Feverfew Migraine Treatment

by Jeannine Tidwell

Learn how feverfew migraine treatment is one of the most powerful herbal remedies. The feverfew plant is a potent herb which can cure the most painful of headaches, just one of the many feverfew benefits. I'm excited to share with you some great feverfew migraine remedies and to help you on your way to health again following a migraine. We'll also cover feverfew plant identification so you know what it looks like when you find it.

Feverfew Migraine

What is a Migraine?

If you ever get a migraine, you'll know it. A migraine is an incredibly intense throbbing headache. While I haven't had migraines too often in my life (thankfully), when I have had them, it seemed as if the whole world had to stop for me to deal with it. There's nothing like the power of a migraine to force you into the present moment and stay there!

The deep pulsating pain of a migraine can be felt above or behind the eye or at the back or side of the head. It can be a very all-encompassing experience. There are other signs that come along with them including nausea, blurry vision, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, and sensitivity to sound, light or movement. Some people can see bright lights or sparks, flashes or stars before the onset of a migraine.

All of this sounds pretty distinct and dramatic doesn't it? That's a migraine for you. They go beyond the basic pain of a headache. Some people consider them a chronic disorder as the pain of a migraine can last for many hours or even days. I have a friend who once had a migraine that lasted for a week! This is where the feverfew plant comes to the rescue…

What is the Feverfew Plant?

The feverfew plant (Tanacetum parthenium) is a perennial plant (growing back year after year) with tiny white flower petals in clusters that look like rays coming out from a yellow disc. Its short, hairy, toothed leaves are alternate (the leaves grow on alternating sides of the plant stalk). The leaves are also divided. It's a robust plant with very pretty flowers.

Feverfew Migraine

Feverfew grows throughout North America and is a very hardy and common plant. It can be found in well drained soils in dry open woods, fields, prairies, disturbed sites and has been introduced into gardens as ornamental and other cultivated areas. It flowers from summer to fall.

Given that feverfew so distinctly helps migraines, its smell is also distinct. It has a very hardy and often bitter scent. Another distinction to feverfew is its roots. It has a tuberous root with a bunch of tendrils coming out from the center.

As far as identification goes, the feverfew benefits are many. Being able to identify feverfew yourself means you can the gather leaves from the plant anytime you spot it. You can dry the leaves for later use anytime a migraine kicks up. You are developing an all-important connection with a plant that can take away the most severe of migraines! Imagine how you won't need to pick up the phone to call a doctor or a friend for help; all you need is a few leaves of the feverfew plant and whether you find it or grow it, either way it's free!

It's very important to be able to identify the feverfew plant because it looks very similar to the plants German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). Their flowers look quite similar to one another. The main differences between them are that the leaves of both chamomile species are much more finely divided. Chamomile is an annual while the feverfew plant is a perennial. Another difference is that chamomile can grow up to 2 feet tall whereas feverfew can grow up to 3 feet tall.

Feverfew Migraine Remedy

Chewing Dry Leaves

The simplest of all feverfew migraine remedies is to chew up 2 - 3 dry leaves when you feel a migraine coming on. Do not chew up fresh, raw leaves. The fresh, raw leaves can aggravate your mouth, cause swelling or a skin rash and cause you to lose your sense of taste. So it's best to chew them dry.

Feverfew Migraine

While it has been reported that this is an effective feverfew migraine remedy, some people have complained that a feverfew migraine remedy taken this way can cause an upset stomach. This isn't true for everyone, however if you find this to be true for you after trying it, you can also try another simple feverfew migraine remedy.

Feverfew Tincture

Another great feverfew migraine treatment is a feverfew tincture. This is a liquid extract in which you are pulling out the medicinal properties of a plant. It is done with glycerin syrup or alcohol (80 proof vodka or brandy). This is a way to get the best feverfew benefits. Gather the fresh leaves or use the dried leaves of the feverfew plant and wash them clean. Fresh leaves are better. Chop them up and put them in a half pint glass jar. Fill the jar with glycerin syrup or vodka. Make sure you cover the leaves entirely and cap tightly. Shake occasionally and store for 3 - 6 weeks in a cool, dry place away from sunny exposure.

It's important to keep your tincture away from heat as the medicinal property in feverfew, parthenolide, will be destroyed if exposed to heat. This is true for drying the leaves for tea of for any other drying or preparations of the feverfew plant.

After 3 - 6 weeks strain the leaves from the liquid and pour into a clean and sterilized glass jar, bottle or droppers extract bottle. Your long awaited medicine is ready! Take 20 - 30 drops a day. It could be that only one dose is what will reduce the migraine but you can take it up to 3 - 5 times per day if needed and be ready to receive all the feverfew benefits for your migraine.

