A short bushy perennial that grows from 15 to tall along fields and roadsides. Its yellow-green and yellow flowers resemble those of chamomile for which it is sometimes condition? The flowers bloom from July to October.
The herb feverfew has had a long history of in traditional and folk medicine, especially among and early European herbalists. However, during asl few hundred years feverfew had fallen into raldisuse, until recently.6lt has now become popular prophylactic treatment for migraine headaches and racts have been claimed to relieve menstrual pain, a, dermatitis and arthritis. Traditionally, the herb has used as an antipyretic, from which its common is derived. The leaves are ingested fresh or dried, a typical daily dose of 2 to 3 leaves. These are bitter are often sweetened before ingestion. It has also planted around houses to purify the air due to its g, lasting odor, and a tincture of its blossoms doubles 1 insect repellant and balm for their bites.3 It was used as an antidote for overindulgence in opium.
The chemistry of feverfew is now well? , The plant is rich in sesquiterpene lactones, the ipal one being parthenolide? Parthenolide com?3S up to 85% of the total sesquiterpene content.1 r active sesquiterpene lactones are canin, seco?partholide A, artecanin, and 3-beta-ydroxyparthenos Other members of this class have been isolated and been shown to possess spasmolytic activity per?through an inhibition of the influx of extracellular 1m into vascular smooth muscle cells. The plant tains several flavonoid glycosides, the main ones 19 luteolin and apigenin.
Feverfew action does not appear to 3 limited to a single major mechanism; rather, plant .extracts affect a wide variety of physiologic pathways.
In vitro: Feverfew appears to be an inhibitor of prosta?Iandin synthesis. Extracts of the above-ground portions bf Ihe plant suppress prostaglandin production by up to ; leaf extracts inhibit prostaglandin production to a lesser extent (58%). Neither the whole plant nor leaf extracts inhibit cyclooxygenation of arachidonic acid, the first step in prostaglandin synthesis.
Aqueous extracts prevent the release of arachidonic acid and inhibit in vitro aggregation of platelets stimulated by ADP or thrombin. Whether these extracts block the synthesis of thromboxane, a prostaglandin involved in platelet aggregation, is controversial. Data suggest that feverfew's inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis differs in mechanism from that of the salicylates. Extracts may inhibit platelet behavior via effects on platelet sulfhydryl groups.
Feverfew extracts are potent inhibitors of serotonin re?lease from platelets and polymorphonuclear leucocyte granules, providing a possible connection between the claimed benefit of feverfew in migraines and arthritis. Feverfew may produce and antimigraine effect in a man?ner similar to methysergide maleate (Sansert), a known serotonin antagonist. Extracts of the plant also inhibit the release of enzymes from white cells found in inflamed joints, a similar anti-inflammatory effect may occur in the skin, providing a rationale for the traditional use of fever?few in psoriasis. In addition, feverfew extracts inhibit phagocytosis, inhibit the deposition of platelets on collagen surfaces, exhibit antithrombotic potential, have in vitro antibacterial activity, inhibit mast cell release of histamine and exhibit cyto? toxic activity.9 Monoterpenes in the plant may exert . insecticidal activity, and alpha-pinene derivatives may poss~ss sedative and mild tranquilizing effects.
Much interest has been focused on the activity of feverfew in the treatment and prevention of migraine headaches. The first significant, modern, pub?lic account of its use as a preventative for migraine appeared in 1978. This story, reported in the British health magazine, Prevention, concerned a Mrs. Jenkins who had suffered from severe migraine since the age of 16. At the age of 68, she began using three leaves of feverfew daily, and after 10 months her headaches ceased alto?gether. This case prompted studies by Dr. E. Stewart Johnson.
A study in eight feverfew-treated patients and nine pla?cebo-controlled patients found that fewer headaches.