Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1.  [b.1947, Liverpool] When I was young my great-aunt, who brought me up, gave me feverfew sandwiches.  I was chesty and had lots of headaches [Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, January 2019].

2.  [?1940s] My mother used a white flower, like a daisy, to treat headaches [West Dulwich, London, September 2014].

3.  My husband has had hay fever since his teens. Several years ago someone told him to soak some feverfew leaves in water for a few days and then drink the water. The taste was so bad he only had one mouthful [Barrowford, Lancashire, November 2013].

1424. We have a cottage in Derbyshire and the garden … has a lot of feverfew, which a traditional cure for migraines. [Putney, London, March 2011].

5. My mother was born in 1901 in Gt Wakering, in S.E. Essex. When she was turned 80 a neighbour encouraged her to write her memoirs … She included this:
If we had earache a red tile was heated in the oven, feverfew was placed on it and covered with a piece of flannel it was held to the ear.
It’s interesting that she pronounced the first e in feverfew soft, as in ‘tea’. Although this healing use had been remembered, it seems that any connection with fever was not recognised [Southend-on-Sea, Essex, February 1999].

6. Feverfew as a cure for headaches, depression, colds [Weobley, Herefordshire, August 1998].

7. Feverfew – I have used this for migraine, a few leaves in a bread and butter sandwich [Llanbedr, Gwynedd, February 1998].

8. Feverfew … good for migraines (1980s) [Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, January 1993].

Images: main, Norwood Road, Tulse Hill, London Borough of Lambeth, May 2014; inset, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, July 2015.