FEVERFEW (Tanacetum parthenium)


Latin: Tanacetum parthenium

WHAT IT DOES: Feverfew is sweet and slightly bitter in taste, and slightly cold in action.  It reduces heat and inflammation and prevents headaches and dizziness.

RATING: yellow, due to minor limitations in usage

SAFETY ISSUES: Should not be used during pregnancy, as it is a uterine stimulant.  Occasional minor side effects such as mouth and gastric disturbance have been reported (reported in McGuffin et al., 1997).  Some scientists voice concerns about potential allergic reactions or cross-reactivity with blood thinning agents such as Warfarin and Ticlopidine (Barsby et al., 1993, DeSmet, 1993).
STARTING DOSAGE:
• Standardized capsules (600 mcg.  parthenolide): one to three capsules per day

Feverfew is now well-known as a reliable remedy for migraine headaches.  It also has a long historical record for use against arthritis and other forms of arthritis. It prevents release of inflammatory chemicals from white blood cells and platelets, which makes it useful for rheumatoid arthritis.
Large differences have been found in various commercial preparations, and there are concerns about processing methods, so be sure to purchase feverfew from a reliable supplier (Barsby et al., 1993, Brown et al., 1997)
Research Highlights

• Researchers assessed the ability of feverfew to prevent migraine in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled crossover study using 60 patients.  They found a reduction in the mean number and severity of attacks in each two-month period of the study, although the duration of individual attacks was unchanged.  They also reported a reduction in the degree of vomiting There were no serious side-effects (Murphy.  et al., 1988).  A previous study of 17 patients reported similar results (Johnson et al., 1985).
• Research reviews have shown feverfew to be effective for easing migraines (Volger et al., 1998).