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Feverfew

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Tanacetum parthenium Schulz-Bip. synonymous with Chrysanthemum parthenium L. Bernh.,Leucanthemum parthenium (L.) Gren and Godron, and Pyrethrum parthenium (L.) Sm. Alternately described as a member of the genus Matricaria.
Family: Asteraceae/Compositae

COMMON NAME(S): Feverfew, featherfew, altamisa, bachelor's button, featherfoil, febrifuge plant, midsummer daisy, nosebleed, Santa Maria, wild chamomile, wild quinine.

Feverfew, is native to southwest Europe and was brought to America originally as an ornamental. It is commercially cultivated in Japan, Africa and Europe. Greek and European herbalists traditionally used it to reduce fevers.

History

The herb feverfew has had a long history of use in traditional and folk medicine, especially among Greek and early European herbalists. However,during the last few hundred years feverfew had fallen into general disuse,until recently. It has now become popular as a prophylactic treatment for migraine headaches and its extracts have been claimed to relieve menstrual pain, asthma, dermatitis, and arthritis. Traditionally, the herb has been used as an antipyretic, from which its common name is derived. The leaves are ingested, fresh or dried, with a typical daily dose of 2 to 3 leaves. These are bitter and are often sweetened before ingestion. It has also been planted around houses to purify the air because of its strong, lasting odor. A tincture of its blossoms doubles as an insect repellant and balm for insect bites. It was once used as an antidote for overindulgence in opium.

Botany :- A short bushy perennial that grows from 15 to 60 cm tall along fields and roadsides, the feverfew's yellowgreen leaves and yellow flowers resemble those of chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla). The flowers bloom from July to October.

Uses of Feverfew

Traditionally an antipyretic. feverfew has been used in recent times to avert migraines and relieve menstrual pain, asthma, dermatitis, and arthritis.

Drug Interactions: Possible interaction with anticoagulants.

Side Effects of Feverfew

Patients withdrawn from feverfew experienced a syndrome of ill effects. Most adverse effects of treatment with feverfew are mild, although some patients experience increased heart rate. Feverfew should not be used by pregnant or lactating women or children under 2 years of age.

Feverfew may increase your propensity to bleed; therefore, it should be avoided around the time of surgery.

Feverfew can alter the menstrual cycle, so women with a regular menstrual cycle should use with caution.

Dosage and Administration

Historically, feverfew was ingested much in the same way as chewing tobacco, chewing a few leaves to extract its nutrients. However, because chewing fresh feverfew may irritate both the mouth and stomach, feverfew preparations now include capsules, extracts, and tablets made from dried feverfew leaves which do not irritate. To help prevent migraines, a common recommended dosage is 200 to 250 milligrams a day in capsule form. Since the parthenolide content may vary from one feverfew preparation to the next, we strongly suggest following the manufacturer's instructions whenever available. Full effectiveness in preventing migraines may not be evident until feverfew has been taken for 4 to 6 weeks.

Feverfew tea may be made by soaking about one teaspoonful of dried feverfew leaves in 5 to 8 ounces of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Once the solids have been strained out, this tea may be consumed as often as desired. It may also be applied to the skin as an insect repellent.

Toxicology

In one study, patients received 50 mg/day, roughly equivalent to 2 leaves. Adverse effects during 6 months of continued feverfew treatment were mild and did not result in discontinuation. Four of the 8 patients taking the plant had no adverse effects. Heart rate increased by up to 26 beats/ min in 2 treated patients. There were no differences between treatment groups in laboratory test results.

Patients who were switched to placebo after taking feverfew for several years experienced a cluster of nervous system reactions (rebound of migraine symptoms, anxiety, poor sleep patterns) along with muscle and joint stiffness, which was referred to as "postfeverfew syndrome.

In a larger series of feverfew users, 18% reported adverse effects, the most troublesome being mouth ulceration (11 %). Feverfew can induce more widespread inflammation of the oral mucosa and tongue, often with lip swelling and loss of taste. Dermatitis has been associated with this plant.

The leaves of the plant have been shown to possess potential emmenagogue activity and is not recommended for pregnant or lactating mothers or children < 2 years of age Although an interaction with anticoagulants is undocumented, this may be clinically important in sensitive patients.

Analysis of the frequency of chromosomal aberrations and sister chromatid exchanges in circulating lymphocytes from patients who ingested feverfew for 11 months did not find any aberrations, which suggested that the plant does not induce chromosomal abnormalities.

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