Feverfew, or Matricaria, L. a genus of plants consisting of six species, three of which are indigenous. The principal of these are:
1. The parthenium, or Common Feverfew, which grows in waste grounds, hedges, and walls, and flowers in June or July. This plant is refused by horses ; the whole has a strong, disagreeable smell, a bitter taste, and yields an essential oil by distillation. - It was formerly celebrated for its efficacy in hysteric, and other affections of the nerves ; as well as for its tonic, stomachic, and resolvent properties. Dr. Lewis, however, thinks it much inferior to chamomile, with which it agrees in all its sen-sible qualities, excepting that the common feverfew is much weaker. But its odour, taste, and other constituents, prove that it is a medicine of considerable activity. - In Germany, it has been usefully employed in tanning and currying leather.
2. The chamomilla, or Chamomile Feverfew, which grows in corn-fields, dung-hills, as well as on road-sides, and is in flower from May to August. Its properties are similar to those of the common chamomile: it is eaten by cows, goats, and sheep, but not relished by horses; and hogs totally refuse it. - According to Por-ner, the flowers of this species of feverfew afford a fine yellow pigment, which may be rendered more permanent by the addition of alum, cream of tartar, and gypsum.—• Scheffer, another German chemist, informs us, that a decoction of these flowers imparts a beautiful yellow colour to silk, if a solution of tin, saturated with cream of tartar, be gradually dropped into the liquor, till it acquires a deep yellow tinge. Berthollet, however, on this occasion remarks, that pure water must be employed, which does not precipitate the solution of tin, and that the dyeing lath should be kept in a hot, though not boiling state.