As the name suggests, herbal feverfew has been usedmedicinally for centuries. Just what are the medicinal uses of feverfew? Thereare a number of traditional benefits of feverfew that have been used forhundreds of years plus new scientific research has given rise to the promise ofyet another feverfew benefit. Read on to learn about feverfew remedies andtheir benefits.
About Herbal Feverfew
The herbal feverfewplant is a small herbaceous perennial that grows to about 28 inches(70 cm.) in height. It is notable for its prolific small daisy-like blooms.Native to Eurasia, from the Balkan Peninsula into Anatolia and the Caucus, theherb has now spread throughout the world where, due to its ease of self-sowing,it has become somewhat of an invasive weed in many regions.
Medicinal Feverfew Uses
The earliest use of feverfew medicinally is not known;however, the Greek herbalist/physician Diosorides wrote of using it as ananti-inflammatory.
In folk medicine, feverfew remedies made from the leaves andflower heads were prescribed to treat fever, arthritis, toothache, and insectbites. While the benefits of using feverfew have been passed down generation togeneration, there is no clinical or scientific data to support their efficacy.In fact, scientific studies have shown that feverfew is not effective fortreating rheumatoid arthritis, although it has been used in folk medicine forarthritis.
New scientific data does, however, support feverfew’sbenefit in treating migraine headaches, at least for some. Placebo controlledstudies have concluded that dried feverfew capsules are effective in preventingmigraines or lessening their severity if taken prior to the onset of themigraine.
Still further research suggests that feverfew may aid infighting cancer by preventing the spread or recurrence of breast, prostate, lung,or bladder cancer as well as leukemia and myeloma. Feverfew contains a compoundcalled parthenolide that blocks the protein NF-kB, which regulates cell growth.Basically, NF-kB regulates gene activity; in other words, it promotes theproduction of proteins that block cell death.
Usually, that’s a good thing, but when NF-kB becomesoveractive, cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapy drugs. Scientistsinvestigated and discovered that when breast cancer cells were treated withparthenolid, they were more susceptible to drugs used to fight cancer. Thesurvival rate increases only when BOTH chemotherapy drugs and parthenolide areused in combination.
So, feverfew might have bigger benefits than just treatingmigraines. It may just be that modest feverfew is a major part of the key towinning the battle against cancer in the future.
Disclaimer:The contents of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only.Before using or ingesting ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes or otherwise,please consult a physician, medical herbalist or other suitable professionalfor advice.
Feverfew against headaches
A plant that can be traced back to Asia Minor, feverfew is a perennial plant that can grow up to 28 inches (70 cm) tall.
Today, feverfew grows in temperate climates across North America, Europe and South America.
It is often found growing in vacant lots, trails, on rocky ground or cultivated lots.
Once all but forgotten, feverfew is now reappearing in the medical context thanks to the work of Doctor Sterwart Johnson of the London Migraine Clinic. In 1970, he undertook a set of clinical trials to try to soothe the strong chronic migraines of a lady patient.
However, the therapeutic effectiveness was formally proven in the 1990s.
Today, both the World Health Organization and the ESCOP (European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy) acknowledge the positive influence of feverfew leaves in preventing headache.
So, what are the properties and benefits of this plant? Does it also have other effects on health? Is the word health benefits truly relevant? Which would they be? How can it best be prepared to maximize its effects?
Here is what you need to know…
Propagation and Planting Feverfew
It can be propagated by seeds, cuttings and division.
To propagate it from seeds, since they are somewhat rare if you don’t find them locally, buy online. Sow them indoors in early spring in a seed tray using well draining starting mix. Scatter the seeds over the surface of soil and lightly tamp them. Cover the tray with plastic sheet or put in a plastic bag and keep that in a bright spot.
If you want to sow seeds directly on the ground wait until the temperature warms up around 60 F (15 C) and last frost date passes away in the spring. Keep the soil evenly moist until the germination. Germination occurs within one or two weeks after seed sowing.
To know more about feverfew propagation, read this article.
Uses and benefits of feverfew
What is feverfew?
