With increased interest in drug alternatives for treating migraines, people are going to back to reevaluate the effectiveness of some of these options. For some, there seems to be some truth to the old wisdom.

For hundreds of years, feverfew has been used in a role similar to the way we now use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, that is, as both pain reliever and fever relief (that’s why it’s called feverfew, after all). Based on recent research, it seems that feverfew might be an effective treatment after all.

The History of Feverfew

The medicinal properties of feverfew were discovered by the Greeks, who called it Parthenium because it supposedly saved the life of someone who fell from the Parthenon during its construction. That legacy is retained to this day in its scientific name, Tanacetum parthenium. Since then, the herb has also been nicknamed “the Medieval aspirin.”

The Chemistry of Feverfew

The primary chemical believed to be responsible for the medicinal effects is parthenolide, an organic molecule named after the plant. It is found in the leaves of the plant, but is in its highest concentrations in the flowers and fruit. There is some evidence suggesting a possible mechanism for the activity of this particular compound, but there are also many closely related compounds in feverfew. It’s also possible that some of these other compounds are the active ingredients.

The Effectiveness of Feverfew

There haven’t been a lot of studies of the effectiveness of feverfew in treating migraines, but the ones that have been completed show promise. Most notably, a placebo-controlled double-blind study found that feverfew reduced the number of migraine attacks.This effect was also observed in a follow-up trial.

Feverfew is used as a preventive treatment. To get benefit it is recommended that you drink a cup of feverfew tea a day or take it in freeze-dried capsules daily.

Although this herb shows promise, it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting to use it for medicinal purposes. The herb has some potential side effects that could be serious for you.

If you would like to learn about more effective non-drug migraine treatments, please call (303) 691-0267 email the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver.