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Feverfew

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Feverfew

The herb Feverfew as an alternative herbal remedy for fevers, headaches, stomach aches, toothaches and insect bites. - Originally a plant native to the Balkan mountains of Eastern Europe, feverfew now grows throughout Europe, North America, and South America.

Common Names--feverfew, bachelor's buttons, featherfew

Latin Names--Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysanthemum parthenium Picture of Feverfew

  • Feverfew (Tanecetum parthenium) is a well-known herb and one of the most widely respected in the prophylactic (preventative) treatment of migraine and chronic headache. There are many clinical studies to support its effectiveness insignificantly reducing or completely eliminating the occurrence and the severity of chronic headache and migraine. Scientific research has demonstrated that Feverfew contains a range of compounds called sesquiterpene lactones, the principle ingredient being parthenolide. Parthenolide has been scientifically shown to prevent excessive clumping of blood platelets and to reduce the release of certain pain inducing chemicals and inflammatory compounds. It has also been shown to make smooth muscle in the walls of cerebral blood vessels less reactive to vaso-constrictors - thereby relaxing constricted blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the brain.

What Feverfew Is Used For

  • Feverfew has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for fevers, headaches, stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites, infertility, and problems with menstruation and labor during childbirth.
  • Recently, feverfew has been used for migraine headaches and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Feverfew has also been used for psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears), dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

Herbal Remedy Products with Feverfew as part of the ingredients

MiGone Plus.jpg
  • MiGone Plus™ - Natural herbal remedy to relieve all types of headaches including migraines and ocular migraines, plus reduce anxiety and muscle tension
    • Prevents migraines and chronic headaches
    • Stops tension headaches before they start
    • Reduces muscle tension and spasms
    • Relieves the symptoms of arthritis
    • Relaxes and reduces anxiety and tension

How Feverfew Is Used

  • The dried leaves--and sometimes flowers and stems--of feverfew are used to make supplements, including capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts. *The leaves are sometimes eaten fresh.

What the Science Says about Feverfew

  • Some research suggests that feverfew may be helpful in preventing migraine headaches; however, results have been mixed and more evidence is needed from well-designed studies.
  • One study found that feverfew did not reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in women whose symptoms did not respond to conventional medicines. It has been suggested that feverfew could help those with milder symptoms.
  • There is not enough evidence available to assess whether feverfew is beneficial for other uses.
  • NCCAM-funded researchers are studying ways to standardize feverfew; that is, to prepare it in a consistent manner. Standardized preparations could be used in future studies of feverfew for migraines.

Side Effects and Cautions of Feverfew

  • No serious side effects have been reported for feverfew. Side effects can include canker sores, swelling and irritation of the lips and tongue, and loss of taste.
  • Less common side effects can include nausea, digestive problems, and bloating.
  • People who take feverfew for a long time and then stop taking it may have headaches, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, stiff muscles, and joint pain.
  • Women who are pregnant should not use feverfew because it may cause the uterus to contract, increasing the risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.
  • People can have allergic reactions to feverfew. Those who are allergic to other members of the daisy family (which includes ragweed and chrysanthemums) are more likely to be allergic to feverfew.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

News About Feverfew

Sydney J. Tanner: Feverfew plant has many medicinal uses

By Sydney J. Tanner (The Herald)

The daisy and chrysanthemum family (Asteraceae) has some wonderful plants in it. One of them has hairy, furrowed stalks that hold small, corymb, thumbmail-sized, white flowers with bright yellow centers. The fern-like leaves are pinnatifid.

Tanacetum parthenium is a sun-loving, drought-tolerant, semi-perennial herb that is native to Eurasia. European colonists brought it to this country, as an herb, when they came here. It grows into a small (2 1/2 foot) bush. The common name for this plant is feverfew. This is a version of the original name “febrifuge.”

Other names it has been associated with are: featherfew (an Anglicized version of the spoken French), bachelor’s buttons (They are not related at all. Bachelor’s buttons are actually cornflowers. But, the little feverfew flower gets used in jacket boutonnieres.), flirtwort, and camomille grande (Chamomile is not really related. However, it is a gentle herb compared to the far more powerful feverfew, thus the grand.)

The Tanacetum genus has about 160 species, and most of the flowers look a lot alike. Costmary, tansy, painted lady (coccineum), alecost, Dalmation daisy, painted daisy, and others. These plants have insect-repellent properties. Mosquitoes and other flying insects stay away from it, but not angry wasps or most bees. It deters aphids. Many gardeners plant feverfew in pots near entry and doorways. Deer and moles do not like to eat feverfew. It makes a great barrier or border plant. Inside, dried feverfew repels moths. Because of the strength of the repellent, it is a good idea not to plant feverfew near the vegetable or fruit garden. The food plants need pollination.

For medicinal use, all aerial parts of the plant are used. For thousands of years, the plant has been used to get rid of headaches, as a pain killer during labor and delivery, and to lower fevers, thus the name. This plant is big medicine.

There is much research on the medicinal properties of feverfew. In the 1980s, it was widely prescibed for migraines. I have personal experience with it. It works. There are also warnings associated with using the herb medicinally. Pregnant and nursing women should not use it. As with any new medication check with your physician for side effects and drug interaction. Feverfew needs to be used with wisdom and skill.

To harvest feverfew plants for medicinal use, cut them in full flower. If just harvesting leaves, do not take more than a third of each plant’s offering. For bouquets, the same rule applies. Try not to cut more than a third of the entire plant. The leaves can be dried as well as chopped stems and flowers, depending on what it’s going to be used for. Use the dried matter within six months.

Most gardeners have no idea of the historical value of the pretty little rays of flowers. Feverfew blooms between June and October. The flowers do not smell “pretty.” The scent is strong, and has been described as clean and medicinal. The flowers dry very well. They are used in floral arrangements and summer bouquets. With care, you should be able to get two cuttings of flowers from each plant, during the flowering season.

Feverfew is usually planted either as a perennial or as an annual. If it is planted as an annual, the stalks and flowers are cut (to use fresh) before going to seed. As a perennial, it is hardy to -20 degrees. It prefers full sun, but tolerates some shade. Feverfew likes a well-drained loamy soil, but will grow in many areas. Some gardeners like to keep feverfew in containers and pots so it won’t wander around the garden. If the flowers are cut or deadheaded, this should not be a problem. Otherwise, feverfew can be a bit pushy and reseed itself anywhere the soil is willing.

Individual plants can live three or more years. The older plants die off in late summer after blooming profusely. Propagation occurs three ways — by seed, by cuttings and/or root dividing. To collect feverfew seeds, allow the heads to dry on the plants. Bag the head. Cut the stem. Shake the seeds from the head into the bag.

If starting your feverfew seeds inside, remember it needs about 8 weeks to germinate and get started, so start early. The seed can be sown directly into the garden and covered with minimal soil. When “up” thin the tiny plants to 11-15 inches so they’ll have some room. The plants emerges in a lovely green rosette and can spread to be about a foot in diameter.

Stem cuttings can be taken in the late spring or summer. Fill small pots with damp sand mixed with potting soil. Cut healthy stems 4-5 inches in length from the base of the plant with the heel of the plant still attached. Strip the leaves from the bottom and dip the stem into rooting hormone. Stick the lower ends into the soil mixture. Keep the soil damp and the pots in a warm, shaded place. It will take about 3 weeks for the stems to form roots. After it has rooted and new green starts to grow, you can transplant it.

Dividing feverfew roots is best done either in spring or fall. With a sharp shovel, cut the rosette crown straight down, into three to five parts. Transplant the cut portions at least a foot and a half from each other.

Low maintenance feverfew likes moderate water. Don’t overwater it. Snails and slugs are the only pests that bother feverfew. By keeping the watering level, the pest problem can be minimalized. A good companion planting near feverfew would be any of the mints. Once planted, feverfew does not like to be moved. It does not need to be fertilized, but mulching during especially hard winters is a good idea.

Feverfew has many lovely cultivars. Some have double flowers. Some have yellow to gold foliage. Some are dwarf in size. Some have pompom-like flower heads, or feathery petals.



5 Incredible Benefits Of Feverfew Tea

By Vineetha Reddy

Have you heard of Feverfew tea? Me neither. So I’m happy to present today’s guest blogger, Vineetha Reddy, with her introduction to a little known tea!

Feverfew, also known as Tanacetum parthenium, bachelor’s buttons or featherfew, is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries for treating a variety of problems. While it is most prominently known for the treatment of migraines, it also offers a whole lot of other benefits.

Feverfew is now gaining popularity among tea drinkers and especially with health nuts, as the leaves are infused with all the natural goodness of the herb. This process of making tea out of the herb has also made it more accessible to people.