Feverfew is called as Tanacetum Parthenium, which is a medicinal herb that is typically used to avoid migraines, headaches, etc. Aside from that, it is being employed as an ornament that can make your garden really stunning and allow you to relax when you are a little bit stressed with the problems in your life. Furthermore, it has other names such as Bachelor’s Buttons, Featherfiew, Altamisa, Flirtwort Midsummer Daisy, and Featherfoil, to name some. So, once you hear any names of this traditional medicinal herb, you will know that it is a feverfew.
Uses of feverfew
For many medicinal herbs out there, feverfew is one of those. This medicinal herb has many uses that you can take advantage of. So instead of medication, using the herb will give you the chance to save more and experience many amazing results in your body. Here are the following uses of feverfew that you can have:
1. It prevents migraine – Since migraine is painful, you can avoid experiencing it once you employ the herb. If you suffer from this kind of pain, then you are probably having medications without the capacity to retrieve your comfort and convenience. Feverfew can help you avoid discomfort. So, if you do not want to have migraine at all times, the medicinal herb will give you the capacity to fight against it.
2. It prevents headaches – When you do not want to endure headaches, feverfew can help you a lot. As a result, you will have the capability to do all the things assigned to you at home and at your working place. Moreover, you will be able to increase your performance in your office, which in turn can give you a lot of opportunities in the future.
3. It lowers blood pressure – If you have hypertension and you use commercially made medications, you can utilize the herb as an alternative as this will help you reduce the level of your high blood pressure and give you the chance to save big amount of your money. Aside from that, your risks to cardiac arrest will be avoided.
4. It improves digestion – When you feel constipated or bloated, there is something wrong with your digestive system. By using feverfew, you will be able to have a good digestion and you will not have the risks of experiencing colon cancer and other related diseases that will give you more expenditure to handle.
5. It stimulates your appetite – Once you have a very low appetite, using the medicinal herb can retrieve it in order for you to have a balanced and healthy diet at all times.
How it works?
The traditional medical herb contains a wide variety of extraordinary chemicals like Parthenolide responsible for decreasing the factors in your body that can cause headaches, migraines, and other diseases. Apart from that, there are other chemicals that can lower the level of your blood pressure, improve your digestive system, and more.
With the use of feverfew, you will be assured that your migraine or headache will be addressed and other problems will be solved in no time. In addition to that, you will not have a very expensive medication for the reason that the herb can give you optimal ease.
Health benefits of Feverfew
Feverfew is mostly used to relieve pain or ache. However, as mentioned above, it is also effective in treating fever and several other health conditions. Let us take a look at feverfew uses in detail.
1. Calms Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that normally affects the small joints in the hands and feet. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. Feverfew is supposed to delay the production of prostaglandins, the hormone-like substances that cause pain and inflammation.(1)
2. Anxiety and Stress
Feverfew has been recognized to reduce stress and alleviate anxiety in some users. This is very important for those who suffer from chronic stress, as the presence of stress hormones in the body can be dangerous over long periods.
3. Lower Inflammation
Feverfew consists of some volatile compounds that have anti-inflammatory abilities, which efficiently decreases inflammation throughout the body. For those who suffer from chronic joint pain, arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory conditions, herbal treatment along with feverfew is a painless and effective solution.(2)
4. Heart Health
Feverfew prevents the production of certain prostaglandins in the body that are responsible for increasing blood pressure. By reducing symptoms of hypertension, feverfew can protect overall heart health and lower the chances of experiencing atherosclerosis, and the consequent heart attacks and strokes associated to that particular blockage of the cardiovascular system.(3)
5. Relieves Migraines
Several research shows that consuming feverfew decreases the frequency of migraine headaches and headache symptoms, including pain, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise.
Several impressive human studies shown the positive effects of using feverfew to prevent and treat migraines. A survey of 270 people with migraines in Great Britain found that more than 70 percent of them felt much better after taking an average of two to three fresh leaves daily.(4)
6. Prevents Blood Clots
Typically, blood flows through our arteries and veins smoothly and efficiently, but if a clot, or thrombus, blocks the smooth flow of blood, then the result can be very serious and even cause death. Serious problems arising from clots in blood vessels include heart attack and stroke.
