FEVERFEW (Tanacetum parthenium)

Family: Asteraceae

Parts commonly used: Leaf and flower.

Properties/energetics: Antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, bitter tonic, vermifuge/Cool; bitter.

Systems predominantly affected:  Digestive, nervous system, musculoskeletal.

Uses: This plant blocks the activity of certain inflammatory compounds in the body (primarily prostaglandins but also histamines). Having an aspirin-like activity, it has been used to treat arthritis, migraine headaches, fevers, and so on. Like aspirin, it also has the ability to mildly thin the blood, helping prevent excessive platelet aggregation and clot formation. As opposed to aspirin, however, which tends to damage the stomach, Feverfew is an aromatic bitter known to benefit the digestive process. Concerning Feverfew’s well-known use for migraine headaches, the effect can be attributed to the plant’s ability to not only prevent the production of inflammatory chemicals but also decrease vasoconstriction of the brain’s blood vessels in response to adrenaline, serotonin, and other chemicals. Feverfew also relieves tinnitus and dizziness. Acute rheumatoid arthritis inflammation is also frequently relieved by using this plant. An excellent stomach bitter, it relieves nausea and promotes digestion.

Combinations: Combines with Ginkgo and Black Cohosh for treating tinnitus and dizziness and as a preventative agent for treating cluster headaches. Feverfew can be used as a vermifuge to expel intestinal worms and pinworms, well combined with Quassia, Garlic, and Oregon Grape.

Affects on specific body types: Useful for relieving symptom discomforts in all body types. The blood-thinning properties of Feverfew greatly benefit the Warrior-dominant constitution. This is a particularly useful herb for Warriors with a tendency toward musculoskeletal inflammations and inflammatory headaches.

Precautions: Causes irritation to the mouth in some people. Double-flowered Feverfew is genetically modified.

Preparations/dosage: It is best to chew a fresh leaf two to three times a day to help prevent the release of chemicals that trigger migraine headache. Tincture (of fresh leaves and flowers): Take 15 to 30 drops in a little water three times a day.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition