This herb is named for its tonic and fever-dispelling properties – ‘feverfew’ is a corruption of ‘febrifuge’. It was valued by country people for its ability to combat ‘the ague’ when bruised and bound to the wrists, according to Culpepper.
Feverfew can be taken as a cold infusion in hysterical complaints, nervousness or low spirits, as a decoction with honey for coughing or wheezing and the tincture can be applied locally to relieve the pain and swelling of insect bites.
However, its most important use was forgotten until the 1970s when a Cardiff doctor’s wife found that it cured her migraine. The herb was described in old herbals as a remedy for headaches, and clinical trials in the 1980s provided supportive evidence of its efficacy. A popular remedy is to eat a leaf a day for the prevention of migraine, though as this may cause mouth ulcers in some people, it may be necessary to include the leaf in a sandwich.
A bitter, tonic, cooling herb.
CAUTION: Do not use during Pregnancy
PLEASE NOTE: These notes on the history and use of herbs have been compiled for general interest and are not intended as medical advice, for which you should consult a professional herbalist.
'A Modern Herbal' Mrs M. Grieve FRHS ed. Mrs C. F. Leyel (1973)
'The Herb Society's Complete Medicinal Herbal' Penelope Ody MNIMH (1993)
'RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses' Deni Brown (2002)