This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Matricaria vulgaris feu sativa C. B. Febrifuga Dorsten. Matricaria Parthenium Linn. Feverfew: a plant with firm branched stalks, and roughish leaves, each of which is composed of two or three pairs of indented oval segments set on a middle rib, with an odd one at the end, cut into three lobes: the flowers stand on the tops in the form of an umbel, consisting, each, of a number of short white petala, set round a yellow disk, which is followed by small striated seeds. It is biennial, or of longer duration; grows wild in hedges and uncultivated places, and flowers in June.
The leaves and flowers of feverfew have a strong, not agreeable smell, and a moderately bitter taste; both which they communicate, by warm infusion, to water and to rectified spirit. The watery infusions, infpiffated, leave an extract of considerable bitterness, and which discovers also a saline matter, both to the taste, and in a more sensible manner, by throwing up to the surface small crystalline efflorescences in keeping: the peculiar flavour of the matricaria exhales in the evaporation, and impregnates the distilled water: on distilling large quantities of the herb, a yellowish strong-scented essential oil is found floating on the surface of the water. Rectified spirit carries off but little of the flavour of this plant in evaporation or distillation: the spirituous extract is far stronger in taste than that made with water, and more agreeable in smell than the herb itself. The quantity of spirituous extract, according to Car-theuser's experiments, is only about one sixth the weight of the dry leaves, whereas the watery extract amounts to near one half.
This herb is recommended as a warm, aperient, carminative bitter; and supposed to be particularly serviceable in female disorders. It appears, from the above analysis, to be a medicine of no inconsiderable virtue, in some degree similar to camomile.