Feverfew is a strongly aromatic perennial that originated in southeastern Europe and is now found all over Europe, Australia, and North America. Externally, it is also used as an insecticide and was formerly found in insect powders. Only the leaf is used medicinally. Feverfew is also known as featherfew or featherfoil. Its name is derived from the Latin word febrifuge meaning fever reducing. The plant is a perennial related to the daisy family and is characterized by a strong bitter smell.
Feverfew is a medicinal herb that is popular today as a treatment for migraine headaches. Feverfew is also used to help relieve allergies, arthritis and rheumatic diseases. Long term use may provide relief from depression, nausea, and pain associated with the above illnesses. It has been used for the treatment of dysmenorrhea, and to reduce lochia. Externally, it has traditionally been used as an antiseptic for wounds, inflammation, and as mouthwash.. It can be taken in capsules, pills, teas, tinctures, and externally as a wash, tincture or ointment. It is usually advisable to purchase a standardized version of one of these unless buying the raw herb. This herb is well known for its ability to help relieve migraine headache and its symptoms. Parthenolide, a compound found in feverfew works against vasoconstrictors - a cause of migraine (narrows blood vessels). Feverfew is also used to stimulate appetite, increase the fluidity of lung and bronchial mucus, pain, muscle tension, menstrual difficulties, and rheumatic diseases (i.e. arthritis).
Feverfew inhibits the formation of two natural chemicals found in the body, prostaglandin and serotonin. Feverfew contains niacin and iron plus vitamin A and vitamin C. Helping regulate normal body functions, Feverfew works with the body to help heal itself. Used to relieve severe headaches, migraines and reduce fevers by cooling the body, Feverfew also helps to ease a wide range of ailments. Reducing inflammation, Feverfew is used for relieving pain linked to arthritis and reducing painful menstruation. Other uses for Feverfew have been for inflammatory skin problems, asthma and stimulating the appetite. Feverfew contains a range of compounds known as sesquiterpene lactones. Over 85% of these are a compound called parthenolide. Parthenolide helps prevent excessive clumping of platelets and inhibits the release of certain chemicals, including serotonin and some inflammatory mediators. This may reduce the severity, duration, and frequency of migraine headaches and improve blood vessel tone.