Common Names: Featherfoil, Featherfew, Midsummer Daisy, Bachelor's Buttons, Flirtwort
Range: Indigenous to Europe, North America, Australia
History: Many herbalists believe that feverfew gets its common name from a corruption of febrifuge, a term indicating the presence of fever-reducing properties. Feverfew has enjoyed a wide variety of medicinal uses, including being valued as a tonic, blood purifier, digestive and stimulant. It has also been used as a wash for wounds, as a tranquilizer, an antiseptic, to cleanse after a tooth extraction, and to check intestinal parasites and gynecological disorders. Today, the most common medicinal uses of feverfew are limited to treating migraine, arthritis, rheumatism, fever and allergies.
Feverfew is also used as an insecticide. Bees, in particular, object to feverfew and commercial applications of insecticides may include Pyrethrum.
The efficacy of feverfew in treating migraine is fairly well documented. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled and randomized study involving 72 subjects, the effect of one daily feverfew capsule after four months evidenced a significant reduction in severity and frequency of migraine.
Feverfew extract has also shown an ability to inhibit blood aggregation and serotonin (5-HT) secretion by platelets. It also inhibits mast cell release making it useful in treating certain allergies.
Constituents: Volatile oil (0.75%), including L-camphor, transchrysanthyl acetate, camphene, p-cymene, gamma-terpinene, linalool, borneol, terpinenes-4-ol. Also contains sesquiterpene lactones (particularly parthenolide), flavonoids, polyynes (in fresh material).
Cautions: It is possible that feverfew preparations can interact with thrombolytics, anticoagulants and platelet aggregation. There is a high degree of sensitization with skin contact. Sometimes, gastrointestinal discomfort is experienced with internal dosages. High levels in skin tissue can result in toxic and irreversible inhibition of smooth muscle contractility.