Fever few

laila(Sunset 17)August 22, 2005

or Chrysanthemum Partenium (Tanacetum parthenium)

I want to put it in a 5 gallon clay pot. It this a good idea?

I hear it helps with migraines by eating leaves. How many leaves do I eat? How many is too many?

Will it grow well in a foggy coastal town that does get sun at times?

How tall does it grow?

Thanks in advance.

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It's not a bad idea to keep your feverfew in a large pot - it self-seeds readily and can become invasive if planted in the garden, especially in cold climates. It's frost hardy, and will grow in full sun or partial shade, and in very poor soils (it's a weed, of course, so it's not too fussy!). It may die off in drought conditions, but should come back again after watering. You'll probably need to replace your plant (unless you have some volunteers popping up) every 3-5 years or so, once it becomes woody. Pruning will help keep up the growth of leaves.

If heat is helpful in reducing headache pain, feverfew might help. But if cold is helpful, then feverfew probably will not help. It will not usually ease the pain during a migraine attack, but it is used as a preventative, and you may need to take it for several months before you see an appreciable improvement in the frequency or severity of migraine attacks.

Usual dosage: Eat 2-3 leaves per day between slices of bread. Or take 1-2 cups of the tea per day, made with 1 heaped teaspoon of dried leaves (2-8 fresh leaves) to 1 cup water. Take cold.

Warning: Avoid during pregnancy, or when taking anti-clotting medications. When chewing the leaves, it may irritate the mouth (can cause blistering of the palate) so always eat them between slices of bread to reduce this effect. Flowers are laxative and should be used sparingly. It may inhibit blood-clotting. May cause dermatitis in susceptible people. Flowers are laxative and should be used sparingly. It may inhibit blood-clotting (keep a record that you're taking it in your wallet in case of accident, and tell your dentist before a tooth extraction). Do not use if taking Warfarin or other blood-thinning drugs, including Aspirin.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 7:17PM
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There is also indication in the literature (findable on Google) that it does something permanent to the smooth muscle; here is a quote that does not appear to be copyrighted:

"Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: feverfew: effective but possibly dangerous
Date: 15 Jun 1995 17:52:31 GMT

I looked up feverfew in Medline and would like to report what I found there. If you aren't interested in medical experimentation as it applies to herbs, you will probably not be interested in what follows.

The good news (for migraine sufferers): I found two double blind experiments looking at the effectiveness of feverfew on migraines: The first one used 72 migraine sufferers. Half got a capsule per day of feverfew, the other half got a placebo. There was a significant reduction in the mean number and severity of migraine attacks.
The other experiment looked at 17 migraine sufferers who normally ate feverfew to control headaches. They gave placebos to some and continued the feverfew with others. The placebos increased frequency and severity of migraines.

The bad news: Feverfew affects the smooth muscles of the body. These are muscles that control much of your involuntary muscular processes, such as the vascular system (blood vessels), digestive system, internal organs, aorta, etc. From what I can gather from some of the abstracts in Medline, feverfew PERMANENTLY affects the ability of these smooth muscles to contract and relax. Here are some snippets from the abstracts which looked at this:

"(Feverfew)...inhibits smooth muscle contractibility in a time-dependent, non-specific, and irreversable manner."

"(Feverfew)...affects smooth muscles...may represent a toxic modification of post-receptor contractile function in the smooth muscle...effects are potentially toxic"

"...inhibition of eicosanoid generation is irreversable"

"...irreversable loss of tone of precontracted aortic rings...inhibited ability of acetylcholine to enduce endothelium dependent relaxation of tissue."

What does this all mean for the long term health of those who take feverfew? That does not seem to have been looked at yet; these articles were very recent. However, I think that people who take feverfew should know that they may be permanently affecting the smooth muscles in their bodies and may want to take this into account when deciding whether or not to continue taking it. "

I'm not certain what this implies but maybe some others on this board can tell us.

There are quite a few testaments to feverfew on the internet by migraine sufferers; maybe the effect on smooth muscle is part of the reason.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 1:23AM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

Thought this a good thread about fever few.
Notice the intelligent posts. Wish eibren would come back.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 3:41PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Yes, Daisey talked about cultivation and eibren cited a source for what she said.

Based on her post it sounds like scary stuff that I want no where near my body.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 4:07PM
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Yes, no personal insults or demands that other posters leave the forum. Good discussion.

It's too bad there weren't any literature citations we could look at to evaluate this smooth muscle effect of feverfew. It's isn't clear what experiments were performed in a test tube, in animals and (maybe) in humans. "Irreversible" doesn't necessarily mean that muscle was permanently altered in a living system.

It's true that long-term studies of potential feverfew toxicity in humans are lacking, and there are contraindications to using it (i.e. in pregnancy, and potentially in people on blood-thinning medication). Just another indication that herbs are to be treated with care and respect as we should for drugs of all kinds.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 4:21PM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

Whats a liturature citation? A ticket for driving while reading? LOL What does it have to do with herbs?

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 4:27AM
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A "liturature (sic) citation" is a listing of an actual article in the scientific literature that we can find and read.

By contrast, a collection of quotes taken out of context doesn't tell us very much.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 10:01AM
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orchidguyftl(z11 FTL FL)

I never used it for migraines, never had one.
I do use feverfew for fevers, chew 3 leaves and it drops it pretty quickly. tastes nasty, but it works. Never any side effects...

    Bookmark   January 12, 2009 at 9:38PM
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