Feverfew - Uses and Benefits
Feverfew (a corruption of Febrifuge, from its tonic and fever-dispelling properties) is a composite plant growing in every hedgerow, with numerous, small, daisy-like heads of yellow flowers with outer white rays, the central yellow florets being arranged on a nearly flat receptacle, not conical as in the chamomiles. The stem is finely furrowed and hairy, about 2 feet high; the leaves alternate, downy with short hairs, or nearly smooth-about 4 1/2 inches long and 2 inches broad - bipinnatifid, with serrate margins, the leaf-stalk being flattened above and convex beneath.
Feverfew ( Tanacetum parthenium ), a member of the sunflower family, has been used for centuries in European folk medicine as a remedy for headaches, arthritis, and fevers. In fact, the term feverfew is adapted from the Latin word febrifugia or fever reducer. Feverfew has also been traditionally used to treat menstrual irregularities, labor difficulties, skin conditions, stomach aches, and asthma.
Feverfew ( Tanacetum parthenium ) is a traditional medicinal herb which is found in many old gardens, and is also occasionally grown for ornament; the plant grows into a small bush up to around 18 inches high, with citrus-scented leaves and is covered by flowers reminiscent of daisies. It spreads rapidly, and they will cover a wide area after a few years. It is also commonly seen in the literature by its synonyms, Chrysanthemum parthenium (L.) Bernh. and Pyrethrum parthenium (L.) Sm.
Feverfew, also known as featherfew and bachelor's buttons, is native to southwest Europe and was brought to America originally as an ornamental. It is commercially cultivated in Japan, Africa and Europe. Greek and European 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.
Side Effects Mouth inflammation or ulcers, including swelling of the lips, tongue irritation, bleeding of the gums, and loss of taste, have been reported When stopped suddenly after being used for long periods of time, feverfew may cause rebound headaches, anxiety, sleep disturbances, muscle stiffness or pain. Some people may experience more rapid or pounding heart rates. Skin irritation or eczema may occur in those with feverfew allergies. Photosensitivity (sensitivity to sunlight or sunlamps) has been reported with other herbs in the Compositae plant family and may be possible with feverfew as well. Less common side effects may include stomach upset, such as indigestion, nausea, gas, constipation, diarrhea, bloating or heartburn.
What are the side effects of feverfew?
Eating fresh or dried feverfew leaves can irritate mouth tissue. If this happens, stop using the herb immediately. It also can affect blood clotting. People who take blood-thinning medication or have blood-clotting problems should not take it. Feverfew is thought to be safe, but no long-term clinical studies have been completed. Individuals who are allergic to chamomile, chrysanthemums or members of the daisy family should not take feverfew.
The use of feverfew in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/ health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.
Feverfew is also known as Tanacetum parthenium, featherfew, bachelor's button, flirtwort, altamisa, featherfoil, febrifuge plant, midsummer daisy, nosebleed, Santa Maria, wild chamomile, and wild quinine.
Feverfew has been used to prevent migraine headaches. Feverfew has also been used in the prevention and treatment of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, painful menstrual periods, inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, toothache, and insect bites.
Feverfew has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/ or advantages of feverfew may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/ health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/ health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.
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