Also known as Tanacetum parthenium and Featherfew.
Feverfew is native to southwest Europe and was brought to America originally as an ornamental. It is commercially cultivated in Japan, Africa and Europe. Greek herbalists traditionally used it to reduce fevers.
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 odour, 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 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. Feverfew should be taken regularly to receive maximum benefit and protection from migraines.
Clinical tests have shown the use of feverfew may reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. It may be more effective than other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (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.