Common names: Feverfew, featherfoil, midsummer daisy
Latin name: Tanacetum parthenium
Part used: Leaves
Medicinal uses: Feverfew is perhaps best known for its use as a migraine reliever—the herb has strong anti-inflammatory properties. According to Andrew Chevallier’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine (DK, 1996), feverfew is also used to lower body temperature and help relieve arthritic and rheumatic pain. Early Europeans used the herb for fevers, headaches, arthritis, and other aches and pains. Forms commonly used: Fresh herb, capsule, tincture, tisane, and tablet.
Dosage: Follow manufacturer’s directions, or take up to three 300- to 400-mg capsules per day; use 15 to 30 drops of tincture per day; eat 2 to 3 fresh leaves daily. Many European migraine sufferers chew the leaves or eat them on bread.
Side effects: Feverfew should be avoided during pregnancy and if you are allergic to other plants in the daisy family. In 6 to 15 percent of its users, the herb may cause gastric upset and other side effects of the mouth, including mouth ulcers, swollen lips, tongue inflammation, and occasional loss of taste. These symptoms disappear when use is discontinued. According to the Botanical Safety Handbook (CRC, 1997), no adverse effects of long-term consumption are known.
Notes: Feverfew is also a common garden plant. It is a short, bushy perennial herb found in fields and along roadsides in the United States and Canada. The herb was once given as an antidote to heavy opium users.