FeverfewFeverfew is a short perennial plant with strong and bitter odor. As the name indicates, feverfew is an herb that is used traditionally for fever treatment. In past people used to take advantage of the nutrients from feverfew leaves by chewing it in the style of tobacco, but this could cause mouth and stomach irritation. Now a days feverfew leaves are dried and consumed in the form of tablets, capsules or extracts. Vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and niacin are the major nutrients present in the plant.
Health and feverfew
- Feverfew when taken orally may help in the treatment of migraine attacks. The combination of nutrients present in feverfew helps to inhibit the release of serotonin and prostaglandin which are considered inflammatory substances believed in the onset of a migraine attack. Feverfew may act by reducing inflammation and preventing blood vessel constriction that may lead to headaches. However feverfew doesn’t seem to have any effects on already started migraine attacks. More high quality human studies need to be conducted in this area to prescribe feverfew supplements as a migraine cure.
- Although feverfew may have anti-inflammatory properties, it is not clear that feverfew can reduce the symptoms such as joint stiffness or pain of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Traditionally based on scientific theories feverfew is also used for abdominal pain, anemia, asthma, breast cancer, central nervous system diseases, cold, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, digestion, insect bites/repellent, menstrual cramps, promotion of menstruation, skin cancer, tooth ache and uterine disorders. However for safe and effective use of feverfew, more conclusive human studies should be conducted.
Side effects of feverfew
For better safety and effectiveness of feverfew, it is advisable to ingest feverfew in recommended doses under the guidance of a health care professional.
- The side effects of feverfew plant are mild and generally reversible.
- Mouth ulcer side effects including inflammation, swelling of lips, bleeding of the gums, tongue irritation and loss of taste have been reported with feverfew leaves ingestion orally.
- Indigestion, flatulence, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, heart burn and abnormal bloating have also been reported.
- Skin irritation may occur with frequent contact with the feverfew plant (generally occurs in gardeners).
- Withdrawal symptoms like rebound headaches, anxiety, insomnia, join pain and muscle stiffness may occur when the ingestion is stopped suddenly after long term consumption.
- Feverfew may increase the risk of bleeding by affecting the blood platelets. Thus patients with bleeding disorders or on medications or herbal supplementation for the same should use feverfew with caution.
- Feverfew is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation as it may stimulate menstrual flow and induce abortion.