Research indicates that feverfew may have antithrombotic potential. As an antithrombotic agent, it can help prevent clots from forming and growing — and hence reduce the risk of death from heart attack or stroke!(5)
7. Beneficial for Skin
One of the more recent health benefits of feverfew is its role in skin health. Research is ongoing on the full effects of feverfew on the skin, but when it comes to dermatitis and other common forms of irritation, it has been shown to improve symptoms when topically applied.
8. Lowers blood pressure
Feverfew is quite beneficial for lowering blood pressure. Apparently, when researchers studied the effectiveness of feverfew on migraines, they observed how it also worked to lower blood pressure. This likely happens because of its ability to limit prostaglandins, which cause inflammation in blood vessels, suggests Neuropathy Treatment Group.(6)
9. Heals Dermatitis
Dermatitis is a general term for inflammation of the skin. It has several causes and occurs in many forms. Dermatitis commonly involves an itchy rash on swollen, reddened skin. Feverfew is a potent anti-inflammatory that’s mainly effective at calming redness.
If you have rosacea or regularly experience rash reactions, a topical remedy containing feverfew could likely offer relief, making it an effective rosacea treatment and rash natural remedy. It also naturally protects the skin from UV rays.(7), (8)
10. Managing respiratory problems
The herb’s soothing abilities do spread to the respiratory tract where it reduces any form of inflammation and irritation which may cause respiratory conditions like asthma, coughing or chronic bronchitis to worsen. Feverfew achieves this by allowing the respiratory tract to relax, soothing the detected respiratory conditions while improving the overall respiratory health.
11. Appetite Booster
For people trying to gain weight or recovering from an injury/surgery, increasing one’s appetite can be very important. Feverfew has been linked to certain hormonal activity that induces hunger. While this may not be ideal for people trying to stay on a diet, it can certainly help the healing process and weight gain efforts for those individuals who may be underweight or calorie-deficient.(9)
12. Combats Cancer
Research demonstrated the anticancer effects of feverfew extracts on two human breast cancer cell lines and one human cervical cancer cell line. Feverfew ethanolic extract inhibited the growth of all three types of cancer cells.
Among the tested constituents of feverfew (parthenolide, camphor, luteolin and apigenin), parthenolide showed the highest inhibitory effect. While it has yet to get extensive attention as a natural cancer fighter, the research is promising!(10)
13. Fever reducer
This was a common use for feverfew until the last century or so, when the use of aspirin became widespread. Passionate traditional herbalists prefer feverfew over aspirin. Homeopaths use this as a hot infusion to help sweat out the fever.
14. Menstrual cramps
Feverfew is quite beneficial for the reduction of discomfort during menstruation. For billions of women around the world, menstruation can be a painful monthly incidence that includes cramps, bloating, hormonal swings, pain, and excessive bleeding. It can efficiently lower inflammation, eliminate cramps, and induce calm to reduce mood swings and anxiety.(11)
15. Stops Hair Fall
Feverfew helps in reducing hair fall. As mentioned before, it is anti-inflammatory by nature and people using it have experienced a severe reduction in hair fall. Use of feverfew herb directly on your scalp can be a bit risky and you may end up dealing with the side-effects. Therefore it is recommended that you opt for drinking feverfew tea in moderation to stop hair fall and keep baldness at bay.
Traditional uses and benefits of Feverfew
- It is beneficial in the treatment of certain types of migraine headaches and rheumatism.
- It is thought as an herb for treating arthritis and rheumatism.
- Leaves and flowering heads are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, aperient, bitter, carminative, emenagogue, sedative, stimulant, stings, stomachic, vasodilator and vermifuge.
- Tea made from the whole plant is used in the treatment of arthritis, colds, fevers etc.
- It is said to be sedative and to regulate menses.
- An infusion is used to bathe swollen feet.
- Applied externally as a tincture, the plant is used in the treatment of bruises etc.
- Feverfew is used mostly to treat and prevent headaches.
- Decoction with sugar or honey is said to be good for coughs, wheezing and difficult breathing.
