Herb: Mayweed

Latin name: Anthemis cotula

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Mayweed:

Mayweed is closely related to camomile, but is far less effective as a medicine. It has been used as an antispasmodic and to induce menstruation and was traditionally used to treat supposedly hysterical conditions related to the uterus. It is rarely used in contemporary herbal medicine. The whole plant is antispasmodic, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue and tonic. It is used internally as a tea, which can be made either from the flowers or the whole plant, though the flowers are less unpleasant and so are more commonly used. An infusion is used in the treatment of a variety of complaints such as rheumatism, epilepsy, asthma, colds and fevers. Applied externally, it is used as a poultice on piles or to draw splinters out of the body, and can also be applied to the bath water. The leaves are rubbed onto insect stings. Some people are allergic to the plant and this remedy could give them painful blisters. This herb is contraindicated for pregnant women or nursing mothers.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

July to


Habitat of the herb:

Waste places usually on heavy soil.

Edible parts of Mayweed:

The herb is used as a flavouring in Peru. It is aromatic. Caution is advised, there are some reports of toxicity. A herb tea is made from the flowers in a similar way to camomile tea and it has a similar though weaker effect medicinally. The odour is not very pleasant and so it is not commonly used.

Other uses of the herb:

The growing and the dried plant is said to repel mice and fleas, it can also be used as an insecticide. A gold dye is obtained from the whole plant.

Propagation of Mayweed:

Seed - best sown outdoors as soon as it is ripe. Most of the seed germinates in the autumn.

Cultivation of the herb:

Waste places usually on heavy soil.

Known hazards of Anthemis cotula:

The whole plant is penetrated by an acrid juice, touching or ingesting the plant can cause allergies in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.