Featherfew is a member of a botanical family of daisies and sunflowers. Its flowers are white and light yellow, and leaves yellow-green, so that the plant resembles a chamomile with which it is often replaced. Leaves are used for medical purposes. The flowers are not used and they have a strong smell. This strong scent obviously annoys insects that the plant, planted in the garden, effectively repels.
How does it work?
The active ingredient of this plant is parthenolide, which prevents spreading and narrowing of blood vessels, caused by various substances in the inflammatory reaction.
PREVENTION: although the exact cause of migraine is unknown, many doctors believe that it occurs when the blood vessels in the head are narrowed and then rapidly expand. Such a dramatic change causes release of platelets, chemical substances that cause pain and inflammation. It is believed that featherfew prevents the rapid spread of blood vessels, so that releasing of pain-causing substances does not occur. Although this plant is good for preventing migraine, it is not effective when the seizure occurs.
British scientists have tried to define its effectiveness in research on people who are already taking it. They divided them into two groups: the first, which kept using the preparation of this plant, and the other, which started to take placebo. The incidence of seizures did not increase in the first group, while in the second group the attacks were more frequent and stronger. Another study showed that featherfew reduces the incidence of migraine by 24%, and when the onset occur they are much easier. Due to the results of these and other studies, the use of featherfew to prevent migraine in Canada and other countries has been approved.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: featherfew has long been used to relieve menstrual problems, particularly cramps, which are the result of prostaglandin production in the uterine mucosa. Prostaglandins are substances similar to the hormones that cause pain and inflammation, and featherfew decreases their production.
The anti-inflammatory effect of this plant could be beneficial in treating inflammatory and painful joints in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. However, the studies did not show any beneficial effect when featherfew was taken with the usual anti-arthritis medication. For the time being, the effect of the plant alone or in combination with other herbal remedies for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has not been tested.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: for migraines, the usual daily dose is 259 mg of preparation, standardized to contain 0.4% partenolide.
USE GUIDELINES: according to the experience of people with migraines (from the mentioned British study), it is important to take featherfew for a long time. Any interruption of use, even a short one, may lead to a new seizure.
Possible side effects
Even after long-term use of featherfew preparations, the side effects were rarely reported. The wounds and dryness of the lining of the oral cavity are mentioned, but this is likely to occur only in people who chew fresh leaves. In some people, regardless of the form in which they take these preparations, gastric problems occur. Skin contact with this plant can cause rash – people who have rash should not take preparations.
IMPORTANT: pregnant women should not take featherfew preparations because it may cause uterine contractions; breastfeeding women should also avoid it.
Featherfew can prevent blood clotting, so if you are taking medicines that slow down this process, consult a physician before using this plant.