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Feverfew (tanacetum parthenium)

Description & Habitat

Feverfew is a short bushy plant with flowers that closely resemble daisies and is a member of the sunflower family. It is commonly know by other names such as midsummer daisy, bachelor's button, featherfoil and featherfew. Although native to the Balkan mountains of eastern Europe, it is found growing in many other European areas, also in both North America and South America.

Constituents & Actions

Although the leaves of this herb are mostly used for their medicinal value, the flowers and stems can also be utilized. Feverfew consists of volatile oil, parthenolide (active compound), sesquiterpene lactones, acetylene derivatives, etc. This herb is an anti-inflammatory, vasodilator (relaxes blood vessels), bitter (stimulates secretions of digestive, encourages appetite) and emmenagogue (facilitates andregulates menstrul flow).

Medical Uses

Feverfew herb has the chemical parthenolide present, this active compound is very beneficial in promoting muscular relaxation resulting in reduction of spasms. It is also helpful in the treatment of osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Sesquiterpene lactones in Feverfew are believed to inhibit prostaglandins and histamine released during the inflammatory process, therefore preventing spasms of the blood vessels in the head which trigger migraine attacks. Regular use of this herb is recommended as a treatment of migraine headaches.

Feverfew has also gained recognition for treating dizziness, tinnitus, and painful menstruation due to sluggish flow. It is a bitter tonic that can be helpful to those suffering with depression, asthma, nausea and vomiting.

Available Forms & Dosage

Feverfew is available fresh, freeze-dried, in capsules, tablets and liquid extract. Supplements should be standardized to contain at least .2% of parthenolide, this herbs most active compound. Freeze-dried is the preferred form, taken in doses of 50-100mg per day.

Side-Effects & Interactions

This herb should not be used by women who are pregnant, due to the stimulant action in the womb. The fresh leaves may cause mouth ulcers in sensitive people.

Feverfew may react with anti-coagulant (blood thinning) medication such as warfarin, physician consultation recommended before use.

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