Below, we’ve listed five of the most incredible benefits that this tea has to offer. Keep reading to find out how just a cup a day of this tea can positively affect your life.

1. Chronic Stress Reliever

Anyone who has suffered from anxiety or stress will tell you how extremely challenging and unpleasant experience it can be. However, feverfew can be considered a natural aid for this problem. Consumption of feverfew tea during stressful periods can keep you calm and in control.

2. Anti-Inflammatory:

Feverfew has anti-inflammatory properties. For people afflicted with arthritis or chronic joint pains, regular consumption of feverfew will help ease the pain and lead to healthier joints.

3. Migraine Reliever:

Perhaps the most famous benefit of feverfew is its effectiveness in reducing headaches and migraines. It does this by preventing build-ups in capillaries and blood vessels. By relieving the stress placed on these vessels, feverfew helps get rid of headaches and migraines instantly.

4. Fever Prevention and Treatment:

Another common use of feverfew has been to help prevent and get rid of fevers. It helps your body perspire more, meaning you release all the unhealthy toxins from your body. When combined with its anti-inflammatory properties, you can see why drinking a cup of this a day is a very good idea.

5. Healthy Heart

Feverfew can prevent the production of prostaglandins, which are responsible for increasing blood pressure, in your blood stream. It also prevents blockages from developing. Because this results in lowered blood pressure, your cardiovascular system is in better health. This reduces the chances of heart attacks and atherosclerosis.

Other Benefits:

• Parthenolide present in feverfew has been shown to induce apoptosis in certain cancer cells, destroying them and preventing them from spreading.
• It can help improve skin health; studies are ongoing as to the extent of its use in this field.
• It can also help with menstrual irregularities, nausea, dizziness, and even asthma.
• A word of caution, pregnant women are recommended to stay away from it. Studies are currently being carried out to gauge its effects on pregnancy.

Wow! Were you aware of just how many benefits this wonder herb has? A cup of this tea early in the morning will ensure you stay healthy.


Feverfew Benefits and Uses for Skin, Hair and Health

(Nikitha, Stylish Walks)

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is an amazing herb with lots of benefits. It was called ‘Parthenium’ by the ancient Greeks because according to the Greek legend, this herb was used for saving the life of a person who had fallen from the Parthenon. Parthenon is a temple in Athens.

Feverfew is commonly known as wild chamomile. It belongs to the sunflower family ad is also known by many other names like featherfew, because of its feather like leaves. Europeans have been using this herb for a long time to treat various diseases and ailments. The leaves of feverfew plants are still used to make medicines. Feverfew is known for its health benefits as well as its benefits for the skin and hair.

Benefits of Feverfew for Skin:
Controls Skin redness and swelling:

Feverfew is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it great for reducing inflammation of the skin. You can use this herb for reducing swelling and the redness of the skin. It also prevents them from occurring in future. You can also use this herb for getting rid of ringworm, patches and scratches.

Promote healthy skin:

Feverfew tea is loaded with antioxidants. By consuming feverfew tea regularly and in moderate amounts helps in protecting your body from the actions of harmful free radicals, which lead to cell damage. The anti-inflammatory properties of this herb help in renewing and revitalizing your skin, so that your skin is made healthy and young from inside.

Benefits of Feverfew for Hair:
Stops hair fall:

Feverfew is very beneficial for reducing hair fall. This is because of its anti-inflammatory properties. People using this herb regularly have experienced a great reduction in hair fall. It is not recommended that you use feverfew herb directly on your scalp. This can be risky ad it can lead to side effects. So, the best way is t drink feverfew tea in moderate amounts. This helps in stopping hair fall and also keeps you away from baldness.

Health and Medicinal Benefits of Feverfew:
Arthritis:

Feverfew herbs contain certain compounds in them, which help in providing you relief from the pain and inflammation that you experience when you suffer from arthritis. It is also good for getting relief from fever.

Blood pressure:

Feverfew is effective for lowering the blood pressure. This is because it has the ability to reduce the actions of prostaglandins, which is a hormone responsible for causing inflammation in blood vessels.

Kills cancer cells:

This amazing herb has the power to kill cancer cells. The active compounds present in this herb helps in killing the cancer cells. Research conducted a few years ago shows that it is more effective for killing cancer cells than the chemo drugs that are so expensive.

Menstrual cramps:

You get relief from menstrual cramps by using feverfew. The reason is that this herb helps in restricting the release of a hormone called prostaglandin. It is this hormone that causes pain and irritation that you experience with PMS.

Migraine:

According to studies made, feverfew is very effective for decreasing the attacks of migraine as well as for reducing its frequency. It is seen to be more effective than the anti-inflammatory pills that you use for treating migraine, like aspirin etc. Feverfew prevents inflammations and blood vessel spasms, which are the root causes of migraine attacks.

You can have feverfew tea to teat migraines. If you do not like its bitter taste, you can have freeze dried capsules of this herb instead. A daily dose of 250 mg is enough for treating migraine. You can also grow feverfew plant and consume its leaves.

Relieves nerve pain:

Feverfew has the ability to reduce pain and inflammation that you feel in your body. This is because it prevents the release of inflammatory substances like serotonin. It provides you relief from pain just like any pharmaceutical pain relievers and fever-reducing medicines, but it has no lasting side effects like the other medicines.

So, now that you have seen some of the benefits of feverfew, try to include it in your diet and enjoy its benefits. If you are wondering how you can get hold of this plant, go to the market and ask. It is flooded with feverfew supplements, pills, capsules and tinctures. You can try them. But the safest way it use it is in the form of tea. This way you will get all the benefits of the plant. Although feverfew is safe for most people, there some side effects of this plant that you should know. They are as follows:

Side Effects of Feverfew:
• Some of the common side effects of feverfew are bloating, diarrhoea, heartburn, stomach upset, vomiting, constipation, flatulence and nausea.
• Some of the reported side effects of feverfew also include tiredness, weight gain, rash, stiffness in the joints, pounding heart and trouble in sleeping.
• Pregnant and breast feeding women should avoid consuming feverfew.
• Although chewing fresh leaves of feverfew is very beneficial, it can cause swelling of the lips, mouth and tongue in a few people. It can also temporarily remove the sense of taste and cause mouth sores.

In spite of the side effects of feverfew, it is used by many and is very beneficial. Just keep in mind that you do not over-consume it. Studies made have shown that consuming 50 to 100 mg of feverfew extract a day is enough to provide you relief from the attacks of migraine headaches. If you are suffering from any other ailments and problems, you will have to consult a doctor and take his opinion. If you prefer feverfew tea, make sure that you follow the instructions given on the pack.



7 Medicinal Plants to Use if You're Ever Lost in the Woods

By Lauren Leising

Like so many things on this earth, there is more to most plants than meets the eye. While something that looks like a tasty berry may actually be poison in disguise, a simple wildflower could really be a powerful anti-inflammatory. And those herbs thrown somewhat haphazardly into a meal may also be effective in treating digestive issues.

Knowing the uses for plants we come into contact with is important no matter where we are, but here are just a few that, if you find yourself lost in the woods and in need of medical attention, can substitute for some common medicines.

Feverfew

Easily mistaken for a simple wildflower, feverfew has a longvlist of documented medicinal uses, the most well-known of which is migraine treatment. Native to Asia and the Balkans, the leaves of the now wide-spread plant are dried and used in anti-inflammatory medicines to treat rheumatism, arthritis, swelling and bruising. It is also a natural serotonin inhibitor which makes it effective in alleviating tension and anxiety.

Sage

Not only is sage a fantastic herb to add to your next pot of spaghetti sauce, it is widely considered to be the most useful herb. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, digestive aid, cramp reliever and treatment for colds and phlegm. It can also be made into a salve for cuts and burns and reduces diarrhea. Oh, and it was also used as a preservative for meat before the invention of the refrigerator. It's easy to see why sage is called the most valuable herb in the world.

Blackberries

Not surprisingly, these antioxidant and vitamin-packed berries are also useful for healing a variety of ailments. Native Americans use every part of the fruit, from root to berry, to treat common sicknesses and to treat cuts and inflammation in the mouth. The leaves and roots are an effective treatment for dysentery and diarrhea, while also making an effective anti-inflammatory and astringent. That's a lot of power for one little berry.

Tansy

Like many medicinal plants and herbs, tansy has not only been used for health purposes, but also in cooking. Found throughout Europe, this plant is considered an old-world aster and remedy that was used to flavor beer and stews while also proving to be an effective bug repellant. Rubbing the leaves on your skin can help protect against pesky insects and can also be used to treat worms. However, this is one plant that should not be used in excess, as it can be poisonous in large quantities. It's best to just stick to using it as an all-natural bug spray.

