Tanacetum is a genus of about 150 species in the family Asteraceae, native to many regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
They can be annuals, perennials or sub-shrubs, with feathery aromatic leaves and daisy-like or button-like flowers on woody stems. Some species have yellow disk florets and no ray florets, while others have both ray and disk florets, usually in yellow or white. The most popular species is Tanacetum vulgare, commonly known as Tansy.

Name meaning

The genus name is derived from an altered form of the Greek word “athanasia”, which means “immortality”, in reference to the long-lasting flowers or to its use as an embalming herb.

Tanacetum symbolism

Tanacetum symbolizes protection, health, resistance and immortality.

Its stability and resistance was expressed in the following poem by Arthur Ketchum:
„When by the roadsides in the sun
I see the tansy’s gold and green,
I know that there in other days
Hearthstone and love and life have been.
There is no need of other sign
To mark the years of labor spent;
For all the dream, for all the hope,
The tansy stands as monument.”

Interesting facts about Tanacetum

Is Tanacetum Invasive?

This plant is known for its invasive nature. It may be a weed, but does have certain benefits if planted in the right areas.

Is Tanacetum Toxic?

Be careful if you plan to take this herb internally because Tanacetum is known for its toxic properties!
Due to its toxicity, the use of this plant is now considered obsolete by modern scientific herbalism. Never use internally in pregnancy or lactation!

Benefits and Uses

This plant has a long history of use in traditional and folk medicine, though it is little used in modern herbalism.
Tanacetum was used by ancient healers to treat fever, indigestion, rheumatism and intestinal worms. Among other things, it was also used to relieve pain and to diminish menstrual difficulties.

Tanacetum is a good insecticide and is highly toxic to arthropods.
Its parasite-repelling properties make it an excellent embalming herb. It was used as an embalming herb, either placed around a corpse or used to line a coffin. In Ancient Greece, it would be rubbed onto corpses and into embalming sheets before burial to deter worms.

It was also used to preserve meat before refrigerators were common.

Tanacetum Plant Data