Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Benefits and Side Effects of Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

Feverfew is native to the south-West of Europe, which was brought to America as an ornamental plant. Feverfew is related to the sunflower family and was cultured in Japan, Europe and Africa for commercial purposes. It can reach up to sixty centimetres in height and has a bitter and strong odor. Another variety of the plant is widely used in gardens due to its bright white and yellow flowers that produce powerful smell.

Feverfew has been used for many centuries as a remedy for different illnesses and disorders such as headaches, fever, nausea and depression. Herbalists from Europe and Greece used feverfew to ebb fever. It is also popular for treating arthritis, migraine headaches and digestive problems. Tanetin and parthenolide are chemicals that are present in Feverfew, which are effective in treating migraine. However, the herb is not proven to be efficient for acute migraine attacks.

Feverfew has a long history of medical benefits including treatment for headache, inflammation and it serves as an effective alternative in treating toothache, rheumatism, psoriasis, stomachache and asthma.

The herb is used in stimulating the appetite and improving the function of the digestive system and kidney. When mixed with sugar or honey, it is effective for cough, breathing difficulty and cough. A fried, heated and bruised feverfew, mixed with a little oil and wine is best for colic and wind when used as warm external application.

Scientific researches prove that Feverfew is effective in decreasing the severity and frequency of headaches and may also be more efficient than aspirin. In addition, it can reduce stomach irritation and decrease blood pressure.

Tincture of Feverfew is best used locally as it instantly relieves swelling and the pain caused by insect bites. It is also used in treating menstrual irregularities.

However, there are certain side effects connected to Feverfew. Women who are pregnant and breast-feeding must avoid taking Feverfew because it may increase the risk of abortion and certain birth defects. As it treats menstrual irregularities, it may greatly affect pregnant women.

Long-term users of Feverfew who suddenly stopped may experience insomnia, migraine disorders, myalgias, arthralgias and anxiety as well as gastrointestinal disorders and mouth ulceration.

Other side effects of Feverfew include vomiting, abdominal pain, flatulence, indigestion, nervousness, diarrhea, and nausea, loss of taste and swelling of the mouth, lips and tongue.

People who are taking warfarin and aspirin must ask advice from a doctor before using Feverfew. In addition, researches show that Feverfew may aggravate depression or lessen the efficiency of fluxetine and other antidepressant medications.

Infants and children must not take Feverfew because of its bitter taste, which may lead to nausea. Avoid chewing the leaves of Feverfew to avoid mouth ulcers. If you need to eat the leaves, it is recommended to put it in bread to mask the bitter taste. People who have allergic reactions to Feverfew or to other plants related to daisies must avoid using the herb.

Feverfew has many benefits when used as directed. When taking feverfew or other medicinal herbs, it is important to know the benefits as well as the side effects to avoid harmful reactions. Make sure that you seek advice from your doctor before taking any herbal supplements.