Tanacetum Vulgare or Tansy is a herbaceous perennial with yellow flowers. It is native to Europe and Asia. It is part of the Aster family or Asteraceae. It is also known as Common Tansy, Cow Bitter, Golden Buttons, or Bitter Buttons.
Tanacetum Vulgare has compound foliage. And the flowers are like buttons. It has erect stems that are slightly reddish. It can grow to about 1.5m or 5ft. It flowers in the summer. It is an aromatic plant with a scent similar to rosemary.
Grow Tanacetum Vulgare in the sun. Plant it in sandy, and well-drained soil. The plants do attract bees and butterflies. You can propagate Tanacetum Vulgare from seeds. Sow in trays, in early spring. And transplant them outdoors later.
Tanacetum Vulgare as insect repelent:
It is used to deter flies. They even rub it on meat or set leaves next to it to deter flies. However, if the leaves and flowers are consumed in large quantity it is toxic. It contains Thujone which causes liver and brain damage. One insect that seems to be immune to it or Tansy Beetle or Chrysolina graminis, which actually feeds on it.
Greeks used Tanacetum Vulgare for medicinal purposes later it was used in France and Switzerland. They used it for digestive problems and treating intestinal worms, rheumatism, and fever. In the middle ages, Tansy was even used to induce abortions. They used it in baths in Ireland to help with joint pain.
Because of its insect repellent and worm warding properties, it was used in funerals in the 18th and 19th centuries. Even in the 1940s tansy oil has been used for insect repellants.
They also use Tansy or Tanacetum Vulgare in cooking, especially in puddings and omelets, but it is no longer being used. Native Americans used the oil for backaches or for dizziness.
Tanacetum Vulgare is traditionally planted next to potatoes to keep them healthy. It is hardy and not frost tender.