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How to Use Feverfew for Headaches

Feverfew has long been used as a remedy for various ailments, including headaches. Read on to know more about the use of feverfew for headaches.
HolisticZine Staff
Feverfew is a herb that has been used for medicinal purposes, throughout the centuries. The plant that is native to the Eurasian regions is also grown for ornamental purposes, as it produces small daisy-like flowers. Feverfew bushes are now grown in various regions of the world, including Europe and North America. As stated above, feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium/Chrysanthemum parthenium/Pyrethrum parthenium) has been used a medicinal herb for a very long time. In fact, it is an important herb used in the European folk medicine. As the name rightly suggests, the plant got its name from one of its popular medicinal uses - reducing fever. It is also claimed to be an effective remedy for headaches, especially those caused by migraines.

Why Feverfew for Migraine Headaches

Migraine headaches are more severe as compared to regular ones. Apart from that, migraine headaches are often accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, blurred vision and fatigue. There is no cure for this condition, which can be controlled and/or prevented with medication, natural remedies and lifestyle changes. Herbal remedies have always been used for treating migraines and feverfew is among the popular ones. Earlier, feverfew leaves (both in fresh and dried forms) were used for this purpose. Nowadays, this herb is widely available in the form of capsules, dried leaves, pills and liquid extract. Even herbal tea prepared with the leaves of this herb is said to be effective in relieving migraine headaches.

Apart from being an age-old remedy for migraine headaches, recent researches too suggest that this herb may be effective in providing relief from migraine headaches. It has been suggested that the active ingredients in the herb, called parthenolide and tanetin, hinder the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, which are believed to trigger migraine headaches. It has also been indicated that these active ingredients in feverfew may curb inflammation of the blood vessels in the head. This too has a positive effect in relieving headaches. Numerous trials have been conducted on humans, so as to prove the effectiveness of feverfew for migraine headaches. More than 60 percent of users experienced less severe and less frequent migraine headaches. However, there are certain studies that do not support these claims.

Feverfew Dosage for Headaches

In short, feverfew is claimed to be effective for relieving migraine headaches. Most of its users are satisfied with its effects in lowering the frequency and severity of the condition. However, there are some, who may not find it as effective as others. One of the possible reasons for this could be improper dosage. It may also happen that some people do not simply respond to the treatment. Even use of substandard products may be a reason for the ineffectiveness of the herb. As far as the proper dosage is concerned, it has to be decided by a qualified herbalist. Chewing two to three small feverfew leaves (fresh or dried) per day is said to be effective for relieving headaches. However, fresh leaves may cause mouth ulcers and loss of taste. So, use of feverfew in its fresh form is usually not recommended.

In case of capsules and tablets, a dosage of 100 to 300 milligrams per day is suggested. The dosage is decided on the basis of various factors like age, physical condition and body weight of the person and the type of feverfew product. Make sure that the feverfew product you use contains 0.2 and 0.4 percent parthenolides. Tincture and extract of feverfew is diluted with water, before use. In case of tincture, equal amount of water is added, whereas in extract, you have to mix one part with five parts water. It is not recommended to use this herb for a longer periods, as it can cause withdrawal symptoms, once you stop using it. So, discontinue its use in between, as per the advise of your herbalist. Pregnant and breastfeeding women and young kids must avoid using this herb. Even those who are allergic to feverfew and those who develop allergic reactions after using it must avoid using the herb.

Though there is no conclusive evidence to prove the effectiveness of feverfew for migraine headaches, the herb is widely used and is found to be effective for many. However, you must use it as per the instructions of a qualified herbalist, as he will be the best person to decide the proper dosage for you.

This article is for informational purposes only and it should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.