses

The dried flower buds have been used as a substitute for pyrethrum as a natural insect repellent. Dry the flowers and steep one cup in 1 liter/quart of hot soapy water for an hour, then use this as a spray against insects. It is said along these lines that bees do not like this plant. Feverfew is also known as Chrysanthemum parthenium, Pyrethrum parthenium (although it is not to be confused with pyrethrum), wild chamomile, (from Latin for fever chasing), altamisa, featherfew, featherfoil, flirtwort, febrifuge plant.

How to Grow Feverfew

Germinates in 7-14 days at room temperature. It's best to start this as transplants in the spring. Space transplants 8-12"/20-30cm apart in full sun to partial shade (it seems to do well in both). It gets 24-36"/60-90cm tall and is perennial to zone 5 (-20F/-29C). The small daisy blossoms make nice cut flowers. This herb self-sows very readily, so don't plant it in a perennial bed where you need to do a lot of weeding. I have mine growing around my large rose bush, which seems to be a good place for it. General growing info  

Elfshot Charm:

Loud they were, lo, loud when they rode over the mound.
They were fierce when they rode over the land.
Shield yourself now that you may escape this evil.
Out, little spear, if herein you be!
Stood under linden, under a light shield
where the mighty women readied their power and their screaming spears sent.
I back to them again wills end another,
a flying dart against them in return.
Out, little spear, if herein it be!
Sat a smith, forged he a knife, little iron strong wound.
Out, little spear, if herein it be!
Six smiths sat; war-spears they made.
Out, spear, not in, spear!
It herein be a bit of iron, hag's work, it shall melt.
If you were in the skin shot, or were in flesh shot,
or were in the blood shot, or were in bone shot,
or were in limb shot, may your life never be torn apart.
If it were Aesir shot, or if it were elves' shot,
or it were hag's shot, now I will help you.
This your remedy for Aesir shot; this your remedy for elves' shot;
This your remedy for hag's shot; I will help you.
It fled there into the mountains...no rest had it.
Whole be you now! Lord help you!
Then take the knife; dip into liquid. Top

Tanacetum parthenium
200 organic seeds $3.50



Get the dried herb

Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Protection from Attack Magic
Protection of Mothers
Venus Herb

2010, 2018 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission