Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysanthemum parthenium, Pyrethrum parthenium)
Found in many herb gardens, feverfew has lacy leaves and a flower that resembles a tiny daisy. The leaves have a faint citrusy scent. Native to southeastern Europe, it can now be found the world over. A perennial, the herb does best in full or part sun. It has long been used medicinally in many cultures for headache and fever relief. It is now commercially cultivated in Japan, Africa and Europe.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Feverfew is taken for headache, fever, stomach ache, toothaches, migraines, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and to regulate menstrual periods.
Externally Feverfew tincture can be applied directly to the skin for insect bites or mixed into water to use as a wash for insect repellant.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
It can be combined with white willow to create a mixture that works similar to aspirin.
Leaves, flowers The leaves and flowers are used to make extracts and infusions. They may also be dried to use in capsules.
This herb should not be used during pregnancy because it may cause contractions. Some people may also experience mouth ulcers, swelling or irritation of the lips or tongue or a loss of taste if they chew the fresh leaves. Sometimes people may experience bloating, digestive problems or nausea. It may also increase the effectiveness of blood thinners, causing bleeding. Be cautious if you take prescription medications, as this herb may interact with them.
If you have ragweed allergies, you may have a similar reaction to feverfew, which is related. If you have taken the herbal remedy for a long time and then stop, you may experience headache, insomnia, nervousness, stiff muscles and joint pain.
Children under the age of 2 should not take feverfew.
Preparation and Dosage
A cold infusion can be made by steeping one ounce of the herb in a pint of boiling water. Allow it to cool. A half teacup at a time as often as needed is a good dose.
A decoction of the herb mixed with a little sugar or honey may give relief of coughs, difficult breathing and wheezing.
For migraines, 100 mg to 300 mg may be taken up to four times a day.
The herb can be bruised and heated by frying it in a little oil and wine to be applied externally for flatulence and upset stomach.
A few drops of feverfew tincture can be applied to the skin to relieve insect bites. You can also mix two teaspoonfuls of the tincture in a half pint of cold water and use it as a wash over the skin as an insect repellent.