Herb Portrait Feverfew
Herbs have always fascinated me. They have such a wonderful variety of leaf-shape and colour, an amazing variety of scent and taste, an extraordinary number of uses and are such a pleasure to grow. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a good example. With its delicate ferny leaves it makes an attractive edging plant and from mid summer is has small clusters of: single white flowers with flat yellow centres.
In his Complete Herbal and English Physician Enlarged, the famous seventeenth century herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, claimed that feverfew in wine might help those ‘troubled with melancholy and heaviness or sadness of the spirit. This ancient remedy has been vindicated by modern research. Scientific investigation and clinical trials in the 1970s found that fever- few has properties which do relieve migraine headaches. It also eases the inflammation and pain of arthritis and improves digestion.
Feverfew is a bushy, hardy perennial and grows up to 24” high with a spread of 12”. It is an undemanding plant but likes full sun and a light or well-drained, fairly fertile soil. The leaves are aromatic and have a bitter taste. Golden feverfew makes a particularly attractive garden plant, especially in winter. Flowers can be dried and used to add colour to pot pourri and the dried leaves, which have a pungent smell, can be put into sachets to deter moths. Both flowers and leaves have medicinal value. And…feverfew seems to grow all over Chipperfield!
This being the first Chipperfield News and the first Unity page of 1998, may I take the opportunity of wishing you all a very happy and prosperous New Year? We are now of course into February with Christmas and New Year rapidly fading in our memories, and perhaps the new year is panning out much the same as the last. Around now the papers seem to be full of people who claim to know what the future holds for us, by looking at the stars or tea leaves or whatever. They feed on our curiosity and -lets face it – our anxiety about the future.
We are told that our busy modem lifestyle is full of stress and worry, but I wonder if things were really very different in the past. People have always worried about the future because the world has always been an unpredictable and risky place to live in. Reading about how Harvest Festivals were celebrated here in the village and elsewhere early last century, you get a sense of the sheer relief and joy that the harvest is in and that people will have enough to eat through the long winter. Today of course Harvest Festivals have lost that edge with our supermarkets bulging with food all year round.
But we do have our own worries:
mortgages, job security, global warming, health and family and time pressures, to name just a few. What we are all looking for in an uncertain and risky world is security and confidence as we go into an unknown future. But how and where are we going to find them?
You may have seen the advertisement on TV showing a large yacht ploughing through choppy seas with one of the all-female crew talking about their great adventure sailing around the world, with all the risks – whales and icebergs for instance – that it involved. Only at the end do you realise that it is an advertisement for the insurance company which sponsored and insured the yacht (no names, no free publicity on the Unity page!). The whole thrust of the commercial is ‘Dont worry, your future is safe with us.