I grow feverfew as an ornamental cut flower because of its beautiful addition as a pretty filler flower in bouquets. A herbaceous tender perennial with a height of 2ft, branching with daisy-like flowerheads. Feverfew remedies made from leaves and flower heads were prescribed in folk medicine to treat ailments from fevers to insect bites. Still, this plant, scientifically known as Tanacetum parthenium, is far more commonly used in traditional medicine and modern herbal therapies. These are hardy flowers and can often spread quickly to large areas of land, which is why many see them as invasive weeds. However, people who recognize feverfew's value appreciate its durability and resilience. Native to Eurasia, though, we now can find it on all major continents, and it grows very well here in north Idaho.
There are many health benefits, but I want to focus on the one it's well-known to relieve, mainly because it's something many of us suffer from, including myself.
Migraines The oldest and most commonly praised benefit of feverfew is its apparent effect on headaches and migraines. One of the effects of its active ingredients is its prevention of platelet buildup in capillaries and blood vessels. This causes tension in the cardiovascular system and causes headaches and migraines. By relieving and relaxing these vessels, feverfew can quickly eliminate these painful conditions. Here's how to take this straight from your herb garden!
Take ten drops daily using a simple tincture recipe(listed below). It should be taken regularly and at the first signs of an attack.
An alternative to the tincture and as a preventative measure, you can eat 2-3 leaves daily. Be sure to chew well with crackers and drink a glass of water.
*Note: It has been reported that eating fresh leaves long-term may cause mouth ulcers, and it is not advised to use it if you're taking any blood thinners.
Remember, I'm not an herbalist or a doctor, just a curious flower farmer learning the medicinal properties of all the herbs, flowers, and 'weeds' we grow here on our land. If you're looking to use anything listed above to treat a significant diagnosis, be sure to seek the advice of an expert.
Recipe Tinctures are made by soaking an herb in alcohol, which encourages the active plant properties to dissolve, giving tinctures a relatively strong and fast action. You can store your remedy in a jar in a cool dark cupboard for up to 2 years!
So here's a basic standard recipe:
200g dried or 300g fresh herb chopped into small pieces to 1-quart alcohol-vodka of 35-40% is ideal, although rum hides the taste of bitter or unpalatable herbs. You can take it with a dropper or dilute it 2-3 times daily in water.
This remedy has worked well for me, but you must catch it as soon as you feel your migraine coming on. I'd love to hear about your experience with it!
Warren, Penny Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine
1st ed., 1996