Feverfew Information

Featherfew, Featherfoil, Midsummer Daisy.

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Most Common Name: Feverfew
Botanical Name: Tanacetum Parthenium
Also Known As (other names): Featherfew, Featherfoil, Midsummer Daisy.

This two foot herb is found wild in Europe and Britain. It has distinctive flowers with a dark yellow centre and white petals fanned out like a daisy, leaves are pale green and serrated.

The entire herb is harvested.

Feverfew has been popular over centuries in the treatment of menstrual cramps and rheumatism. Lately it has also been widely used to treat migraine. 

It is used for, or in treatment of:

 MigraineMenstrual CrampsRheumatism


Administered as:

 Fresh herb (leaves)Dried HerbInfusion

What is?

A CompressA DecoctionA Herbal VinegarA Fluid Extract
An InfusionAn OintmentA PoulticeA Powder
A SalveA SyrupA TeaA Tincture


Constituents (i.e. what has been reported to be in this herb):

 Volatile oil

Camphor:  Camphor is a Carvone, one of the Ketones. In the + isometric form is found in the oil of Caraway seed, in the - isometric form it is found in feverfew and some lavender subspecies. In the - form -Carvone is the major constituent in Oil of Spearmint (Mentha Spicata).

Camphor is commercially extracted in the + isometric form from the wood of Cinammomum Camphora, the Camphor Laurel

Camphor is antipruritic, mucolytic and expectorant. Camphor is also toxic in significant doses and can cause contact dermatitis.

In the cosmetic and beauty therapy industry Camphor is widely used for its preservative properties in creams, hair products, after shave lotions and other skin products as it has the added benefit of giving a cool refreshing feeling to the skin. Pure camphor oil has been used through the centuries as a moth repellent and an ingredient in liniments. The FDA has banned Camphor as a liniment as it is readily absorbed through the skin and is toxic in larger doses even when applied topically.

In Lavender Essential oil although present Camphor is regarded as an undesirable constituent thereby increasing the price of Lavandin, Lavender and even Lavender-Spike (in which higher levels of Camphor is expected) where the aroma lacks the distinct Camphor smell.

Ketones: Monoterpenoid Ketones are stable molecules formed by oxidation of alcohols. Monocyclic Ketones like Pulegone and Thujone are toxic and should be avoided in any significant volumes in any treatment. Ketones are expectorant and a respiratory tonic.


Parthenolide: Well regarded as a treatment of migraines, Parthenolide is a sesquiterpene lactone (see below)

Sesquiterpene lactones: There are thousands of sesquiterpene lactones known. They mostly occur as a combination of several sesquiterpene lactones and are more prevalent in leaves and flowers.

Commonly valued for the digestive bitter benefits sesquiterpene lactones are also anti-inflammatory, antiprotozoal, antibacterial and antimicrobial.

A large majority of sesquiterpene lactones irritate the skin on contact causing dermatitis and often acute inflammation.

Used in China as an infertility agent in men it should not be used in this context as it could cause permanent infertility in men. Sesquiterpenes have antifungal, antibacterial and anaesthetic properties.

It is also thought that they prevent migraines and can be used as antibiotics and to treat Malaria but there is very little in depth testing results available to support these claims.

Lactones: A lactone is an Ester that's functional group has become part of a ring structure with carbon atoms.

Lactones are widely present in the plant kingdom and many are expectorants and febrifuges.

Melatonin - infrequentlySpiroketal ethers 



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