Tansy the Bitter Button
Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy) is our rainbow plant profile for the month of October. It seems fortunate, that Tansy can still be found peppering the landscapes of our mountainous region in Montana, this late into the year.
I visited an area that I don’t frequent, on the hunt for this perennial. I walked an entire mile before I found her, right beside my car. Typically, tansy is easy to spot along roadsides and trails. This plant, hiding in plain sight, was covered in bugs. Often when I find tansy, I find critters adorning the buttons.
Some identifiers of Tanacetum vulgare are the parsley/fern like leaves, the purple stem and the button-like flowers. These characteristics make the common names bitter button and parsley fern legit. It can also grow to be approximately 5 feet tall, but I swear I’ve found some taller than that. It typically blooms from July to September in much of the US and Europe. But, as I mentioned, it is October here and she is still flourishing.
How do we use Tansy in our family?
This bitter button is a lovely addition to a skin regimen. It is in a product we make at Coming Up Rainbows called our Nourishing Face Serum. When this plant is distilled the essential oil turns blue. Magic. So, you’ll notice if you drop some of our Face Serum on your palm, it will have a blue tint to it. We put it in the serum, because it can be a support for skin problems and blemishes. And, it smells delightful.
We’ve also applied tansy topically to bruises and sprains.
If you’re a knitter, this plant can be used to dye wool, it will make numerous shades of yellow and green.
This isn’t a plant to be reckoned with.
I do not recommend consuming tansy. It is an emmenagogue which promotes menstruation, so if you are expecting, steer clear of tansy or check with your trusted health care professional. Historically, indigenous people made tea from the entire plant to induce abortion. In addition, an overdose of tansy can be fatal.
Meet the plant.
Here is a visit with some tansy in October 2022.
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