Feverfew

Years ago, I had frequent migraine headaches and somebody suggested I try taking Feverfew, as a natural remedy. After doing some research, I decided that I would continue taking medication purchased over the counter. The side effects from Feverfew sounded just as bad as my headaches! Not to mention that this is no quick fix, it has to be taken regularly for months before it helps, if it helps at all. Feverfew has been used to treat many medical conditions for centuries. Conditions such as fever, arthritis, headache, insect bites, asthma, nausea, skin conditions, menstrual irregularlity and difficulty during labor. Funny thing is, taking it CAUSES inflammation of the mouth, swelling, bleeding gums, loss of taste and nausea. Taking Feverfew can also affect blood clotting ability, and if you stop taking it abruptly, it is blamed for headaches, sleeping trouble and joint pain.

All parts of the plant which grow above the ground can be used medicinally, not just the leaves, which are extremely bitter. The name Feverfew comes from the Latin febrifugia, which means fever reducer. I’m told that feverfew is almost as good as aspirin at bringing down a fever. In the case of headaches and arthritis though, the jury is still out. There is no strong evidence that it relieves migraines and very little support for using it to treat arthritis.

Native to southwest Europe, Feverfew was brought to America as an ornamental plant, rather than a medication. It’s a perennial herb and grows about 2 feet tall if not trimmed back. The flowers are small, about an inch wide, and bloom from July to October. This plant thrives in poor soil, and needs no special treatment. It can be propagated by cuttings, seeds or dividing the roots. As you might have guessed, Feverfew is in the same family, Asteraceae, as the daisy, chrysanthemum and sunflower. When I looked for more information, I found that it is known by about 20 different names, including flirtwort, altamisa, featherfoil, midsummer daisy and featherfew.

I discarded the idea of using Feverfew to treat my headaches and forgot about it until this summer. At a garage sale, there were plants for sale with bright green leaves and tiny daisy-like flowers. It was so cute, and so cheap, I just had to buy it. Turns out it was a Feverfew plant. I installed it in my back yard, in full sun, and it is one of the only things alive out there right now. There are even a few blooms left.Though I don’t plan to use Feverfew as medication, I do enjoy seeing that little bright spot out in my dreary yard.

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One Response to “Feverfew”

  1. Aunt Mary Says:

    I still have a lot blooming. The annuals are still actually holding on. It makes it harder to clean up the yard so I haven’t. Well, maybe that is procrastinating.

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