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Feverfew

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Feverfew, or Chrysanthemum parthenium, is a traditional medicinal herb which is found in many old gardens. It is becoming more popular around the Bluegrass Region, so look for it at your local nursery or herb supplier. The plant grows into a small bush up to 18 in high with citrus-scented leaves, and is covered by flowers that look like tiny daisies. It spreads rapidly, and they will cover a wide area after a few years.

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The word "Feverfew" derives from the Latin word febrifugia, meaning "fever reducer." The plant has been used as an herbal treatment to:
• Feverfew has been used for centuries for fevers, headaches, stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites, infertility, and problems with menstruation and with labor during childbirth.
• Recently, Feverfew has been used for migraine headaches and rheumatoid arthritis.
• Feverfew has also been used for psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears), dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

HOW TO USE FEVERFEW: The dried leaves—and sometimes flowers and stems—of Feverfew are used to make supplements, including capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts. The leaves are sometimes eaten fresh.

SIDE EFFECTS: Long-term use of Feverfew followed by abrupt discontinuation may induce a withdrawal syndrome featuring rebound headaches and muscle and joint pains. Feverfew can cause allergic reactions, including contact dermatitis. Other side effects have included gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and flatulence. When the herb is chewed or taken orally it can cause mouth ulcers and swelling and numbness of the mouth.

CAUTION: Feverfew should not be taken by pregnant women. It may interact with blood thinners and increase the risk of bleeding, and may also interact with a variety of medications metabolized by the liver.

NOTE: Do not take any herbal or alternative medications without first talking with your healthcare provider. This article does not assume responsibility for anyone not following this advice.

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