Health Benefits and Uses for Feverfew

I have lived in two semi-desert regions in Canada. Yes, Canada has desert regions! Even many Canadians donít believe me when I tell them that there is desert in Canada, but the intense heat, dry landscape and small cactus plants dotting the mountainsides (and sometimes my shoes) support my claim. Unlike some desert regions that donít support much plant life, I found a wide diversity of plants in the Canadian desert, including the lovely, small, daisy-like plant known as feverfew.

One of the things Iíve learned over my twenty-five years of studying herbalism and natural medicine is that plants adapted to extreme conditions, such as drought, high altitude, heat or cold, tend to have higher amounts of healing compounds. Thatís because the healing compounds are the same substances that ensure the plantís survival in these harsh conditions. Feverfew, which can grow in hot conditions with little water, is a most impressive healer. Not only does it have analgesic properties that can reduce the pain of migraines or arthritis, but it also reduces inflammation, stimulates digestion and acts as an antispasmodic to help alleviate menstrual cramps.

Health Benefits of Feverfew

Feverfew is a popular remedy for migraine headaches, a particularly excruciating form of headache that is often characterized by knifing pain in one eye. But it is an all-around great pain reliever.

Fever Remedy

Feverfew has been used as a medicine for millennia. The name is believed to come from its history of use in treating fevers, though little modern research has been conducted on its use for this purpose.

Migraine and Headache Reliever

Feverfew works best against migraines when taken regularly as a preventive measure. Taking it similarly to migraine medications or over-the-counter pain relievers, after the onset of pain, is rarely effective. In a meta-analysis of studies using feverfew for the treatment of migraines published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, researchers concluded that well-constructed studies of feverfew showed that it could reduce the prevalence of migraines. Preventive use is also effective at reducing the incidence and severity of headaches in chronic headache sufferers.

Neuropathy Pain Reliever

Neuropathy is a general term used to describe disorders of the nervous system that cause pain, weakness and numbness. It is a possible side effect of cancer chemotherapy. In a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, researchers found that feverfew was as effective as the drug gabapentin (an antiepileptic drug that has also been found to alleviate neuropathic pain). Interestingly, the scientists who conducted the study found significant improvement in nerve-related pain when an extract of the flowers was used but none when the leaves were used, yet many feverfew products are made primarily from the leaves. The feverfew flower extract reduced neuropathy caused by the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin and the antiviral drug dideoxycytidine.

Dermatitis Healer

Dermatitis is a medical term for any type of skin irritation that involves inflammation. Preliminary research has found that feverfew is helpful against dermatitis, apparently because it helps heal damaged skin cells and reduce inflammation.

The aerial parts of the plant (those parts that are above the groundóleaves, flowers and/or stems) are used in herbal medicine. You can make a tea from one teaspoon of the dried herb per cup of boiled water. Pour the water over the herb and allow to steep for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Drink 3 times daily. Alternatively you can take a feverfew tincture. The typical dose is 30 drops 3 times daily.

Using feverfew requires some caution. If you are allergic to ragweed, you may also be allergic to feverfew. Pregnant or nursing women should avoid feverfew. The prescription blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin), can interact with feverfew, so it is best not to take both together. Additionally, if you routinely take over-the-counter pain killers, it is best to skip feverfew. Also avoid taking it for a couple of weeks prior to undergoing surgery. Consult your physician prior to use.

Related:
Donít Believe in Herbal Medicine? 10 Things to Change Your Mind
The 5 Best Herbs to Soothe Your Nerves
Should You Actually Starve a Fever?

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news Worldís Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include the upcoming book: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty & Cooking.

72 comments

william Miller
william Miller2 months ago

Thanks

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE2 months ago

Thank you for this information.

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Very informative Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Great information and advice. Thank you for caring and sharing

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Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Very interesting article Thank you for caring and sharing

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Julie B
Julie B2 months ago

I like natures remedies. Works in harmony with our systems to bring an overall balance to a dis~ease as such. Thankyou :) useful to us All Iam sure

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Laura K
Laura K2 months ago

I eat a small leaf occasionally for preventative. It is pungent. It naturalizes and reseeds itself all over the yard. I like that it volunteers to grow everywhere and only pull it up when it's is growing in the way of something else. I have the tall, dark green Italian and low growing, yellow/green varieties.

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ERIKA S
ERIKA SOMLAI2 months ago

great,thank you

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Jetana A
Jetana A2 months ago

To avoid confusion, please give the scientific name for the species you are discussing. Common names just don't work for those of us who like to wildcraft our herbs, but are living in other places from you. Thanks.

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Lindsay K
Lindsay K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing. I use feverfew to ward off migraines.

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