Benefits of Feverfew

Feverfew is also known as Tanacetum parthenium

In ancient times, feverfew was called by the Greek word parthenion and was prescribed by ancient physicians for the treatment of menstrual and birth-related problems.

During the Middle Ages, this herb was called featherfoil because of its feathery leaf borders. Later, featherfoil was called featherfew and then eventually feverfew.

Malaria had plagued Europe since prehistoric times, and early herbalists began planting feverfew around their homes in hopes the strong-smelling herb would help to purify the air and thus ward off malaria, which they mistakenly believed was caused by bad air. Herbalists decided feverfew must be good for treating fever when it became know by that name. However, this use was discontinued when feverfew proved to be ineffective for this condition.

From the 17th century into the 19th century, herbalists continued to prescribe the herb for gynecological uses. In the 19th century, it was discovered in scientific trials performed by British physicians that feverfew could produce significant relief from the severe pain of migraine headaches, and in some cases even cure their patients of these headaches.

Health Benefits of Feverfew

Migraine is a severe, throbbing headache usually on one side of the head. Recent studies have shown that feverfew, when taken regularly, is remarkably effective for many of those who try it for the treatment and prevention of migraine headache. Some people claim to have been cured of migraine and other headaches after taking a daily dose of feverfew over a period of several months.

For anyone suffering from frequent migraine headaches, feverfew is certainly worth a try. Some people chew a few fresh or frozen feverfew leaves daily, but as the leaves have a rather unpleasant taste, it is best to take it in the form of pills or capsules.

Some pills and capsules have been found to contain only trace amounts of feverfew, so try to find a brand that uses standardized extracts.

For migraine control, herbalists recommend taking feverfew daily. Some users have reported experiencing a rather tranquilizing effect from feverfew when used over a long period of time.

Feverfew has been known in some cases to also help relieve allergies, aid digestion, reduce blood pressure, and help bring on sleep when taken before bedtime, because of its mild tranquilizing effect.

Precautions on use of Feverfew

Some people who have tried using the fresh leaves of feverfew developed mouth sores and/or inflammation of the mouth and tongue, so it would best to use the capsules rather than the fresh leaves. Although feverfew may suppress migraine headaches, the headaches usually return when the herb is discontinued, so most sufferers must continue taking feverfew for many months to prevent reoccurrence.

There is no research on its long-term effects, but to date, long-term use of feverfew has caused no problems that we know of. A few people have reported abdominal pain with its use. Pregnant women should not use feverfew as there is a remote possibility that it might cause miscarriage. As feverfew may inhibit blood clotting, anyone taking anticoagulant medication should consult a physician before using it. For otherwise healthy adults, feverfew is considered safe in amounts typically recommended.

Health food stores, herb outlets and food supplement catalogs usually carry Feverfew pills or capsules.

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