Feverfew Leaf Capsules

You can also make your own dried feverfew leaf capsules. It's easy. All you do is gather the fresh leaves and lay them out to dry. Make sure that the leaves lay separate from each other. When they are fully dry, take 2 - 3 dry leaves at a time and crush them up until they turn to the finest particles.

Then get dry gel capsules, fill them with the dried feverfew leaves and close them up. Gel capsules when opened are two pieces and once filled, close together one slipping inside the other. The volume of the leaves will dramatically reduce once ground up. Please be sure you only put 2 - 3 dried leaves in a capsule. You should be only ingesting 2 - 3 dried leaves at a time in the form of capsules.

Feverfew Leaf Infusion

For another great feverfew migraine remedy, brew up an infusion of feverfew leaf. While it is bitter in taste, I would rather have that than a long standing migraine. You can add honey to the tea to make it more favorable and/or drink the tea in combination with eating some food. While bitter flavors are not that popular in our modern culture, bitters are actually a tonic that boosts and stimulates the body as a whole.

Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 Tbsp. fresh or dried feverfew leaves and steep for 30 - 60 minutes. The longer you let it steep, the stronger the medicinal tea. Allow yourself to be guided by your body's wisdom in how long to steep it.

Feverfew Herbal Tea Blends

Herbal tea blends are also great feverfew migraine remedies. Take feverfew (2 - 3 fresh or dried leaves) in combination with a small handful of lavender flowers, chamomile flowers and lemon balm leaves and prepare the same way as the above feverfew leaf infusion mentioned above. You can drink these medicinal teas at the onset of a migraine or every 30 - 60 minutes until the migraine is relieved.

Feverfew will definitely help reduce the pain of a migraine however taking it regularly will keep a migraine at bay. It's a preventative medicine if you take it for 1 - 3 months regularly. You can think of it like aspirin but with a more potent yet slower impact. Consult a doctor if you see side effects from taking it or if you have any concerns about taking it.

Side Effects

There are side effects that can occur as a result of taking a feverfew migraine remedy in excess including muscle stiffness, nervousness, mouth ulcers and canker sores, loss of taste, superfluous stimulation of menstruation, and for pregnant women, contraction of the uterus which can lead to miscarriage. Again, please consult your doctor if you have any concerns about using the feverfew plant before you start taking it regularly!

Other Feverfew Benefits

There are many feverfew benefits that are being recognized in medical research today. It has been shown that the feverfew plant can reduce the regularity rates of migraine attacks and/or cause them to be less painful. (British Medical Journal, Vol. 291)

I like to think of a feverfew migraine remedy as having twin powers. It relieves both acute and chronic migraine headaches. When a migraine headache comes on, the blood vessels in your brain inflame. Feverfew contains an active compound called parthenolide which relaxes the tension in the brain's blood vessels when a migraine begins to take center stage. Parthenolide does this by preventing certain substances which make the blood vessels tremor or go through a mini seizure of sorts.

It can also reduce the dizziness that comes along with migraines. When a person gets stomach sensitivity or the feeling of nausea and vomiting surfaces, this amazing herbal wonder is a soothing balm to relieve all that. Instead of getting in the bath to relax and saying, "Calgon, take me away" you can sip your warm cup of feverfew tea and say, "Feverfew, take me away" and it really will!

One of the amazing things about the feverfew plant is that it not only treats a migraine but it relieves the causes of it at the same time. With Tylenol or some other kind of aspirin, when you take 2 tablets you are just fixing the problem for the time being. Many people report that after taking a feverfew migraine remedy for a migraine they feel a renewed sense of well-being.

As well, feverfew has been known to inhibit cancer, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, and be a great insect repellant and thus, can keep insects like mosquitos out of the garden and away from you, too!

There are many other feverfew benefits including the process of learning to identify the feverfew plant and connect with the sources of your own healing. That's so important. It's far too easy (and more expensive) in our modern world today to go see a doctor and let them decide for us how to care for our health and well-being, especially when we are experiencing deep seated pain and might feel desperate for relief.

It's an incredible blessing and birthright to be able to have a cultivated relationship with medicinal plants like feverfew so we can help heal ourselves and others. Please understand that in no way am I advocating that you avoid seeing doctors, only that you begin and/or continue to take personal responsibility for your own health.

Additional Resources

Feverfew is a dynamo of a plant! It's truly amazing to think that something as delicate as a plant can help alleviate such intense pain as a migraine. That's nature for you. Here are some specialized resources for you to continue your research and learning of feverfew in the future.

  • Feverfew by Stuart Johnson
  • Feverfew: Your Headache May Be Over by Ken Hancock
  • Feverfew: The Amazing Herb that Relieves Migraine Headaches by Ken Hancock
  • Feverfew: A Traditional Herbal Remedy for Migraine and Arthritis by Stuart Johnson

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