Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysanthemum parthenium, Pyrethrum parthenium), Bachelor’s buttons, Featherfew
Main Facts about Feverfew
Feverfew is a short perennial that blooms between July and October, and gives off a strong and bitter odor. The plant grows into a small bush up to around 46 cm (18 in) high with citrus-scented leaves, and is covered by daisy-like flowers with stubby short white petals around yellow center. It grows throughout Europe, North America, and South America. As the name suggest, feverfew once was used to treat fever (without much effect as it turned out). Nowadays it is most famous for effectively preventing headaches and migraines. It was also traditionally used for inflammation and menstrual cramps. In human studies with patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis Feverfew didn't show any significant results.
Using FeverfewFeverfew is believed to help migraine sufferers because of a substance in Feverfew called parthenolide, which helps relieve smooth muscle spasms. In human studies the group of patients taking Feverfew had less migraines than the group taking placebo. Chemicals in feverfew are thought to prevent blood components called platelets from releasing inflammatory substances. Feverfew may also reduce the body's production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances made in the body and involved in regulating a number of body functions including blood pressure, blood vessel tone, and temperature, as well as inflammation. All of these effects could help relieve fever, arthritis, and migraines. Feverfew is effective and has been traditionally used as an emmegagogue (to induce menstrual flow). Feverfew posesses sedative properties and helps body release serotonin to feel good. It could be beneficial for relaxing breathing problems and wheezing. If you have sore feet, you can use it in foot bath.
Caution!Some people may have mild allergic reactions, especially those who are allergic to ragweed, mums, marigolds, or daisies. Do not take while pregnant (it can cause contractions) or brest feeding. Do not take if you are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. Feverfew might increase the risk of bleeding and might interact with blood-thinning medication. Do not take if you have a bleeding disorder or take a blood thinner. It is best not to take feverfew and aspirin and other NSAIDs such as ibruprofen at the same time.
Cooking with FeverfewLeaves are most common part used (fresh or dry), but the whole plant is edible. Chewing fresh feverfew leaves can cause mouth sores; swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips; and loss of taste. For this reason the freeze dried capsules are generally recommended. Or you can pick the leaves and then eat them in which ever way you find most suitable. They can be chopped up and put in salad or a sandwich. They taste rather bitter and so you may find a bit of sugar or honey will help. One large or three smaller leaves can be eaten each day. Small leaves being about 4 centimetres long. The leaves can be dried at home and seem to be just as effective as fresh leaves.
How to grow FeverfewFeverfew is a perennial plant. Once planted it doesn't require much attention and blossoms profusely year after year. Planting may be done in fall, but the best time is about the end of April. Any ordinary good soil is suitable, but you will have better results when using well-drained soil of a stiff, loamy character. There are three methods of propagation: by seed, by division of roots and by cuttings