Feverfew which is also called the fever reducer is one of the oldest medicinal herbs. It originated from southeastern Europe. As the name implies, it was first used as a folk medicine to reduce fever. It is a short flowering plant and the flowers look like daisies. The leaves are yellowish green and have a bitter odor.
This herbal plant is now grown in other countries. Its dried leaves are widely known and used as a migraine headache treatment. Two natural compounds called parthenolide and tanetin which are found in this plant are the active ingredients that help in treating headaches.
Migraine headaches can happen when the blood vessels at the base of the brain are blocked. Something, such as food or stress, could have triggered it. When the blood vessels are blocked or narrowed, the flow of blood to the brain is reduced. Since the blood flow is blocked, platelets lumped up around the blood vessels.
This clumping will secrete serotonin but fail to reach the brain. So the level of serotonin in the brain is greatly reduced. When this happens, the blood vessels in the brain will enlarge. The inflammation will cause great pain and may also cause nausea and affect vision. Taking feverfew will help reduce the inflammation and release serotonin and prostaglandin.
Other than being a home remedy for headaches, this herbal plant may also treat other problems such as menstrual irregularities, arthritis, digestive problems, skin problems and of course, fever. It is also believed that this herb may help ease labor difficulties.
If you have the herb in your garden, you can make use of the stems, flowers and leaves as an herbal remedy. But normally those who grow their own wild chamomile, another name for this herb, dry the leaves and make herbal tea. Inhaling or smelling the plant is also therapeutic because it does have a strong odor.
Feverfew extract is easily available in the form of capsules, liquid extract and tablets. If you have been getting recurrent migraines, you might want to try taking the supplement daily and as prescribed. The parthenolide in the ingredient may help reduce the occurrence of your headache.
So far, there is no report of serious side effects. The claims made are irritations and discomforts such as stomach ache, flatulence, diarrhea and vomiting. If you are on medication, do check with your doctor before taking this supplement to find out if it will interact with your medication. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, you too should get your doctor's advice.