Native to Europe, Feverfew is now widespread throughout North America and Australia. This member of the daisy family has been used for centuries to treat headaches, arthritis, and problems with labor and childbirth. (As it’s name suggests, it was also used to treat fevers, but it was never very effective and it is not currently used for fevers as there are many better natural remedies!) It has gained a reputation as a preventative against migraine headaches and it has become a saviour to many sufferers (especially those whose migraines that are eased by the application of warmth to the head). It is ideally taken regularly as a preventative (studies have found it reduced the number and severity of migraines). It is also somewhat effective for acute migraine treatment, depending on the individual. Feverfew has analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions and is used to treat painful arthritic conditions and other joint pain. It is also an emmenagogue, which means it stimulates menstrual flow, and is used to relieve painful periods and sluggish menstrual flow.
For migraine prevention, it is preferably taken as a fresh leaf - about 1 leaf, 3 times daily. However the dried leaf, tincture, tablets or extract is also effective. As dried extract (or tablets/capsules) take 50 - 100 mg per day.
People with allergies to chamomile, ragweed, or yarrow may be allergic to feverfew and should not take it. Feverfew may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you take blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin. Ask your doctor before taking feverfew if you take blood thinners. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as children under 2, should not take feverfew.