California Poppy

The California poppy, an iconic opioid plant, has a variety of uses stretching from anxiety reliever, to pain reliever. Often the plant is made into a tea to treat nerves and tension, though stewing its stems, roots and other safe parts in water for a few hours and leaving it overnight to soak makes a much stronger remedy that can be used to treat pain.

Sweet Marjoram

Often interchanged with oregano in cooking, sweet marjoram has been used for centuries. The ancient Greeks called it the "Joy of the Mountain" because of its delicate smell, good flavor and medicinal capabilities. This herb is effective in aiding digestion, acting as an anti-fungal, antibacterial and disinfectant.

Ginger

Though typically used for cooking, ginger is an incredibly versatile root and has a wide variety of medicinal uses. Known for its ability to treat nausea, ginger is often chewed or made into tea for long car trips, airplane rides or voyages across choppy seas. In addition, it has been proven to have antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, making it perfect for treating digestion issues.


Growing Feverfew Herb In The Garden

By Jackie Rhoades

The feverfew plant (Tanacetum parthenium) is actually a species of chrysanthemum that has been grown in herb and medicinal gardens for centuries. Read on to learn more about feverfew plants.

About Feverfew Plants

Also known as featherfew, featherfoil, or bachelor’s buttons, the feverfew herb was used in the past to treat a variety of conditions such as headaches, arthritis, and as the name implies, fever. Parthenolide, the active ingredient in the feverfew plant, is being actively developed for pharmaceutical application.

Looking like a small bush that grows to about 20 inches high, the feverfew plant is native to central and southern Europe and grows well over most of the United States. It has small, white, daisy-like flowers with bright yellow centers. Some gardeners claim the leaves are citrus scented. Others say the scent is bitter. All agree that once the feverfew herb takes hold, it can become invasive.

Whether your interest lies in medicinal herbs or simply its decorative qualities, growing feverfew can be a welcome addition to any garden. Many garden centers carry feverfew plants or it can be grown from seed. The trick is knowing how. To grow feverfew from seed you can start indoors or out.

How to Grow Feverfew

Seeds for growing feverfew herb are readily available through catalogs or found in the seed racks of local garden centers. Don’t be confused by its Latin designation, as it is known by both Tanacetum parthenium or Chrysanthemum parthenium. The seeds are very fine and most easily planted in small peat pots filled with damp, loamy soil. Sprinkle a few seeds into the pot and tap the bottom of the pot on the counter to settle the seeds into the soil. Spray water to keep the seeds moist as poured water may dislodge the seeds. When placed in a sunny window or under a grow light, you should see signs of the feverfew seeds germinating in about two weeks. When the plants are about 3 inches tall, plant them, pot and all, into a sunny garden spot and water regularly until the roots take hold.

If you decide on growing feverfew directly in the garden, the process is much the same. Sow the seed in early spring while the ground is still cool. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and lightly tamp to make sure they make full contact. Don’t cover the seeds, as they need sunlight to germinate. As with the indoor seeds, water by misting so you don’t wash the seeds away. Your feverfew herb should sprout in about 14 days. When the plants are 3 to 5 inches, thin to 15 inches apart.

If you choose to grow your feverfew plant somewhere other than an herb garden, the only requirement is that the spot be sunny. They grow best in loamy soil, but aren’t fussy. Indoors, they tend to get leggy, but they flourish in outdoor containers. Feverfew is a perennial, so cut it back to the ground after frost and watch for it to regrow in the spring. It re-seeds fairly easily, so you might find yourself giving away new plants within a couple of years. The feverfew herb blooms between July and October.


Herbal Treatment for Migraines

(Masala TV)
Herbal Treatment for Migraines

Millions of people experience migraine in Pakistan. Headaches are the result of mental stress, physical strain, food allergies and symptom of disease. Symptoms include migraine headache, light and sound sensitivity and nausea. Migraine is a chronic condition in some people and may last for days in severe cases. There is no cure for migraine, although prescription medications and over-the-counter treatments provide some pain relief. Herbal remedies are profitable and a free alternative of organic chemicals for traditional medicine. Various herbs are thought to treat and prevent migraines, including Butterbur, devil’s claw or Harpagophytum procumbens, feverfew (قرحا عاقر), ginko biloba, willowbark (چھال) or Salix and ginger (کدرا). Several studies show the effectiveness of feverfew and Burr in the treatment of headaches. Most of these herbs are available in health food stores or alternatives over the Internet. Herbal supplements are not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing and a physician should be consulted before starting any supplement regimen of protection against drug interactions and allergies.

Prepare Feverfew and dosage recommended

Feverfew or Tanacetum parthenium is a plant that has been used as a medicament for hundreds of years. The herb is sold in capsules and tablets as well as tea bags and liquid extract. Feverfew leaves can be harvested fresh from the garden and eaten with other foods or alone, although some people find that it causes numbness in the mouth. It takes 6 weeks of daily use, at least once a day to see some relief of symptoms noticeable. Prepare a tea using a feverfew ounce of leaves to 2 cups of hot water. By using leaf extract, use about 250 mcg (micrograms) per day.

Burr Preparations and Dosage

A sunflower family member, Butterbur is a small shrub flowering. Because butterbur contains toxins that can affect the liver, only statements that are free from pyrolizidine alkaloid (PA) are recommended. The professional preparation of Butterbur is not recommended. The extract is available in the form of gel capsule 50 to 75 mg twice daily is the usual dose. Burr is considered both for the prevention of migraines, as well as a natural treatment. Butterbur root is made into an essential oil, but not usually a tea. Due to the potential toxic effects of Butterbur, a doctor should be consulted before use.


Feverfew: A Natural Remedy for Migraine Relief

(Best Health)

If you're prone to migraines, you may have fewer with feverfew. It has long been considered a go-to remedy for head pain'and here's why

Feverfew can remedy your migraine symptoms Feverfew is a home remedy used medicinally to prevent and treat the symptoms of migraines. How feverfew works for migraines may be its effect on serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body and abnormal levels of serotonin are associated with migraines. Test-tube studies conducted in 1985 at the University Hospital in Nottingham, England, showed that an active ingredient in feverfew, parthenolide, inhibits the clumping-together of platelets in the bloodstream, which in turn discourages the release of excess serotonin.

How to use feverfew for migraine prevention

If you’re trying out feverfew for migraine prevention, look for a product with a standardized amount of parthenolide, the herb’s active ingredient. Follow the package directions carefully. Make sure you store feverfew capsules in a cool, dry place, as levels of parthenolide can drop as much as 25 percent at room temperature in 6 months. If you are allergic to plants in the daisy family, which includes ragweed and chrysanthemums, be careful, as you could be allergic to feverfew.

People who take feverfew for a long time and then stop taking it may experience difficulty sleeping, headaches, joint pain, nervousness and stiff muscles.

Modern research and studies on feverfew

A 1985 study in the British Medical Journal put feverfew in the spotlight. Researchers at the City of London (now National) Migraine Clinic asked migraine sufferers already using the herb to stop; some then started taking the herb again while others were given a placebo. The placebo group experienced more migraine headaches and more intense pain. A larger, 1988 study from the University of Nottingham, published in the journal The Lancet, confirmed feverfew’s ability to reduce the severity and frequency of migraines’by about 24 percent.

Feverfew may help fight cystic fibrosis

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland found in a 2007 test-tube and mouse study that parthenolide’s anti-inflammatory action could one day be harnessed to ease the excessive inflammation that leads to lung destruction and death in people with cystic fibrosis. Parthenolide inhibited the release of an inflammatory chemical called interleukin-8’and might in the future be the basis for a safe, effective drug for this serious medical condition.


Fewer known benefits of Feverfew

(Value Food)

Well known for its ability to prevent headaches and migraine, feverfew is a herb that has been widely used in herbal medicines for treating many ailments. It has been found to be an effective remedy for treating arthritis, fever, high blood pressure, colitis and many other health conditions. It has a long history of being used in traditional medicine as well as folk medicine, especially in European and Greek herbal therapy. Although it is available in the capsule form, consuming fresh or dried leaves is considered to produce better results. Feverfew tea is one of the herbal teas that has been used for a long time as it provides a wide variety of health benefits. It also contains various active compounds in addition to many vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Given below are some of the important benefits offered by feverfew:

Feverfew for migraine and headaches

According to research, feverfew may help reduce the frequency and severity of headaches. Unlike other medications, this herb actually addresses the root cause of the pain and so it may even offer faster and effective results than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin. The pain relieving effects of feverfew can be attributed to the presence of certain active ingredients in it. These ingredients inhibit the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, two inflammatory amines that are thought to contribute to migraines. Feverfew prevents inflammation and the constriction of blood vessels that may cause headaches. Studies suggest that taking dried feverfew leaf capsules daily may reduce migraines in people suffering from chronic migraine. It is important to take feverfew regularly in order to get the maximum benefits of this herb against migraines.

