THE HERBAL CORNER
* Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
FEVERFEW is a perennial plant with small, daisylike blossoms and leaves that are medicinal. Feverfew is perhaps the most widely recommended herbal remedy for treating and preventing migraines but it may also prove effective against arthritis and other painful inflammatory conditions.
In the late 1970's British researchers found Feverfew leaves helpful in treating migraine headaches where other treatments had failed. A randomized double-blind study conducted in 1988 found that the use of Feverfew reduced the number of migraines, their severity, and also vomiting associated with the disorder. Feverfew may work by blocking
excessive secretion of serotonin, a neurotransmitter. When blood vessels constrict in the initial stage of a migraine, serotonin is released; Feverfew may help counteract this by dilating those blood vessels. Another theory suggests that migraine relief may be due to
Feverfew's chemical constituent parthenolide, which blocks the release of inflammatory substances from the blood. The researchers consider these inflammatory elements, which affect the walls of the brain's blood vessels, to be key components in the onset of a migraine. Chewing a leaf or two daily is one approach to migraine prevention, but this can occasionally cause mouth ulcers; as a substitute for the leaves, you can use 125mg capsules which are readily available in most herb supply stores.
Feverfew may also help arthritis sufferers when the condition is its painfully active inflammatory stage. Dizziness and tinnitus may be eased, especially if the herb is used in conjunction with other remedies. The Feverfew/migraine studies also showed the herb may reduce blood pressure. Like its close botanical relative, chamomile, Feverfew contains chemicals that may calm the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, making it an antispasmodic. Try Feverfew after meals. The herb's possible antispasmodic and antiprostaglandin actions support its traditional use in treating menstrual discomforts.
Feverfew is available in the following forms: capsules, tablets, dried leaves, tea, and tinctures. It possesses the following actions: anti-inflammatory, vasodilatory, relaxant, digestive bitter, uterine stimulant. Chewing fresh or dried leaves may cause mouths sores or abdominal pain. It should not be used by pregnant women or by those individuals who have a blood clotting disorder or take anticoagulant medicine. Some individuals may need to take Feverfew daily for two to three weeks, or longer, before it has any effect.
Herb Listing - Index
Please note: the information contained herein has been compiled from various sources. The above statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We make no claims, either expressed or implied, that any treatments mentioned in this newsletter will cure disease, replace prescription medication, or supersede sound medical advice.
The Olive Branch, On the Net since 1996