Feverfew (chrysanthemum parthenium) has been used since the Middle Ages to reduce fevers and relieve aches and pains. Nowadays, it is still touted as the herb that can both prevent and relieve headaches, particularly migraine headaches.
Feverfew acts as an analgesic (pain reliever), anti-inflammatory (used to reduce swelling) and an antipyretic (fever reducer). With all of these medicinal properties, feverfew is the herbal equivalent of aspirin, Tylenol, Motrin, Advil or other pharmaceutical pain relievers. The good news is, feverfew is much gentler to your body than its pharmaceutical counterparts.
* Feverfew Works Well On…
Flus and colds
Muscle tension and pain
Headaches and pain caused by eye strain
* How is Feverfew Administered?
Extracts, tinctures, capsules, tea made from the leaves, and chewing of the raw leaves can all be used as a treatment for pain and fever.
If you would like to use the raw leaves, simply chew and swallow a few leaves daily, preferably one to five feverfew leaves per day. Each person will have a different tolerance, so you will need to experiment to find out how many leaves work best for your body. Doing this daily will ward off headaches before they start and will continuously keep all types of pain at bay.
If you already have a raging headache, try eating a few feverfew leaves throughout the day. This should lessen the severity and duration of the headache. The same technique work for fevers. Eat a couple feverfew leaves to lower even the most stubborn fever.
* How Does Feverfew Work?
According to author Jack Ritchason, N.D., feverfew has been shown to be more effective than aspirin against inflammation and fever. He goes on to say that feverfew has the unique ability to decrease the secretion of inflammatory particles from platelets and white blood cells.
Perhaps even more amazing, though, is feverfew’s ability to make smooth muscle cells less responsive to body chemicals that trigger muscle spasms. These actions, combined with feverfew’s ability to inhibit prostaglandins, make it a powerful herb for pain, inflammation, and fever.
* Any Side Effects?
According to a book compiled by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, a few possible side effects of feverfew are stomach upset and mouth irritation (when eating the raw leaves daily for a long period of time). If these side effects become bothersome, simply scale back on the amount of feverfew consumed daily. If mouth irritation continues to be bothersome, switch from raw leaves to tinctures, capsules or tea made from feverfew leaves.
It is also important to note that feverfew relaxes blood vessels, so there is the possibility that it can increase menstrual flow for some women. Pregnant women should not take feverfew.
So, the next time you feel a fever coming on, or if you are bothered by headaches and other pain, give feverfew a try. With centuries of successful use, and modern scientific research to back it all up, there’s nothing to lose but discomfort.
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. (2001). Nature’s Pharmacy: Your Guide to Healing Foods, Herbs, Supplements & Homeopathic Remedies. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International, Ltd.
Ritchason, J. (1995). The Little Herb Encyclopedia. Pleasant Grove, UT: Woodland Health Books.