Feverfew eases menstrual cramps

Menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea is a type of pain felt in the lower abdomen during the menstrual period of a woman. It is caused by the release of hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins during each menstrual period. These substances are associated with pain and inflammation. As mentioned before, feverfew has the ability to inhibit the release of prostaglandins, thereby acting as a great remedy for easing menstrual cramps. Taking feverfew during menstrual period is therefore recommended to get immense relief from menstrual cramps.

Feverfew provides relief from arthritis symptoms

For people suffering from arthritis, feverfew can bring amazing relief from the symptoms such as pain and inflammation. The active constituents of this herb inhibit the release of substances that can contribute to these symptoms. These ingredients in feverfew reduce inflammation by preventing blood platelets from producing inflammatory substances. They also reduce the release of prostaglandins, thus lowering pain and inflammation.

Feverfew may fight cancer

In addition to analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, feverfew has also been found to have anti-cancer effects. Parthenolide is an important ingredient in this herb and research suggests that this substance may play a major role in treating cancer. Studies have found that parthenolide has the ability to inhibit the growth of various types of cancers such as breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and leukemia. The mechanism of action of this herb is that it depletes glutathione in the cancer cells, causing cell death while leaving healthy cells unaffected. In vitro studies suggest that parthenolide induces various activities that produces anti-proliferative effects.

Feverfew reduces anxiety and stress

Feverfew has been found to be effective in treating stress and anxiety. It calms the nerves of the mind and offers a calming sensation. Drinking a cup of warm feverfew tea before going to bed helps to calm your nerves and allows you have a better sleep. People suffering from chronic stress should consider taking feverfew on a regular basis.

Feverfew stimulates appetite

For people trying to gain weight, feverfew is a great remedy as it helps induce hunger by stimulating the activity of certain hormones. While this herb may not be ideal for those who are on a weight loss diet, it is definitely beneficial for those looking for natural ways to gain weight.

Feverfew improves respiratory health

Feverfew has calming and soothing properties, which is very helpful for treating respiratory problems. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory effects of this herb help in reducing inflammation and irritation of the respiratory tract, thus offering relief from conditions like cough and asthma. Feverfew relaxes the respiratory tracts and helps ease these symptoms as well as improve the overall health of the respiratory system.

Feverfew promotes skin health

The anti-inflammatory nature of feverfew is highly beneficial for the skin as it helps redness and inflammation of the skin. Therefore, it is particularly effective in the treatment of skin problems like acne, pimples, sunburn and rosacea. The extract obtained from this herb has been found to have high concentrations of antioxidants, which help protect against free radicals that cause skin damage and early aging.

Feverfew prevents hair loss

In addition to providing skin benefits, feverfew also helps reduce and prevent hair loss. The anti-inflammatory properties of the herb play a key role in its ability to reduce hair fall. However, using feverfew directly on the scalp is not recommended as it may cause certain side effects. So the best option is to prepare feverfew tea and drink it regularly.

Feverfew lowers blood pressure

In several studies that looked into the effectiveness of feverfew in providing relief from migraines, researchers noticed that there was a reduction in blood pressure as well in many patients. Feverfew has the ability to inhibit the production of prostaglandins that are responsible for increasing blood pressure by causing inflammation in the blood vessels. Thus by lowering blood pressure, feverfew offers protective effects on the heart and reduces the risks of heart attacks and strokes.

As you can see, the health benefits of feverfew are numerous. The benefits of this plant as a medicinal herb has been confirmed by various clinical trials and experiments, which has increased its popularity, leading to its cultivation in many parts of the world. People spend a lot of money on medications to get relief from migraines. Although these drugs may succeed in providing temporary relief from pain, their continuous use can sometimes be dangerous as they may cause severe side effects in the long run. Feverfew, on the other hand is natural, safe, inexpensive and also recommended by experts.


Feverfew Prevents Migraine and Has Several Other Benefits

By Benjamin Tong

Feverfew (Tanaceum Parthenium) is also known as “wild chamomile” or “featherfew”. Other names include: pyrethrum, featheroil, bride’s buttons, and bachelor’s buttons to name a few. It is a plant that belongs to the family of sunflower and looks similar to a daisy.

The plant is native to Southeast Europe, although it can be found throughout North America, Australia, and Europe.

Feverfew grows in a rich and well-drained soil with stiff and loamy character and blooms from July- October. It is often found in gardens and open spaces.

Feverfew has been used, specifically by the Europeans as an herbal remedy for the treatment of different ailments.

It has parthenolide- a kind of compound that eases muscles spasms, prevents blood vessel constriction, and reduces inflammation.

It is also capable of inhibiting the aggregating platelet in the bloodstream, which results in the prevention of blockage in the small capillaries. These things and more are some of the best reasons behind the rapidly increasing popularity of feverfew in the many parts of the world.

6 Health Benefits of Feverfew

1. Aids in Arthritis

Like with elderberry, the compounds found in feverfew can help relieve arthritis-related inflammation and pain. These compounds decrease the capability of the body to create materials that may initiate the inflammation.

Generally, inflammation comes with swelling, pain, and redness, which takes place inside the body tissues or outside the skin. With the help of feverfew, the platelets are kept from releasing inflammatory materials.

In addition, feverfew can also decrease the generation of prostaglandins. These are hormone-like materials that are produced within the body and participate in some bodily functions like blood pressure, inflammation, temperature, and blood vessel tone.

2. Decreases Migraines and Headaches

Various studies indicate that the use of feverfew can actually decrease the frequency of migraines and headaches. It acts as an effective anti-inflammatory pill like aspirin. It also stops spasms in the blood vessels and controls inflammation by inhibiting histamines and amines.

The inflammation and spasm are the main cause of migraine and headache.

Feverfew also inhibits the release of prostaglandins and serotonin (two inflammatory chemicals that trigger migraines). With the use of the plant, the intensity and frequency of headaches and migraines were decreased, provided it was taken daily.

3. Helps Prevent Cancer

The chemical parthenolide in feverfew is capable of inducing apoptosis or the death of cells through self-destruction in terms of cancer cells.

Laboratory tests also showed that this parthenolide can help protect the body against cancer by targeting the cancer stem cells. Furthermore, a 2005 study discovered that the extracted parthenolide from feverfew was able to prevent pancreatic cells from growing.

4. Alleviates Menstrual Cramps

Feverfew can help restrict the body from releasing prostaglandin (hormone that triggers irritation and pain during PMS). As a result it helps alleviate menstrual cramps.

One can take feverfew the day before the expected cramp starts to minimize the pain, swelling, or any discomfort brought by the menstrual cycle.

5. Reduces Skin Inflammation and Promotes Healthy Skin

Another reason why feverfew is widely praised is due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties. It naturally reduces skin inflammation, cures swelling and redness, and prevents the future occurrence of other skin problems such as scratches and patches, and even ringworms.

As these things are prevented, the use of feverfew results in healthy skin.

The plant is also very rich in antioxidants. Drinking feverfew tea on a regular basis provides protection to the body against harmful free radicals that can be damaging to the skin cells. Given its anti-inflammatory nature, the plant revitalizes and renews the health of the skin by making it young and healthy from inside out.

6. Prevents Hair Loss

Aside from providing skin benefits, feverfew is also an exceptional herb that helps reduce hair loss. Again, with the help of its anti-inflammatory properties, people who use feverfew benefited by having lesser hair fall.

However, it is important to note that the herb should not be directly used on the scalp as it can have side effects. Instead, it is best to drink feverfew tea to prevent hair loss and to keep baldness at bay.

Summary

Natural medication has been used throughout history, because it works. There are so many plants and fruits that prove to be effective at curing and preventing various ailments and diseases, feverfew is one of them. It is available in both dried and fresh forms, in tablet, extract, and capsule.

Perhaps the easiest way to get the benefits from feverfew is to brew it in a herbal tea. This promising herb provides exceptional health benefits that can create a drastic improvement in one’s body. These are just the top 6 benefits of feverfew, with many more that have also been verified and documented.


Health Benefits and Uses for Feverfew

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

I have lived in two semi-desert regions in Canada. Yes, Canada has desert regions! Even many Canadians don’t believe me when I tell them that there is desert in Canada, but the intense heat, dry landscape and small cactus plants dotting the mountainsides (and sometimes my shoes) support my claim. Unlike some desert regions that don’t support much plant life, I found a wide diversity of plants in the Canadian desert, including the lovely, small, daisy-like plant known as feverfew.

