Botanical Name:Tanacetum parthenium
Species: T. parthenium
Other Names: Altamisa, Amargosa, Bachelor’s Button, Feverfew, Flirtwort, Manzanilla, Featherfew, Featherfoil, Wild Chamomile
synonyms: Chrysanthemum parthenium (L.) Bernh. and Pyrethrum parthenium (L.) Sm.
Parts Used: Leaves and flowers in extract, infusion, and dried in capsules.
Habitat: Native to southwest Europe and was brought to America originally as an ornamental. It is commercially cultivated in Japan, Africa and Europe. Greek and European herbalists traditionally used it to reduce fevers.
Description: Feverfew is a hearty perennial that will produce an abundant supply of blossoms. It prefers full sun or partial shade and well-drained average soil.Feverfew is a traditional medicinal herb which is found in many old gardens, and is also occasionally grown for ornament. The plant grows into a small bush up to around 18 inches high, with citrus-scented leaves and is covered by flowers reminiscent of daisies. It spreads rapidly, and they will cover a wide area after a few years.
The leaves have a refreshing aromatic aroma. Growing to 2 1/2 feet the stem is upright, erect, hairy, finely furrowed and branching. Strongly aromatic leaves are alternate, hairless, toothed, light green about 4 inches long, and divided into broad, lobed segments. The lower leaves are bipinnate with oval shaped leaflets. Many daisy-like flower heads (composite) bloom June-August, with white ray flowers surrounding nearly flat yellow centers, growing to about 1 inch across. Gather entire plant in bloom, dry for later use.
Cultivation: A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in an ordinary garden soil, plants can even be grown in walls.
Medicinal Uses: Feverfew is edible and medicinal. has a good reputation as alternative medicine and extensive research has proved it to be of special benefit in the treatment of certain types of migraine headaches and rheumatism or arthritis. The plant is rich in sesquiterpene lactones, the principal one being parthenolide. Parthenolide helps prevent excessive clumping of platelets and inhibits the release of certain chemicals, including serotonin and some inflammatory mediators. Constituents of Feverfew are Volatile oils, containing pinene and several pinene derivatives, bornylacetate and angelate, costic acid, b-farnesine and spiroketalenol ethers. Other constituents include essential oils, flavonoid glycosides, pinene derivatives and costic acid. Feverfew should be taken regularly to receive maximum benefit and protection from migraines. The leaves and flowering heads are antiinflammatory, antispasmodic, aperient, bitter, carminative, emmenagogue, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, vasodilator and vermifuge. An infusion made from the whole plant is used in the treatment of arthritis, colds, fevers, as a sedative and to regulate menses. Also used as a foot bath for swollen feet. Applied externally as a tincture, the plant is used in the treatment of bruises. Chewing several leaves a day has proven to be effective in preventing some migraine headaches. Feverfew’s sedative properties make it useful in hysterical complaints, nervousness, low spirits, and is a general tonic. Also said to be good as a syrup for coughs, wheezing and breathing difficulties. The dried flower buds are said to have the same properties as pyrethrum, and used as an insecticide. An essential oil from the plant is used in perfumery.
Parthenion is the Greek word for girl. Feverfew is Elizabethan English and comes from febrifuge, an old medical term for a medicine that reduces fever. Feverfew is an effective remedy for migraine. Parthenolide appears to inhibit the release of the hormone serotonin that triggers migraine. It has also been shown to reduce fever, hence the name Feverfew.
Feverfew has been used for reducing fever, for treating headaches, arthritis and digestive problems. It is hypothesized that by inhibiting the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, both of which are believed to aid the onset of migraines, feverfew limits the inflammation of blood vessels in the head. This would, in theory, stop the blood vessel spasm which is believed to contribute to headaches. The active ingredients in feverfew include parthenolide and tanetin. Capsules or tablets of feverfew generally contain at least 205 mcg. parthenolide; however, it might take four to six weeks before they become effective, and feverfew is not a remedy for acute migraine attacks. Parthenolide has also been found recently in 2005 to induce cell death in leukemia cancer stem cells.
Recently, feverfew has been used by Aveeno skincare brand to calm red and irritated skin.
The herb has a long history of use in traditional and folk medicine as a treatment for disorders often controlled by aspirin, such as fever, headaches and some of the accompanying symptoms such as nausea and depression.
Recently feverfew has been gaining fame as a effective treatment for migraine headaches. It may also help ease diseases caused by chronic inflammation such as arthritis. It is an aromatic plant with a strong and lasting odor, it has been used externally as an insect repellent and for treating insect bites.
It is the combination of ingredients in the feverfew plant that brings such effective relief. It works to inhibit the release of two inflammatory substances, serotonin and prostaglandins, both believed to contribute to the onset of migraines. By inhibiting these amines as well as the production of the chemical histamine, the herb controls inflammation that constricts the blood vessels in the head, and prevents blood vessel spasms which may contribute to headaches.
The plant is rich in sesquiterpene lactones, the principal one being parthenolide. Other constituents include essential oils, flavonoid glycosides, pinene derivatives and costic acid. Feverfew should be taken regularly to receive maximum benefit and protection from migraines.
The tea, drunk cold, may also relieve skin perspiration associated with migraines, and has been used to stimulate appetite, and improve digestion and kidney function.
Clinical tests have shown the use of feverfew may reduce of frequency and severity of headaches. It may be more effective than other nonsteroidal antiinflammatories (NSAIDS), like aspirin. Additional benefits include lower blood pressure, less stomach irritation and a renewed sense of well-being.
It may also relieve dizziness, tinnitus, and painful or sluggish menstruation. Its extracts have been claimed to relieve asthma, coughs, dermatitis and worms.
Common Use: The herb has historically been used as remedy for headache, inflammation and as a general substitute for ailments treated with aspirin. Its most popular use is for the prevention of migraine headaches and associated symptoms. Pregnant women should not use the herb, and some people have developed mouth ulcers or experienced loss of taste from eating the fresh leaves.
The herb has been used since Roman times to induce menstruation. It is given in difficult births to aid expulsion of the placenta. It has not been shown to cause uterine contractions, but because of its history in promoting menstruation pregnant women should probably not use it.
In South America where feverfew is naturalized, it has been effective for colic, stomachahe, morning sickness and kidney pains. In Costa Rica, it has also been employed as a digestive aid and emmenagogue. Mexicans have used it as a sitz bath to regulate menstruation as well as an antispasmodic and tonic.
Feverfew is useful for cats as an alternative to aspirin, which is toxic to felines. Use a glycerin-based tincture or a cooled tea with a dose of 12-20 drops of the tincture or ? tsp of a strong tea for each 20 pounds of the animal?s weight, twice daily. Pets can be bathed in a cooled tea as a flea rinse.
CAUTION:Adverse effects include: gastrointestinal distress, mouth ulcers, and antiplatelet actions. Feverfew should not be used during pregnancy because of the stimulant action on the womb. The fresh leaves may cause mouth ulcers in sensitive people.
Infusion: TO 1 oz. of dry herb add a pint of boiling water, allowed to cool, take in half cup doses 3 times a day.
The dried flowers and plant are used as a flavoring in cooking to give food a deliciously aromatic bitter taste.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.