Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
Feverfew is a member of the sunflower family and derives its name from the word febrifuge, used to signify its tonic and fever-dispelling properties. Feverfew is traditionally used to treat Pain and Inflammation.
Feverfew is used in the management of Migraine, Tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo (dizziness), Arthritis, fever, menstrual disorders, difficulty during labour, stomach ache, Toothache and insect bites.
Part of the plant used: LEAF.
Herb powder, 50-200mg daily.
Feverfew extracts can reduce swelling and Inflammation by inhibiting various body substances that are responsible for inflammation - such as prostaglandin, leukotriene and thromboxane. Feverfew also inhibits the release of an enzyme called "phospholipase A2", involved in the inflammatory response (1-3).
Feverfew extracts can inhibit the release of histamine in allergic-type reactions. Studies showed that histamine release was inhibited more the higher the intake of feverfew extract (4).
Research shows that feverfew extracts are antimicrobial to certain bacteria, yeasts and filamentous fungi (5).
Adults who have experienced Migraine on a regular basis may choose to supplement with feverfew. Studies using feverfew to the equivalent of 2.19?g parthenolide reported less migraine attacks (6). It can also be effective when used at the onset of a migraine attack. However, because migraine-type headaches may be indicators of serious diseases, medical consultation is strongly recommended for those who experience migraine headaches without previous history or who experience a sudden change in pattern of Headaches.
Studies have shown that development of migraine and Arthritis involves the secretion of granules from blood platelets (involved in blood clotting) and white blood cells. Feverfew inhibits this granule secretion and, therefore, helps to ease migraine (7).
Feverfew may be chosen by people with joint Inflammation (Arthritis) (7,8) although results show that feverfew?s anti-inflammatory properties may be less pronounced than certain non-steroidal drugs. Further scientific evidence is needed to confirm its effectiveness.
SAFETY AND PRECAUTIONS
Studies involving blood analysis of long-term (greater than 1 year) feverfew users showed no changes compared to control groups.
No significant side-effects are reported for feverfew. The following reactions have been noted for feverfew; Mouth Ulcers, dry and sore tongue, swollen lips and mouth with loss of taste, unpleasant and bitter taste, abdominal Pain and indigestion, Diarrhoea, flatulence, nausea and Vomiting, hypersensitivity and allergic reactions. The onset of side effects with feverfew varies and symptoms may take up to 2 months to appear.
A "Post-Feverfew Syndrome" has been noted with symptoms including Nervousness, tension Headaches, Insomnia stiffness/Pain in joints and tiredness.
Pregnant and lactating women should consult with a qualified health professional before taking feverfew.
Feverfew is not recommended for use by children.
INTERACTIONS AND CONTRA-INDICATIONS
Feverfew is not recommended for people who are allergic or hypersensitive to chamomile, ragweed and yarrow.
Feverfew should not be taken by those who develop a Rash on contact with the herb.
Individuals with rheumatic conditions should consult with a qualified health professional before using feverfew.
1. Makheja AM, Bailey JM. The active principle in feverfew. The Lancet, ii:1054, 1981.
2. Capasso F. The effect of an aqueous extract of Tanacetum parthenium L on arachidonic acid metabolism by rat peritoneal leucocytes. Pharm Pharmacol, 38:71-72, 1986.
3. Makheja AM, Bailey JM. A platelet phospholipase inhibitor from the medicinal herb feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). Prostaglandins Leukot Med, 8:653-660, 1982.
4. Heptinstall S et al. Extracts of feverfew may inhibit platelet behaviour via neutralization of sulphydryl groups. J Pharm Pharmacol, 39:466-470, 1987.
5. Blakeman JP, Atkinson P. Antimicrobial properties and possible role in host-pathogen interactions of parthenolide, a sesquiterpene lactone isolated from glands of Chrysanthemum parthenium. Physiol Plant Pathol, 15:183-192, 1979.
6. Murphy JJ et al. Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of feverfew in migraine prevention. The Lancet, ii:189-192, 1988.
7. Heptinstall S et al. Extracts of feverfew inhibits granule secretion in blood platelets and polymorphonuclear leucocytes. The Lancet, i:1071-1073, 1985.
8. Pattrick M et al. Feverfew in rheumatoid arthritis: a double-blind placebo controlled study. Ann Rheum Dis ,48:547-549, 1989.