One of the things I’ve learned over my twenty-five years of studying herbalism and natural medicine is that plants adapted to extreme conditions, such as drought, high altitude, heat or cold, tend to have higher amounts of healing compounds. That’s because the healing compounds are the same substances that ensure the plant’s survival in these harsh conditions. Feverfew, which can grow in hot conditions with little water, is a most impressive healer. Not only does it have analgesic properties that can reduce the pain of migraines or arthritis, but it also reduces inflammation, stimulates digestion and acts as an antispasmodic to help alleviate menstrual cramps.

Health Benefits of Feverfew

Feverfew is a popular remedy for migraine headaches, a particularly excruciating form of headache that is often characterized by knifing pain in one eye. But it is an all-around great pain reliever.

• Fever Remedy

Feverfew has been used as a medicine for millennia. The name is believed to come from its history of use in treating fevers, though little modern research has been conducted on its use for this purpose.

• Migraine and Headache Reliever

Feverfew works best against migraines when taken regularly as a preventive measure. Taking it similarly to migraine medications or over-the-counter pain relievers, after the onset of pain, is rarely effective. In a meta-analysis of studies using feverfew for the treatment of migraines published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, researchers concluded that well-constructed studies of feverfew showed that it could reduce the prevalence of migraines. Preventive use is also effective at reducing the incidence and severity of headaches in chronic headache sufferers.

• Neuropathy Pain Reliever

Neuropathy is a general term used to describe disorders of the nervous system that cause pain, weakness and numbness. It is a possible side effect of cancer chemotherapy. In a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, researchers found that feverfew was as effective as the drug gabapentin (an antiepileptic drug that has also been found to alleviate neuropathic pain). Interestingly, the scientists who conducted the study found significant improvement in nerve-related pain when an extract of the flowers was used but none when the leaves were used, yet many feverfew products are made primarily from the leaves. The feverfew flower extract reduced neuropathy caused by the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin and the antiviral drug dideoxycytidine.

• Dermatitis Healer

Dermatitis is a medical term for any type of skin irritation that involves inflammation. Preliminary research has found that feverfew is helpful against dermatitis, apparently because it helps heal damaged skin cells and reduce inflammation.

The aerial parts of the plant (those parts that are above the ground—leaves, flowers and/or stems) are used in herbal medicine. You can make a tea from one teaspoon of the dried herb per cup of boiled water. Pour the water over the herb and allow to steep for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Drink 3 times daily. Alternatively you can take a feverfew tincture. The typical dose is 30 drops 3 times daily.

Using feverfew requires some caution. If you are allergic to ragweed, you may also be allergic to feverfew. Pregnant or nursing women should avoid feverfew. The prescription blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin), can interact with feverfew, so it is best not to take both together. Additionally, if you routinely take over-the-counter pain killers, it is best to skip feverfew. Also avoid taking it for a couple of weeks prior to undergoing surgery. Consult your physician prior to use.


Natural Healing with Feverfew

By Corinna Underwood

Clinical research has shown that feverfew can reduce the severity and frequency of recurrent headaches, including migraine. It also contains the active principles borneol, which stimulates the flow of gastric juices and improves circulation, camphor, which is an expectorant, parthenolide and tanetin, which aid migraine relief, and terpene; an antioxidant. These constituents increase fluidity of lung and bronchial tube mucus stimulates the appetite. It is recommended for arthritis, colitis fever menstrual problems and muscle tension as well as headaches.

An infusion of the flowers is effective at reducing pain such as tooth ache or neuralgia.

A locally applied Feverfew tincture has been shown to relieve pain and swelling caused by insect bites. Mix two teaspoonfuls of tincture are with 1/2 pint of cold water, and sponge all areas that have bites.

Feverfew capsules (usually 250mg) can be taken daily. Effects are usually noticeable within four weeks.

There are several ways you can extract and use the benefits of feverfew yourself. Though folk remedies recommend eating a fresh leaf daily for the prevention and reduction of headaches, this may cause sores in the mouth.

Making a Tisane

This is the fastest and easiest method of utilizing the medicinal properties of Feverfew. Feverfew tea can be made by pouring one pint of boiling water over 1oz. of dried flowers and cooling this may be given as a general tonic to relieve nervousness or melancholy. A half tea cup several times each day is recommended.

Making a Tincture

A tincture is made, by filling a jar with the required amount of herb (200 grams of dried or 300 grams of fresh, chopped herbs to one litre of liquid is needed). Cover the leaves with a25% alcohol/water solution. Usually vodka is used or rum which will help to sweeten the taste of bitter herbs (never use wood alcohol or rubbing alcohol). Distilled water, vinegar or glycerol can be used to make non-alcoholic tinctures. Then add water to top up the jar and seal the lid tightly. Place the jar into a dark place and leave to steep for at least two weeks, shaking daily. When ready, strain through cheesecloth or muslin and store the solution in dark bottles or jars to prevent the sunlight affecting the strength. Tinctures will last up to two years if stored in an airtight container. Feverfew tincture may be taken in tincture form not exceeding a dose of 5-10 drops every 30 minutes at the onset of a migraine.

Making an Organic Cream

A cream is a mixture of water with fat or oils, which softens and blends with the skin. Homemade creams last for several months, loner in the fridge or cool place. A few drops of benzoin tincture will preserve longer.

Mix together 25g white beeswax and 25g water-free lanolin with 100ml sunflower oil, 25ml glycerine and 75ml water. Heat the mixture and add 50g of dried herb, stirring constantly. Strain and pour into a jar, sealing when cooled.

Cautions; feverfew should not be used by pregnant or nursing women because it promotes uterine and menstrual stimulation. It should not be used by anyone who is sensitive to plants of the Ragweed family, or has an allergy to pyrethrins. Feverfew should not be given to children under two years of age.



Feverfew Benefits and Uses for Skin, Hair and Health

(Nikitha, Stylish Walks)

Feverfew is commonly known as wild chamomile. It belongs to the sunflower family ad is also known by many other names like featherfew, because of its feather like leaves. Europeans have been using this herb for a long time to treat various diseases and ailments. The leaves of feverfew plants are still used to make medicines. Feverfew is known for its health benefits as well as its benefits for the skin and hair.

Benefits of Feverfew for Skin:
Controls Skin redness and swelling:

Feverfew is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it great for reducing inflammation of the skin. You can use this herb for reducing swelling and the redness of the skin. It also prevents them from occurring in future. You can also use this herb for getting rid of ringworm, patches and scratches.

Promote healthy skin:

Feverfew tea is loaded with antioxidants. By consuming feverfew tea regularly and in moderate amounts helps in protecting your body from the actions of harmful free radicals, which lead to cell damage. The anti-inflammatory properties of this herb help in renewing and revitalizing your skin, so that your skin is made healthy and young from inside.

Benefits of Feverfew for Hair:
Stops hair fall:

Feverfew is very beneficial for reducing hair fall. This is because of its anti-inflammatory properties. People using this herb regularly have experienced a great reduction in hair fall. It is not recommended that you use feverfew herb directly on your scalp. This can be risky ad it can lead to side effects. So, the best way is t drink feverfew tea in moderate amounts. This helps in stopping hair fall and also keeps you away from baldness.

Health and Medicinal Benefits of Feverfew:
Arthritis:

Feverfew herbs contain certain compounds in them, which help in providing you relief from the pain and inflammation that you experience when you suffer from arthritis. It is also good for getting relief from fever.

Blood pressure:

Feverfew is effective for lowering the blood pressure. This is because it has the ability to reduce the actions of prostaglandins, which is a hormone responsible for causing inflammation in blood vessels.

Kills cancer cells:

This amazing herb has the power to kill cancer cells. The active compounds present in this herb helps in killing the cancer cells. Research conducted a few years ago shows that it is more effective for killing cancer cells than the chemo drugs that are so expensive.

Menstrual cramps:

You get relief from menstrual cramps by using feverfew. The reason is that this herb helps in restricting the release of a hormone called prostaglandin. It is this hormone that causes pain and irritation that you experience with PMS.

Migraine:

According to studies made, feverfew is very effective for decreasing the attacks of migraine as well as for reducing its frequency. It is seen to be more effective than the anti-inflammatory pills that you use for treating migraine, like aspirin etc. Feverfew prevents inflammations and blood vessel spasms, which are the root causes of migraine attacks.

You can have feverfew tea to teat migraines. If you do not like its bitter taste, you can have freeze dried capsules of this herb instead. A daily dose of 250 mg is enough for treating migraine. You can also grow feverfew plant and consume its leaves.