- Herb, bruised and heated, or fried with a little wine and oil, has been used as a warm external application for wind and colic.
- Tincture made from Feverfew and applied locally immediately relieves the pain and swelling caused by bites of insects and vermin.
Ayurvedic Health benefits of Feverfew
- Osteoarthritis: Take some dried feverfew leaves. Grind them. Have one teaspoon with lukewarm water once a day.
- Migraine: Take dried feverfew herb. Place it in a jar. Put a cup of hot water over it. Leave it for 10 minutes. Strain. Add a teaspoon of honey. Drink this preparation once a day daily.
- Joint Pain: Chew fresh leaves of feverfew daily to reduce the pain in joints. OR Prepare feverfew tea by boiling the whole plant in a cup of water. Strain the decoction. Drink this twice a day to reduce joint pain.
- Endometriosis: Take few fresh leaves of feverfew and chew it every morning. It eases the pain and discomfort in the pelvic areas.
- DifficultMenses: Chew 4 to 5 fresh leaves if feverfew every morning.
Feverfew should be collected just as the plant comes into flower and before the blossoms are fully open. Leaves are removed from the stalks and dried on paper-lined trays in a light, airy room, away from direct sunlight. The dried herb should be stored in clearly-labeled, tightly-sealed, dark glass containers.
Capsules: Feverfew leaf in capsule form, at a 250 mg daily dose, is suggested for medicinal use. It may take four to six weeks to provide obvious relief. Studies of some commercially-prepared capsules revealed that many did not contain a sufficient quantity of the active ingredient to be medicinally effective. Feverfew may be more medicinally powerful when gathered fresh. Three to four fresh leaves, taken daily over a period of time are medicinally effective. A certified practitioner can help determine the most effective and safest levels for individual cases.
Syrup: Fresh feverfew leaf can be added to honey, or to simple sugar syrup. The honey will act as a preservative and mask the bitter taste of the herb.
Infusion: Two to three teaspoons of chopped, fresh feverfew leaves are placed in a warmed container. One cup of fresh, non-chlorinated boiled water is added to the herbs and the mixture is covered. The tea is infused for about 15 minutes, and then strained. A stronger infusion, using double the amount of leaf and steeping twice as long, is useful as a skin wash for repelling insects, or soothing inflammations and wounds. The strong infusion has also been used as a mouthwash following tooth extraction. The prepared tea will store for about two days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Dosage: Feverfew may be enjoyed by the cupful three times a day.
Tincture: Combine four ounces of finely-cut fresh or powdered dry herb with one pint of brandy, gin, or vodka, in a glass container. The alcohol should be enough to cover the plant parts. Place the mixture away from light for about two weeks, shaking several times each day. Strain and store in a tightly capped, dark glass bottle. A standard dose is 30 drops of the tincture three times a day.
- Dried flowers are used as a flavoring in cooking certain pastries.
- Plant is used in cooking to impart a deliciously aromatic bitter taste to certain foods.
- Tea is made from the dried flowers.
- Stems, leaves, and petals can be chopped and infused into a tea by steeping in water.
- Dried flower buds are a source of an insecticide.
- An essential oil from the plant is used in perfumery.
- Due to its bitter smell, it is particularly disliked by bees.
- It is also sometimes grown for ornament.
- Flowers can be used in pot pourri.
- Pregnant and nursing women, as well as children under 2, should not take feverfew.
- Do not shortly stop taking feverfew if you have used it for more than 1 week. Stopping feverfew too quickly may cause rebound headache, anxiety, fatigue, muscle stiffness, and joint pain.
- Fresh leaves can cause dermatitis and mouth ulcers if consumed.
- Do not take if you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, or other members of the Compositae family.
- Side effects from feverfew can include abdominal pain, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and nervousness.
- Some people who chew raw feverfew leaves may have mouth sores, loss of taste, and swelling of the lips, tongue, and mouth.
- People with allergies to chamomile, ragweed, or yarrow may be allergic to feverfew and should not take it.
- Feverfew may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you take blood-thinning medications.
- If you are scheduled for surgery, tell your doctor if you are taking feverfew. It may interact with anesthesia.