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History and Folklore

Tansy tea has a long history and has been featured in much folk lore. Though some of the uses for this plant are unsubstantiated, there are many others for which it is believed to work. Tansy is a large herb that can grow to a height of 3 feet. Though the plant is native to Europe and Asia, it can be found throughout the United States today. Both the flowering top of the herb and the dried leaves are incorporated into the tea made from this herb. Tansy has a distinct flavor that may also be used in food products.

Tansy plants vary widely as to the amount of volatile oils they contain, so subsequent teas can vary in potency as well. One plant can have almost no oils while another may be very dangerous. It’s impossible to tell the potency of a plant you harvest yourself without chemical analysis, so use tansy with extreme care. Tansy tea is a very tricky product to make yourself. Most doctors recommend using only prepared tansy tea bags. You should also consult with your doctor about the proper dosage before you use this plant. In large doses, tansy can be extremely dangerous, and even fatal.

Historically, tansy was used throughout the middle ages for both medicinal properties and everyday purposes. A tansy tea was believed to cure the body of worms. It was also used as a treatment for fever, measles, rheumatism and various digestive ailments. Splashed on the face, it was used to lighten and cleanse the skin. Strangely, tansy was used both as a means to help conceive a child and as a way to induce abortions. Tansy has been used as a bug repellant for centuries. This use is one that still survives. Tansy in your garden, or cut in your home, can be very effective for repelling insects.

Tansy is still used today to treat a variety of medical problems. Though the Greek’s believed tansy could impart immortality, its modern day uses are much milder. Tansy tea may be used as a treatment for stomach problems such as gas, ulcers, and stomach pains. It may be used in some cases as a treatment for joint pain, nerve pain, and even migraines. Tansy can cause very serious side effects if used improperly including seizures, vomiting and hallucinations. In high doses it can even be fatal. You should not use tansy if you are allergic to ragweed or other similar plants.

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