Relieves nerve pain:

Feverfew has the ability to reduce pain and inflammation that you feel in your body. This is because it prevents the release of inflammatory substances like serotonin. It provides you relief from pain just like any pharmaceutical pain relievers and fever-reducing medicines, but it has no lasting side effects like the other medicines.

So, now that you have seen some of the benefits of feverfew, try to include it in your diet and enjoy its benefits. If you are wondering how you can get hold of this plant, go to the market and ask. It is flooded with feverfew supplements, pills, capsules and tinctures. You can try them. But the safest way it use it is in the form of tea. This way you will get all the benefits of the plant. Although feverfew is safe for most people, there some side effects of this plant that you should know. They are as follows:

Side Effects of Feverfew:

1. Some of the common side effects of feverfew are bloating, diarrhoea, heartburn, stomach upset, vomiting, constipation, flatulence and nausea.

2. Some of the reported side effects of feverfew also include tiredness, weight gain, rash, stiffness in the joints, pounding heart and trouble in sleeping.

3. Pregnant and breast feeding women should avoid consuming feverfew.

4. Although chewing fresh leaves of feverfew is very beneficial, it can cause swelling of the lips, mouth and tongue in a few people. It can also temporarily remove the sense of taste and cause mouth sores.

In spite of the side effects of feverfew, it is used by many and is very beneficial. Just keep in mind that you do not over-consume it. Studies made have shown that consuming 50 to 100 mg of feverfew extract a day is enough to provide you relief from the attacks of migraine headaches. If you are suffering from any other ailments and problems, you will have to consult a doctor and take his opinion. If you prefer feverfew tea, make sure that you follow the instructions given on the pack.


Feverfew's readily available, easily grown

By Pam Peirce

Plus, some ideas for replacing lawn to conserve water

Q:I'd like to try making insect repellent with feverfew, but am having a hard time finding any. I noticed you wrote that you have some in your garden, so I thought you might know where I might find some.

A: Feverfew is Tanacetum parthenium, formerly called Chrysanthemum parthenium. It has been tried for several medical complaints over the centuries, and its extract has been applied to the skin as an insect repellent, though I can't vouch for its effectiveness.

This perennial plant, often grown ornamentally, is a foot or 2 tall, with feathery leaves and white, daisylike flower heads. Some varieties have chartreuse leaves, and these are often grown as foliage plants, with the flower heads picked off for maximum impact. Calls to a few local nurseries revealed that although they might not have feverfew in stock at the moment, they can easily order some if you ask for it. Because feverfew grows so quickly, a plant in a 4-inch pot is a better buy than one in a gallon pot. Feverfew is also easy to grow from seed. You can get seed from Renee's Garden (reneesgarden.com) and Botanical Interests (botanicalinterests.com), both of which sell online and in Bay Area nurseries. Feverfew that flowers often produces seedlings near the parent plant the following spring. I use these to replace old plants, which often look less attractive after the first year.

Q:For several years I've been threatening to get rid of our front and back lawns. My prime concern is water, but energy is also a factor (mowing), along with the dandelions and gophers that insist on calling these areas home.

I'm wondering if there's an easy, perhaps step-by-step way to make the conversion from sod to shrubs, grasses, rocks, whatever. I've considered covering the entire area with plastic, covering that with wood chips, and letting it sit there through the summer, hoping that this would kill both sod and weeds so that, in the fall, we could landscape with drought-resistant plants. Would this work?

Both areas have sprinklers. With less thirsty plants, I figure we could turn them on just a few times through the summer. (We live in Lucas Valley, where the wind blows ferociously and dries out everything.)

A: Your goal of replacing a lawn with more drought-tolerant plants is a good one. There isn't one answer to getting rid of the lawn, but here are some ideas:

Some do the job by hand, using a flat-edged spade to cut small sections and then digging them. OK for small areas, backbreaking for large ones.

Your idea of covering the lawn is good, but plastic forms an unwanted barrier to water and soil life. I suggest instead brown cardboard or at least six layers of newspaper (a bonus for newspaper subscribers). Mow the lawn short, then apply overlapping layers of either material, wetting them as you go. Cover with wood chips. In a few months, your lawn should be dead, but don't underestimate the ability of some grasses to creep under mulch and find a way to the light.

Solarizing soil can kill a lawn along with weed seeds. It is done by watering the ground, then covering it with one or two layers of clear plastic for four to six weeks. However, in areas with typical summer temperatures of less than 80 degrees and strong summer winds, the sun won't be able to heat the soil enough for this method to work.

Another option is to rent a tool known as a sod cutter that lifts strips of sod so you can roll them up and carry them away. It operates like a huge power mower. If you use this, be sure to mark your sprinkler heads with little flags (from an irrigation supplier) so you won't damage them.

Sod cutting is fast, but you do end up with the removed sod. You can stack it grass-side down, moistening layers, and let it rot to compost. You can pile it where it will create berms, which can add interest to your garden and reduce runoff. If you put sod in municipal yard waste pickup tubs, you may need to remove attached soil first, and that is quite a job. However, you may be able to take it to the dump with soil attached.

If you have dandelions, the cut taproots left in the ground after you remove the sod may regrow. Wait a few weeks and then dig the stragglers out by hand.

Landscape advisers often suggest using a glyphosate herbicide, such as Roundup, either alone or before the mulch or the sod cutting methods. I'm assuming you'd rather not use an herbicide, and I think you can avoid it unless you have Bermuda grass, which is one of the most invasive and persistent weeds on earth. (Bermuda grass is a fine-leaved grass that has tough, wiry runners both above and belowground.)

For drought-tolerant plant and design ideas, see the books "Plants and Landscapes for Summer Dry Climates of the San Francisco Bay Region" (EBMUD, 2004) and "California Native Plants for the Garden" by Carol Bornstein, David Fross and Bart O'Brien (Cachuma Press, 2005).

Most experts advise converting a sprinkler system to drip irrigation for areas planted in shrubby plants, but there are some who would recommend using microspray emitters to water soil between California native plants (for example, see the Web site of Las Pilitas Nursery, laspilitas.com. (Click on "Classes" and on "Garden Myths About California Native Plants.")


10 Healing Herbs to Grow in Your Survival Garden

(The Paleo Mama)

For many, the time has come to plan our summer gardens. My interest is a bit self-serving in that I am in the process of rethinking my own garden and while I grow an abundance of rosemary, lavender and peppermint, this year will be an ideal time to replace some tired shrubs with plants that will work for me. Healing herbs will fit the bill quote nicely.

Herbs have been used for centuries to sooth and to heal. According to Wikipedia:

"Herbs have long been used as the basis of traditional Chinese herbal medicine, with usage dating as far back as the first century CE and before. Medicinal use of herbs in Western cultures has its roots in the Hippocratic (Greek) elemental healing system, based on a quaternary elemental healing metaphor."

With such a long history of use it makes perfect sense that you would want to include a selection of herbs in the survival garden.

Healing Herbs for the Healing Garden

Basil: People don’t usually think of basil as a healing herb and yet traditionally, it is called the “king of herbs”. It is used medicinally as a natural anti-inflammatory and is thought to have mild antiseptic functions. Some healing uses are for flatulence, lack off appetite, nausea and cuts and scrapes. It is also superb on spaghetti and in pesto but then you already knew that. Basil is an annual plant so you will have to start anew each year.

German Chamomile: Chamomile is one of the most popular herbs in the Western world. Its flower heads are commonly used for infusions, teas and salves. These in turn can be used to treat indigestion, anxiety and skin inflammations. As a tea, it serves as a mild sedative to help with sleep.

Feverfew: This perennial is a member of the sunflower family and has been used for centuries in European folk medicine as a remedy for headaches, arthritis, and fevers. The name feverfew comes from a Latin word meaning “fever reducer.”

Its many uses include easing headache pains – especially migraines. This is done by chewing on the leaves. A tea made from the leaves and flowers is said to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.

Lemon Balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. Considered a calming herb, it has been used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion. Even before the Middle Ages, lemon balm was steeped in wine to lift the spirits, help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings.

As with many other herbs in your healing garden, lemon balm promotes relaxation and a sense of calm.

Parsley: While not one of my favorites, there is nothing like a sprig of parsley to take away bad breath. It is no wonder that this biennial (meaning it lives for two years) is used to decorate and garnish plates in the fanciest of restaurants.

When brewed as a tea, parsley can help supplement iron in a person’s diet, particularly for those who are anemic. Drinking parsley tea also boosts energy and overall circulation of the body, and helps battle fatigue from lack of iron. Other uses? Parsley tea fights gas and flatulence in the belly, kidney infections, and bladder infections. It can also be an effective diuretic.

