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Eng: Pyrethrum / Species: Tanacetum sinaicum

Pyrethrum is a natural insecticide which attacks the nervous system of insects causing paralysis and death.

While many insecticides have been promoted with initial enthusiasm only to be withdrawn later after wreaking havoc with the food chain, pyrethrum has continued to find favour for its surgical targeting of insect pests without the usual collateral damage. Chemists have now used the pyrethrum molecule as a template for more toxic and persistent variations, such as the active ingredient, Allethrin, found in Raid.

 Tanacetum sinaicum belongs to the same genus as Tanacetum cinerariifolium from which pyrethrum is extracted on an industrial scale, and although the active component in Tanacetum sinaicum has not been established, the plant’s highly pungent odour is enough to keep mosquitoes and lice at bay.