Common Names - Altamisa, bachelor's button, camomille grande, crysanthemum parthenium, featherfew, featherfoil, febrifuge plant, federfoy, flirtwort, Leucanthemum parthenium , Matricaria capensis , matricaria eximia hort, Matricaria parthenium L., midsummer daisy, mother herb, mutterkraut, nosebleed, Parthenium hysterophorus , parthenolide, Pyrenthrum parthenium L., santa maria, Tanacetum parthenium , wild chamomile, wild quinine.

Origin - Germany, Holland, Great Britain, Israel

Description - Perennial growing to 0.6m by 0.3m . It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees and flies. The plant is self-fertile and prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay)  and well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Part of the plant used - Leaves

Edible Parts - Condiment; Tea.

Pharmacology - Feverfew contains the bitter-tasting sesquiterpene lactones of which parthenolide is the most pharmacologically active. Research studies determined that parthenolide, michefuscalide, and chrysanthenyl acetate inhibited the production of prostaglandin. This inhibition of prostaglandin results in reduction in inflammation, decreased secretion of histamine, decreased activation of inflammatory cells and a reduction of fever, from whence the name of the herb. This reduction of prostaglandin and histamines is thought to be part of the reason for the efficacy of feverfew in treating migraines by reducing spasms of blood vessels.

Medicinal Uses - Feverfew was known to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks as a valuable herbal remedy, used as an anti-inflammatory agent, to treat headaches, and as an emmenagogue (promoting menstrual flow). Feverfew is a member of the daisy family, similar to the tansy and chrysanthemum. The herb has become popular with the recent clinical trials showing its effectiveness as a remedy for migraine headaches.With its anti-inflammatory activities, feverfew has also been useful against swellings and arthritis; for relaxing the smooth muscles in the uterus, promoting menstrual flow; and for inhibiting platelet aggregation and excessive blood clotting. As a bitter herb, feverfew has also been useful in stimulating digestion and improving the functioning of the liver.

Feverfew may also reduce the body’s production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances made in the body and involved in inflammation as well as in regulating a number of other body functions including blood pressure, blood vessel tone, and temperature

Historical Uses:

Toxicity, Cautions & Contra-indications - There is not enough information about safety to recommend feverfew during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Traditional experience suggests that feverfew may stimulate menstrual flow and induce abortion, and therefore should be avoided. Feverfew theoretically may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding including aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®). Feverfew may also cause allergy in people allergic to chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds, or other members of the Compositae family, including ragweed. There are multiple reports of allergic skin rashes after contact with feverfew.

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