Sage: Did you know that the genus name for sage is “salvia” which means “to heal”? In the first century C.E. Greek physician Dioscorides reported that sage stopped bleeding of wounds and cleaned ulcers and sores. He also recommended sage juice in warm water for hoarseness and cough. In modern times, a sage tea is used to sooth mouth, throat and gum inflammations. This is because sage has excellent antibacterial and astringent properties.

Thyme: Back during medieval times, thyme was given to knights before going in to battle. The purpose was to infuse this manly man with vigor and courage.

These days, thyme used to relieve coughs, congestion, indigestion and gas. This perennial is rich in thymol, a strong antiseptic, making thyme highly desirable in the treatment of wounds and even fungus infections. Thyme is a perennial that does well, even in cooler, Pacific Northwest climates.

Rosemary: Long ago, rosemary was known as ‘the herb of remembrance.’ Even today, in places like Australia and New Zealand, it is used as a symbol of remembrance since it is known to help sharpen mental clarity and stimulate brain function. You might recall that many statues of the ancient Greeks and Romans show men wearing sprigs of rosemary on their heads – signifying mental acuity.

The needles of the delightfully fragrant rosemary plant can be used in a tea to treat digestive problems. The same tea can also be used as an expectorant and as a relaxing beverage that is helpful for headaches. Other healing uses include improving memory, relieving muscle pain and spasms, stimulating hair growth, and supporting the circulatory and nervous systems.

Peppermint: Peppermint has a long tradition of medicinal use. Archaeological evidence places its use far back as ten thousand years ago. It is commonly used to soothe or treat symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel, and bloating and more. The leaves and stems contain menthol which in addition to use medicinally, is used as a flavoring in food, and a fragrance in cosmetics. The plant is prolific, growing well in moist, shaded areas as well as in sunnier locations. The roots emit runners that can quickly overtake the garden so most gardeners prefer to plant peppermint in pots.

The easiest way to acquire a peppermint plant? Find a friend or neighbor that is growing peppermint to break off a stem. Place it is a glass of water and in a very short period of times, roots will form an you will have your own peppermint start.

Lavender: I saved my personal favorite for last. Of course it helps that I have an abundant amount of fragrant lavender in my yard.

A tea made from lavender has many uses with one of the foremost being it’s ability to have a calming effect on a person’s mind and body. To that end, lavender can promote a sense of well-being and alleviate stress. It is also useful for dealing with various gastrointestinal issues such as upset stomachs and flatulence.

Because it is a strong antiseptic, lavender tea, when applied topically, can help heal cuts, wounds and sores. It can also be used to mitigate bad breath.

How Do I Get Started?

With so many to herbs to choose from, where do you start? A lot will depend on the amount of space you have, the climate, and the availability of seeds, starts, or cuttings. My recommendation is that you start with three or four herbs that appeal to you from a healing perspective. Many can be grown in pots on a porch or deck so if space is a problem, you can start modestly.

How to Make an Herbal Tea

The process of making a pot of herbal tea is in itself healing. Perhaps that has something to do with the proactive effort involved in doing something positive for one’s own self and well-being. And luckily, brewing an herbal tea is easy.

To make an herbal tea, first bring some cool water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, fetch a non-mental container that will be used to brew the tea. A quart mason jar works nicely for this purpose. You do not want to use a metal container since the metal may interfere with the purity and taste of the tea.

Add 2 tablespoons of fresh (or 1 tablespoon of dried herb or crushed seed) to the empty pot or jar for each cup of water. Then, and this is the important part, add an extra 2 tablespoons of fresh (or 1 tablespoon of dried) herbs “for the pot.” So, for example, if you are making 2 cups of hot tea, you would use 6 tablespoons of fresh herbs or 3 tablespoons of dried herbs.

Pour the boiling water over the herbs and let them steep, covered, for about 5 minutes give or take. There is no exact time since everyone’s strength preference is difference. When ready, strain the herbs and pour the tea into a cup. At this point you may want to garnish your heavenly – and healing – cup of tea with honey, citrus fruits or addition herb sprigs.

For iced tea, increase the quantity of herbs in the basic recipe by 1 1/2 to allow for dilution from the melting ice.

The Final Word

In reading about these herbs, you may have noticed that many are reputed to have the same or similar healing qualities. Do they work? I can personally vouch for Rosemary and Lavender which I have used as both a tea and as an essential oil.

One thing that is true is that with a little time and for a nominal cost, you can grow the makings for healing teas, infusions and balms in your own garden. Add a dose of sun and some rich potting soil and you will be set to go. Just keep in mind that while perennial plants will flourish over the winter and will be there for you the following spring, annual plants must be reseeded or restarted every year.


From feverfew to magnetic zappers, a brain expert reveals the migraine busters that really DO work!

By Andrew Dowson (The Mail On Sunday)

First things first: a migraine is NOT just a headache. Attacks involve far more than the characteristic one-sided head pain – they can include hallucinations, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light or sound, and muscular problems.

And as the Christmas party season gets into swing, the 18 per cent of women and eight per cent of men who suffer migraine might find they are struck down more often: typical triggers include red wine, interrupted sleep patterns and everyday stress.

The array of treatment options can be bewildering, so here DR ANDREW DOWSON, of the East Kent Headache PCT Service, gives an expert guide to what is worth trying…

FIRST LINE OF DEFENCE

WHAT: Triptans (seven drugs including Sumatriptan/Imigran and Zolmitriptan/Zomig).

HOW IT WORKS: Migraines are caused by abnormal brain activity and the brain’s blood vessels enlarging. Launched in 1991, triptans are thought to help the vessels return to their normal size.

PROOF: The use of triptans is supported by a large number of clinical trials, backed up by nearly 25 years of use.

EXPERT VERDICT: Triptans are your first port of call for acute migraine, says Dr Dowson. ‘They ease pain in 40 per cent of sufferers within an hour, and provide complete relief within two.’ Taking triptans regularly may lead to ‘medication overuse headache’, so use only once an attack has started.

THE BOOSTERS

WHAT: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, including aspirin, ibuprofen and the prescription drug naproxen).

HOW IT WORKS: By reducing swelling by blocking enzymes and proteins that the body makes.

PROOF: One 2009 study found that combining Sumatriptan with naproxen resulted in a significantly greater relief of migraine pain than either drug individually.

EXPERT VERDICT: The key is acting very quickly, taking a larger-than-recommended initial dose – three painkilling tablets rather than the recommended two for the first dose. Try 600-900mg of soluble aspirin dissolved in a sweet, fizzy drink as the bubbles will speed it into your bloodstream. ‘Migraines slow down activity of the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in sluggish absorption of painkillers, hence the large dose,’ says Dr Dowson. ‘The general rule is to take non-steroidal drugs on no more than two days a week.’

KEEP A COOL HEAD

WHAT: 4head (£4.95, from Boots).

HOW IT WORKS: While other painkillers affect the whole body, the menthol extract in this stick works to relax the muscles around the forehead, causing a sensation of coldness, and in turn, analgesic pain relief.

PROOF: Independent trials involved 20 people aged between 18 and 68, all of whom suffered at least two tension headaches a week. Altogether, 130 headaches were treated, most using four ‘swipes’ across the forehead. Volunteers felt the effects of 4head starting to work within two minutes, and 95 per cent found their pain had gone within 30 minutes.

EXPERT VERDICT: Dr Dowson says: ‘Anecdotally it seems to help some sufferers control symptoms, but not stop or prevent an attack. But when you’re at work or on the move, any form of relief is welcome. There’s also the advantage that there won’t be side effects like drowsiness, nausea and dry mouth.’

GET STRAIGHT TO THE POINT

WHAT: Acupuncture.

HOW IT WORKS: The ancient Chinese practice involves placing fine needles at specific points on the body’s surface. The needles are said to relax the nervous system and promote the release of ‘feel-good’ endorphins.

PROOF: A trial of 160 patients in Turin found acupuncture to be more effective than drugs in relieving migraine. Study author Dr Gianni Allais found women who received acupuncture had fewer migraines during the first four months of treatment. They also needed less medication.

EXPERT VERDICT: There are mixed results from clinical trials, but Dr Dowson says: ‘This is now approved as a treatment on the NHS, so it’s worth considering.’

BLOCK IT OUT

WHAT: Beta blockers (propranolol).

HOW IT WORKS: It’s still unclear how they prevent migraine symptoms but it may be by inhibiting electrical brain activity. Beta blockers also block the effect of adrenaline, reduce blood pressure and slow the heartbeat.

