Botanical family: Asteraceae
Parts used: Leaves
Main active constituents: Sesquiterpene lactones, especially parthenolide
Actions: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic
Good for: Migraines, tension-type headaches, period pain
Available forms: Capsule, tablet, tincture
A member of the same family as camomile, feverfew bears similar clusters of daisy-like flowers throughout the summer. It is sometimes also known as featherfew or febrifuge. The name is thought to come from the Latin ‘febris’ meaning fever and ‘fugure’ meaning to drive away. It grows up to 60 cm in height and spread and provides a supply of fresh, feathery yellow-green leaves all year round.
History of Feverfew
Feverfew is native to Anatolia and has long been a staple of the herbal medicine chest. In the middle ages it was thought to purify the air and help prevent malaria and other life-threatening diseases. Since then it has been used as a traditional remedy for fevers as well as digestive disorders, arthritis and period pain. It has been used for headaches since at least the 17th Century when the famous herbalist Nicholas Culpepper wrote “It is very effectual for all pains in the head.”
Current uses of Feverfew
HEADACHE AND MIGRAINE
Numerous studies support the use of feverfew for the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches caused by the dilation or contraction of blood vessels if taken regularly over a period of a few months.
The herb’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a useful remedy for soothing menstrual pain.
How to take FeverfewYou need to take at least 100mg of the dried leaf a day, which is equivalent to one capsule or around three leaves.
Feverfew can be taken with other supplements and there is no evidence that it interacts with prescribed medications at the recommended dosage.
Infusions can also be made, using up to half a teaspoon of the dried herb per cup, drinking one cup a day.
Expect to take feverfew for several months before you see benefits.
WatchpointsAvoid if pregnant or breastfeeding, or taking blood thinning drugs such as warfarin.
Chewing the leaves can cause mouth ulcers while skin contact with the plant may cause an allergic reaction. If either of these occur you should stop taking feverfew.
Feverfew can be found in Migraherb Feverfew Migraine Relief (traditionally used for migraine headaches).