Feverfew

Feverfew

In herbalism, feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium, is the number one choice for migraines but it is also used for other ailments such as fever, stomach problems, arthritis and rheumatism, menstrual complaints and even easing labor.

FAMILY

Asteraceae

OTHER NAMES

Featherfew, febrifuge plant

PARTS USED

Herb

HABITAT

Feverfew is native to the east Mediterranean area. It has naturalized in many areas including west Europe and the Americas.

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION

Feverfew is a small and bushy aromatic herb The and bloom from June. The leaves are .

Height: 60 cm (2 feet)
Width: 60 cm (2 feet)
Flowers: daisy-like with a raised yellow center (disc flowers) surrounded by white petals (ray flowers)
Leaves: yellow-green withe pinnate lobes connected to each other
Bloom time: June to August

CULTIVATION

A deer and pest resistant perennial, feverfew is short lived but self-sows readily so you never need to worry about it disappearing from your garden.

Hardiness: USDA Zone 4
Propagation: Seed or cuttings
Germination: 21 C (70F), seeds need some light to germinate.
Spacing: 60 cm (2 feet)
Soil: Average, well drained. Tolerant of poor soils
pH: 5 to 7.5
Exposure: full sun or partial shade
Pests: feverfew is very resistant to pests
Garden Design: Plant anywhere daisies would look good: against dark green foliage or a fence,

HARVEST

For medicinal purposes, harvest the flowers with their stems in June or July. You can use it dry or fresh.

DRYING

Dry it fast in a shady, cool and well ventilated area. You can use a dehydrator set no higher than 38 degrees Celsius (100F). This way the essential oils can be preserved.

CONSTITUENTS

0.5-0.9% essential oils (camphor, trans-chrysanthenyl acetate, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and eugenol), 0.5-2% sesquiterpene lactones (0.2% parthenolide, a serotonin antagonist), flavonoids, bitters, tannins.

PROPERTIES

Analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, emmenogogue, carminative, purgative

ENERGETICS

Bitter, cool

TASTE

Extremely bitter

MEDICINAL USE OF FEVERFEW

Herbalists use feverfew for migraines, in particular migraines caused by hormonal imbalances. The reason it works so well for migraines is the presence parthenolide, a compound that inhibits histamine as well as serotonin (which is thought to trigger migraine). This lowers inflammation, pain and the frequency and severity of migraines as well as their associated symptoms (nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, etc).
Feverfew inhibits the formation of platelets causing an improvement in blood flow. It also inhibits the production of prostaglandins which leads to reduced inflammation and pain.

Used internally for:

  • Migraines
  • Digestive complaints (stomachache, colic)
  • Fever
  • Arthritis and rheumatism
  • Painful menstruation
  • Regulating and inducing menstruation
  • Stimulating uterine contractions
  • Easing difficult births

Recommended daily dosage:

Infusion: 1g dried herb (about 3 cups of tea)

HOMEMADE PREPARATIONS
  • Tincture
  • Infusion
SIDE EFFECTS

Some people experience upset stomach, inflammation of the mouth while other might get an allergic reaction.

CONTRA-INDICATIONS

Don’t use if you are pregnant. Don’t use if you are allergic to plants in the Aster family.

Feverfew

References
Bühring, U. 2015. Alles über Heilpflanzen. 3rd ed. Stuttgart: Ulmer.
Wichtl M. 2004. Herbal drugs and phytopharmaceuticals – A handbook for practice on a scientific basis. 3rd ed. Stuttgart: medpharm Scientific Publishers

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