The flowers have a unique flavour and are eaten or used as a garnish.A bitter, somewhat lemon-flavoured tea is made from the leaves and flowering stems.
The plant is used as a strewing herb in cellars, churches etc in order to repel insects. Both the growing and the dried plant are said to repel flies, ants and fleas, especially if they are mixed with elder leaves (Sambucus spp.). The leaves and the flowering shoots contain 0.15% of an essential oil that contains camphor, borneol and thujone. Both the leaves and the oil and they have been used to kill fleas and lice. Thujone is an effective insecticide, but it is highly toxic to mammals when taken in excess.The plant is a good addition to the compost heap, being valued for its mineral content.
The leaves and flowering tops are anthelmintic, antispasmodic, bitter, carminative, emmenagogue, stimulant and tonic. An infusion of the leaves or whole plant is used to treat menstrual irregularities and as an anthelmintic, especially for children. It is also valuable in treating hysteria, kidney weaknesses, stomach problems, fevers and also as an emmenagogue. In larger doses the plant can procure an abortion, though these doses can be poisonous. Externally, tansy is used as a poultice on swellings and some eruptive skin diseases. It is also used externally to kill lice, fleas and scabies, though even external use of the plant carries the risk of toxicity. The plant is harvested as it is coming into flower and is dried for later use.The seeds are used as an anthelmintic.
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Tansy is occasionally grown in the herb garden, though a site for growing this plant should be selected with care since it usually spreads very aggressively at the roots. There are some named varieties. 'Fernleaf' is a more decorative compact form to about 75cm, it does not spread so quickly. A good plant to grow in the orchard, when grown under fruit trees, raspberries, roses etc it repels insects from them.The flowering plant attracts hoverflies and butterflies.
Problems, pests & diseases
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