Medicinal plants

Feverfew

One of the plants with good medicinal use and widely used is feverfew. Its scientific name is Tanacetum parthenium and it is quite attractive. It is often confused or similar to the daisy and can be used as a decorative plant. However, among the main uses of this plant are medicinal ones thanks to its properties. It has its Baltic origin and is cultivated in Asia, America and Europe for its medicinal value and in part for its ornamental power. It belongs to the family of chrysanthemums and daisies. It is known by other common names such as Santa María, wrinkles, button, atanasia or St. Anthony’s wort.

In this article we are going to explain in detail the characteristics and medicinal properties of feverfew.

Main features

Its leaves are aromatic and the structure is toothed. Its shades vary from the palest yellow to the most vivid green. Its stem grows quite dense and is usually fine with many branches. It is in summer when the flowering season begins and the stems can be seen full of small flowers and white or yellow, depending on the varieties. The flowers also remain for much of the fall.

It is the leaves that have therapeutic purposes and are best used fresh. They are used to freeze them and keep them for a longer time, although they have to be well packaged so that their aroma does not contaminate other things. To make medicinal preparations, the flowers and leaves of the plant are used.

It is a lively plant whose cycle is biennial. It self fertilizes itself, so it is hermaphrodite and it does so thanks to insects, bees, flies or beetles. The inflorescence that the plant has is very typical of other compound plants. It is called floral chapter. It is made up of dozens of very small flowers.

The flowers are female ligulate and look like petals. It is normal for it to be confused with common daisies since the whole flower looks very similar. As for the fruit, it is a tiny indehiscent achene that has a very small seed inside.

The most commonly used parts of the plant are the leaves and flowers for medicinal purposes. Its essential oil is similar to that of chamomile, as it contains feverfew camphor. It has lactones that are responsible for the medicinal properties of the plant. In some people it tends to cause sensitivity and dermatitis from contact with the fresh whole plant. It also has mucilage.

Medicinal properties

Feverfew is used in medicine in a similar way to chamomile. It has some anti-inflammatory effects and its main functions are stomachic and emmenagogue. It also has some effects as a laxative but milder, carminative, sedative, stimulating and vasodilator.

Traditionally it has been a plant that was used to treat people with vertigo problems. The most common is that it is taken by means of an infusion using both its flowers and its leaves.

Its anti-migraine effects are well known. Several studies have been carried out that indicate that, with the intake of some fresh feverfew leaves for three months , the frequency and intensity of migraine pain was reduced. This is quite interesting for those people who suffer from this pathology. And is that a migraine can spoil the whole day. You cannot go to work or, if you work, you will do it in a sorry state, it does not allow you to go out, or watch TV, nothing. Therefore, treating migraines with feverfew is a very good option.

It can also be effective for treating some people with rheumatoid arthritis, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Although it is not an effect that we cannot take at face value, some scientific studies have shown that feverfew has properties as if it were a natural contraceptive.

However, its use is not recommended for pregnant women. It should also not be used with infants and young children. Its use is for adults only.

How to take feverfew

There are different types of taking the herb of Santa María, but the most common is through an infusion of its flower heads. It is not a plant that is used in food, although its leaves in spring are tender enough and, being edible, they are usually included in some salads.

It can also be used as an insecticide. Its flower buds are used as an insect repellent in a natural way. This is because it has a great ability to repel these insects thanks to its smell, which is unpleasant for them.

Numerous studies have been carried out in various cases to list all the medicinal uses that can be given to this plant. Among the results obtained from the studies we find:

  • It is used to regulate menstruation in women. Some women do not have a regulated menstrual cycle, therefore, feverfew can return it to normal.
  • It is quite useful for people who suffer from dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
  • In illnesses with fever, it helps reduce it.
  • Eliminate intestinal parasites that can cause colon problems.
  • If applied locally as a cream, it may improve psoriasis somewhat.
  • It serves as a stimulant, but has a mild laxative effect.
  • It helps to alleviate some problems of hot flashes in women with menopause.
  • It serves to reduce the consequences of insect bites and relieves pain.

How to plant feverfew

Because it is not only a medicinal plant, but also has ornamental value, we can think of growing it in our garden. It needs a location in full sun and to be planted in dry, well-drained soil. We will sow in the spring or fall months so that we can be more successful. It is quite decorative and will help us to repel mosquitoes thanks to the smell of its flower buds.

It is not recommended to plant it if you have an allergy to daisies or your family. However, it can help improve the decoration of the garden and have a medicinal function at the same time.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about this plant.

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