Herb: Muster-John-Henry

Latin name: Tagetes minuta

Synonyms: Tagetes glandulifera, Tagetes glandulosa

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Muster-John-Henry:

The whole plant is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative and stomachic. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, indigestion and internal worms. Externally, it is used to treat haemorrhoids and skin infections. The plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


120 cm
(4 feet)



Habitat of the herb:

Waste places and cultivated ground in S. Europe.

Edible parts of Muster-John-Henry:

The dried leaves are used as an aromatic seasoning for soups and vegetables. They give an apple-like flavour. An essential oil obtained from the distilled plant, harvested when in flower, is used as a flavouring in ice cream, baked goods, soft drinks etc.

Other uses of the herb:

This plant is widely used in companion planting schemes. Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs. These secretions are produced about 3 - 4 months after sowing. These root secretions also have a herbicidal effect, inhibiting the growth of certain plants growing nearby. It has been found effective against perennial weeds such as Ranunculus ficaria (Celandine), Aegopodium podagraria Ground elder), Glechoma hederacea (Ground ivy), Agropyron repens (Couch grass) and Convolvulus arvensis (Field bindweed). An essential oil distilled from the leaves and flowering stems, harvested when the plant is forming seeds, is used as an insect repellent. It is also used in perfumery. Dried plants can be hung indoors as an insect repellent.

Propagation of Muster-John-Henry:

Seed - sow March in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.

Cultivation of the herb:

Waste places and cultivated ground in S. Europe.

Known hazards of Tagetes minuta:

This species has an irritant sap that can cause dermatitis in sensitive people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.