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What is feverfew?
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a short bushy herb that belongs to the same family as daisies i.e. family Asteraceae. The name Feverfew comes from the Latin name “febrifugia” which means fever reducer. It is often confused for chamomile due to its yellow-green leaves and yellow flowers. It is one of the ancient herbs that was used for medicinal purposes, especially to relieve headaches among other uses. It contains essential properties that are lucrative in the human body, where it plays an important role in the treatment of various ailments. It is also known by the name featherfew because of its feathery leaves.
Where is feverfew found?
It originated from Eastern Europe in Eurasia, at the Balkan Mountains and Caucasus. However, in the modern world, it grows abundantly along roadsides, fields, waste areas and can be found on almost every continent. That includes; China, Japan, North America and Australia. It also grows along the borders of woods from Eastern Canada, all the way to Maryland and Westward and Missouri in the U.S.
Feverfew structure and properties
Feverfew manifests itself in the human anatomy as the sesquiterpene lactone, with parthenolide being the most dominant. The other essential active biological components of the plant that aids in its many benefits are flavonoids, and volatile oils. Its main properties include; carminative, antipyretic, emmenagogue, stimulant, purgative, bitter tonic, and it is anti-inflammatory.
What are Feverfew useful parts?
The most useful parts of feverfew that contain medicinal properties include the stem, leaves, and flowers. These parts can be used in their natural form in tea or taken orally, however, they cause some side effects such as swollen mouth, tongue, and sores inside the mouth. They can also be put into use in their dried form, or purchase manufactured capsules, tablet or liquid supplements.
Benefits of feverfew
- Helps in relieving migraines: one of the traditional uses of feverfew was to relieve a migraine and headaches. Up-to-date, it is still used for those two purposes because it has the ability to prevent platelet build up in capillaries and blood vessels which are what causes the headaches. It does so by relaxing the vessels thus relieving these painful conditions.
- Anti-inflammatory: feverfe contains properties with anti-inflammatory abilities, which are essential in reducing inflammation on various parts of the body. It is beneficial to people who suffer from chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and other painful chronic illnesses. It also helps ease dermatitis.
- Stimulates appetite: for people suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia or trying to add some weight, this plant aids in boosting their appetite. It has an effect on hunger hormones which in turn induces feelings of hunger prompting you to eat often. It may not be ideal for people trying to lose weight or maintain a diet.
- Helps in reducing fevers: like the Latin name suggests, the feverfew relieves fevers. Before aspirins were introduced, the plant was widely used to cure fevers alongside relieving headaches.
- Improves heart health: this is by preventing the production of prostaglandins in the body which are the main cause of high blood pressure. It also aids in reducing signs and symptoms of hypertension thus reducing risks of cardiovascular diseases as well as atherosclerosis.
- Helps in relaxation of the respiratory system: its properties provide it with a soothing sensation which enables it to reduce inflammations in the respiratory tract thus alleviating conditions such as asthma and coughs.
- Relieves menstrual cramps: since one of the main uses of feverfew is relieving pains, it can be used in relieving menstrual cramps. It also enhances regular menstrual flow. The main cause of menstrual cramps is the production of prostaglandin, which causes pain and inflammations. Feverfew counteracts all those problems to offer you a smooth time during your periods.
- Prevents cancer: the properties of feverfew contains anti-carcinogenic properties and reduces oxidative stress that helps in preventing certain types of cancer such as leukemia.
- Other benefits of feverfew include; prevents blood clots, helps in relieving tooth aches, allergies, infertility problems, insect bites, psoriasis, tinnitus, neuropathy, and dizziness.
Feverfew Side effects
People used to consume feverfew are faced with the following side effects:
- Blisters in the mouth if flowers consumed raw
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Swollen lips, tongue or mouth
- Antiplatelet actions
- Abdominal pains
It is important to note that when you want to cease consuming this plant, you should do so gradually to prevent a reversal of some of the benefits it provides. For some people who have been taking feverfew for long may also experience some kind of withdrawal symptoms but finally, stop with time.
- Feverfew should not be consumed by children who are younger than 2 years.
- It should also be consumed in moderation or according to the prescription of a doctor.
- In case you are taking other meds, then it is important to consult a specialist first because it can inhibit their role in the body.
- The plant has a negative impact on blood-thinning medications and thus should not be consumed by anyone on this medications. This is because they inhibit the function of platelets in the body.
- Pregnant women should also not take feverfew products since the leaves of the plant contain emmenagogue properties and can cause contractions. Breastfeeding mothers should also refrain from consuming feverfew.
This plant plays an import role in our lives, as much as it may be an herb, it is also great for medicinal purposes. In addition to that, we should be keen on the amounts we consume to avoid some adverse effects later on.