Bellis perennis

Family Compositae
Genus Bellis
Species perennis

Synonyms and Common names: 
Bruisewort. (Scotch) Bairnwort. (Welsh) Llygad y Dydd (Eye of the Day).

Description and Habitat:  The common daisy is well known to all gardeners as the proverbial weed in the lawn, but in fact it is a beautiful flower and herb in its own right. The flower headstands at the top of a straight thin stalk, with white petals, often tinged with pale to deep pink. The leaves grow from the base of the herb in a rosette of oval leaves which are so close to the ground that nothing can grow beneath them.  Habitat is lawns and meadows, although it will grow in woodlands and shady places, and is in flower from early spring to late autumn. The herb is perennial, and is self-pollinating, having flowers that are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, beetles.

Parts used: Flowers and leaves.

Harvesting and storage: Flavour can vary with growing conditions and cultivars. Conduct a taste test before harvesting large amounts of a particular flower. Flowers should be picked in the cool of the day after the dew has evaporated. For maximum flavour choose flowers at their peak. Avoid flowers that are not fully open or that are past their prime.  Dry flowers between two paper towels in a dry, dark, warm place. Put into glass jars when thoroughly dry and keep out of sunlight, a dry cupboard is ideal, or use coloured glass if possible. Leaves are dried and stored in the same way, harvesting them throughout the year and discarding any that are discoloured and past their best.

Constituents  Saponins, tannin, essential oil, flavones, bitter principle, mucilage.

Actions: Expectorant, astringent, vulnerary.

Indications: Anodyne; Antispasmodic; Antitussive; Cancer; Demulcent; Digestive; Emollient; Expectorant; Laxative; Ophthalmic; Purgative; Tonic.

Therapeutics and Pharmacology: Daisy is one of our most common plants, useful for coughs and catarrh, for arthritis, rheumatism and liver and kidney problems, it is also useful for diahrrea. It gives mild pain relief, relaxes and warms muscles, aids the digestive process and will soothe irritated eyes. Daisy is often used in mouthwash to alleviate mouth sores and dryness during chemotherapy for cancer.

Contraindications. Daisy can be taken and used freely.


Preparation and dosage:
Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water over 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 3 times a day.

Tincture: Take 2 to 4ml of the tincture 3 times a day.

Additional comments:
In Scotland, the common Daisy is the 'Bairnwort,' testifying to the joy of children in gathering it for daisy-chains.

The roots, too, have a penetrating pungency, containing some tannic acid, and there was once a popular superstition (to which Bacon refers) that if they are boiled in milk and the liquid given to puppies, the animals will grow no bigger
It is claimed that neither cattle nor insects will eat the herb daisy because of its acrid tasting leaves.

The flowers of the Daisy can be eaten, they have a sweet yet tangy taste and are delicious as part of a salad.

Daisies are associated with St John and are an important part of the decorations for midsummer nights festivities, they are an emblem of fidelity and have been used to promote love. The chant “she loves me, she loves me not” like the petals of the daisy are plucked one by one, with the last one giving the answer. Another chant whilst plucking the petals is “this year, next year, sometimes, never, to predict when marriage would come.

Another one related to marriage is this. With eyes closed tight, a female pulls a handful of grass, the number of daisies pulled up with the grass tells her when she will be married.

It was once said that whoever picked the first daisy of the season was filled with sensuous feelings. It was also believed you will increase the chances of a wayward lovers return if you slept with a daisy root under your pillow.

Another myth says that if you step on seven daisies at one time you will certainly know that summer has arrived.

Daisies were once dedicated to Artemis and considered female as they were useful in treating women’s ailments, but the association was removed upon the arrival of

To dream of daisies in springtime is considered ‘good luck’, whilst strangely enough the term ‘fresh as a daisy’ means full of life and energy, whilst ‘pushing up daisies’ is a reference to being dead.

Daisies symbolize innocence and purity. This stems from an old Celtic legend. According to the legend, whenever an infant died, God sprinkled daisies over the earth to cheer the parents up.

In Norse mythology, the daisy is Freya’s sacred flower. Freya is the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, and as such the daisy came by symbolise childbirth, motherhood, and new beginnings. Daisies are sometimes given to congratulate new mothers.

According to some old writers, the generic name is derived from the Latin bellus (pretty or charming), though others say its name is from a dryad named Belidis. The common name is a corruption of the old English name 'day's-eye,' and is used by Chaucer in that sense:

'Well by reason men it call maie
The Daisie, or else the Eye of the Daie

They also mean chastity and transformation because of the Roman myth of Vertumnus and Belides. Vertumnus, the god of seasons and gardens, became enamoured with Belides, a nymph. He continuously pursued her, and in order to escape his affections, she turned herself into a daisy. Daisy’s scientific name Bellis, stems from this story.

Daisy’s are composite flowers, meaning that they actually consist of two flowers combined into one. The inner section is called a disc floret, and the outer petal section is called a ray floret. Because daisies are composed of two flowers that blend together so well, they also symbolize true love.

In Old English, daisies were referred to as “day’s eye” because at night the petals close over the yellow centre and during the day they re-open. The phrase “as fresh as a daisy” originated from this, signifying that someone had a good night’s rest.