Thursday, February 28, 2008

Feverfew - Chrysantheim parthenium (Medicinal Herbs)

Feverfew (Chrysantheim parthenium) is a traditional medicinal herb which is found in many old gardens, and is also occasionally grown for ornament; which are then used in Christmas trees. The plant grows into a small bush up to around 18 inches high, with citrus-scented leaves and is covered by flowers reminiscent of daisies. It spreads rapidly, and they will cover a wide area after a few years. It is also commonly seen in the literature by its synonyms, Chrysanthemum parthenium (L.) Bernh. and Pyrethrum parthenium (L.) Sm.

Feverfew has been used as a valuable herbal remedy for reducing fever, anti-inflammatory agent, for treating migraine headaches, arthritis, digestive problems and as an emmenagogue (promoting menstrual flow) . It is hypothesized that by inhibiting the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, both of which are believed to aid the onset of migraines, feverfew limits the inflammation of blood vessels in the head. This would, in theory, stop the blood vessel spasm which is believed to contribute to headaches. The active ingredients in feverfew include parthenolide and tanetin.

Feverfew is not a remedy for acute migraine attacks.

Feverfew is a European plant, and is common to the United States; found occasionally in a wild state, but is generally cultivated in gardens, and flowers in June and July. It imparts its virtues to water, but much better to alcohol. Bees are said to dislike this plant very much, and a handful of the flower-heads will cause them to keep at a distance.

Medicinal Action and Uses

Aperient, carminative, bitter. As a stimulant it is useful as an emmenagogue, prevention of migraines and headaches, arthritis, relieve fevers, muscle tension and pain, lowers blood pressure, lessens stomach irritation, stimulates appetite, improve digestion and kidney function. Is also employed in hysterical complaints, nervousness and lowness of spirits, and is a general tonic. The cold infusion is made from 1 OZ. of the herb to a pint of boiling water, allowed to cool, and taken frequently in doses of half a teacupful.

A decoction with sugar or honey is said to be good for coughs, wheezing and difficult breathing. The herb, bruised and heated, or fried with a little wine and oil, has been employed as a warm external application for wind and colic.

A tincture made from Feverfew and applied locally immediately relieves the pain and swelling caused by bites of insects and vermin. It is said that if two teaspoonfuls of tincture are mixed with 1/2 pint of cold water, and all parts of the body likely to be exposed to the bites of insects are freely sponged with it, they will remain unassailable. A tincture of the leaves of the true Chamomile and of the German Chamomile will have the same effect.

Planted round dwellings, it is said to purify the atmosphere and ward off disease.

An infusion of the flowers, made with boiling water and allowed to become cold, will allay any distressing sensitiveness to pain in a highly nervous subject, and will afford relief to the face-ache or earache of a dyspeptic or rheumatic person.

Side Effect

Adverse effects include: gastrointestinal distress, mouth ulcers, and anti platelet actions.

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