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.
Featherfew, febrifuge plant
Feverfew is native to the east Mediterranean area. It has naturalized in many areas including west Europe and the Americas.
Feverfew is a small and bushy aromatic herb that blooms from June.
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
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,
For medicinal purposes, harvest the flowers with their stems in June or July. You can use it dry or fresh.
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.
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.
Analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, febrifuge, emmenogogue, carminative, purgative
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:
- Digestive complaints (stomachache, colic)
- 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)
Some people experience upset stomach, inflammation of the mouth while others might get an allergic reaction.
Don’t use if you are pregnant. Don’t use if you are allergic to plants in the Aster family.
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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