PROOF: Hypertension studies in the 1960s and 1970s described some patients reporting fewer migraines. In more recent times, the efficacy has been confirmed in studies that compared a new drug to a placebo.

EXPERT VERDICT: Beta blockers are effective treatments, Dr Dowson says, especially for patients with frequent migraines. But they’re not without side effects and can cause tiredness, dizziness, cold extremities, decreased libido and nightmares. They may also exacerbate asthma.

ANTI-WRINKLE JABS

WHAT: Botox injections.

HOW IT WORKS: It is thought that the Botox effect is through the nerves, inhibiting messages that cause the brain to have a headache.

PROOF: Doctors in North Carolina reported up to 92 per cent success rates on those with chronic migraine, while UK researchers have carried out several trials showing that, on average, sufferers had 50 per cent fewer migraines. Botox is approved for NHS use.

EXPERT VERDICT: It is only of real benefit to chronic sufferers – but unlike the triptans and NSAIDs, it’s a preventative rather than rescue approach, says Dr Dowson. ‘The other benefit is that there seem to be very few side effects.’

THE HERBAL ROUTE

WHAT: Feverfew.

HOW IT WORKS: A member of the sunflower family, feverfew contains a range of biochemicals – but the pain-easing effect is thought to be via one called parthenolides, which combats the widening of blood vessels that occurs in migraine.

PROOF: A UK survey of 270 people with migraines found that more than 70 per cent felt much better after taking an average of two to three fresh feverfew leaves daily. Several studies suggest taking dried leaf capsules of feverfew every day may reduce migraines in people who have chronic attacks.

EXPERT VERDICT: Feverfew can cause mouth and other ulcers and the combination of chemicals risks a wide range of other side effects. Dr Dowson also advises considering Vitamin B complex taken with riboflavin, magnesium and coenzyme Q10. ‘Taken regularly, they have been shown to work on half of patients to reduce their rate of attack by half,’ he says.

STOPPING THE STORM

WHAT: Electrical stimulators: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS), and Cefaly.

HOW IT WORKS: Devices held against your head to transfer bursts of magnetic waves or low electrical current which short-circuit the electrical storm in the brain associated with migraine. eNeura’s Spring TMS (patients can get a three-month free trial via a referral from a specialist clinic, following which they can lease a machine for about £150 a month) is held behind the head; gammaCore’s electroCore VNS (also available for free trial through a specialist) is held against the throat; and the Cefaly headband (£249, cefaly.co.uk) sends low electrical current across the forehead.

PROOF: Earlier this year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence revealed data of a trial which saw 164 patients treated with single transcranial magnetic stimulation, and 39 per cent were pain-free two hours later.

EXPERT VERDICT: More trial data is needed, Dr Dowson says. There will be some centres involved in researching the devices in ongoing clinical trials, but for most patients the reality is a potential free trial period, followed by a decision about investing in the technology.


7 Natural Ways to Help Nerve Pain

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Anyone who has experienced the agony of nerve pain knows it can be challenging to cope with the sharp, knifing pain. Sadly, many of the drugs on the market have serious side effects and can even be addictive. Fortunately there are some excellent natural options for treating nerve pain, also known as neuralgia or neuropathy. Neuralgia refers to nerve pain specifically while neuropathy is the general term to describe nervous system disorders that cause pain, as well as numbness or weakness. Here are some of my picks for addressing nerve pain naturally:

Acupuncture: Acupuncture—the practice of applying needles to specific points of the body to elicit a therapeutic response—is particularly effective against pain. And, electroacupuncture—the practice of using electrical current on the points used in acupuncture— seems to be particularly effective against nerve pain. An animal study published in the medical journal Anesthesia and Analgesia showed improvement from nerve pain.

Chiropractic: Because nerves run from the brain through the spine to the various areas of the body, it may be helpful to adjust the spine to prevent any pressure, pinching or irritation on the nerves. Research in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that 60 percent of those suffering from nerve pain linked to sciatica experienced relief from chiropractic even when other medical therapies failed. The level of relief was likened to that of surgery.

Curcumin: One of the active ingredients in the spice turmeric demonstrates potent anti-pain properties. According to a study published in the Journal of Pain Research, curcumin is more potent and longer lasting than 1000 mg of acetaminophen or 100 mg of the drug nimesulide. While this study was on the general anti-pain effects of curcumin, other research such as one published in the journal Neuroscience Letters, has specifically studied the compound’s effect on nerve pain, particularly diabetic neuralgia, and found it effective.

Exercise: Exercise encourages the release of natural pain-killing compounds known as endorphins, so you may find it helpful to go for a walk, hop on a bike or partake in another form of physical activity.

Feverfew: Research shows that alcohol extracts, known as tinctures, of feverfew flowers is effective against nerve pain. Incidentally, extracts of the leaves were not as effective as the flower-based ones, so if you’re choosing this herb to help with pain management, be sure to use a flower extract. Also, keep in mind that feverfew does not immediately eliminate pain but gradually decreases the pain over time. It may take a month or two to get desirable results.

St. John’s Wort: While this lovely yellow flowering herb is most widely known for its effects on depression, research published in the Italian medical journal Fitoterapia found that St. John’s Wort and feverfew flower extracts were highly effective in reducing the pain of neuropathy linked to diabetes. The herbal medicine proved comparable to three different drugs used for the condition, including: carbamazepine, lamotrigine and l-acetyl levocarnitine.

The researchers believe that two compounds found in St. John’s Wort are responsible for its anti-pain properties. Known as hyperforin and hypericin, these naturally-occurring compounds are likely to thank for the plant’s ability to alleviate pain. Oil infusions made with St. John’s wort are can be applied to help alleviate the pain of diabetic neuropathy. Simply apply the oil two to three times daily until symptoms improve.

Additionally, tinctures made from the plant can help address the nerve pain from the inside out. Because many drugs interact with St. John’s Wort, be sure to check with your pharmacist before combining them. This herb can also increase sensitivity to the sun, so avoid sun exposure within two to three hours after using St. John’s Wort. Additionally, avoid taking St. John’s Wort while pregnant or nursing.

Stretching and Yoga: Stretching or participating in yoga postures can be helpful for nerve pain. Research published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation found that yoga was helpful against nerve pain caused by sciatica.


Gardeners Rediscover Herbal Remedies

By Julie Bawden Davis

Long before pharmacies and over-the-counter remedies, our ancestors medicated and protected their bodies against illness by harvesting herbs and creating their own remedies.

Today's gardeners are rediscovering this ancient world of medicinal herbs, putting in such plants as feverfew, Echinacea, lemon balm and valerian.

"The interest in medicinal herbs has exploded in the last two or three years," says Kathleen Halloran, editor of the Herb Companion, a magazine published by Interweave Press Inc., in Loveland, Colo.

Gardening experts have noticed a burgeoning interest in medicinal herbs, which can consist of the roots, fruit, leaves, flowers and even the bark of plants.

"In 1994, the FDA conducted a survey which estimated that 8 percent of Americans used herbal products within the previous year," says Halloran. "In 1995, a Gallup Poll showed that 17 percent had used herbs, and in 1996, that had jumped to 19 percent, which translates to about 60 million Americans per year."


Treatment and self-care for Migraine

By Pam Pierce

Plus, some ideas for replacing lawn to conserve water

Q:I'd like to try making insect repellent with feverfew, but am having a hard time finding any. I noticed you wrote that you have some in your garden, so I thought you might know where I might find some.

A: Feverfew is Tanacetum parthenium, formerly called Chrysanthemum parthenium. It has been tried for several medical complaints over the centuries, and its extract has been applied to the skin as an insect repellent, though I can't vouch for its effectiveness.
This perennial plant, often grown ornamentally, is a foot or 2 tall, with feathery leaves and white, daisylike flower heads. Some varieties have chartreuse leaves, and these are often grown as foliage plants, with the flower heads picked off for maximum impact. Calls to a few local nurseries revealed that although they might not have feverfew in stock at the moment, they can easily order some if you ask for it. Because feverfew grows so quickly, a plant in a 4-inch pot is a better buy than one in a gallon pot. Feverfew is also easy to grow from seed. You can get seed from Renee's Garden (reneesgarden.com) and Botanical Interests (botanicalinterests.com), both of which sell online and in Bay Area nurseries. Feverfew that flowers often produces seedlings near the parent plant the following spring. I use these to replace old plants, which often look less attractive after the first year.

Q:For several years I've been threatening to get rid of our front and back lawns. My prime concern is water, but energy is also a factor (mowing), along with the dandelions and gophers that insist on calling these areas home.

I'm wondering if there's an easy, perhaps step-by-step way to make the conversion from sod to shrubs, grasses, rocks, whatever. I've considered covering the entire area with plastic, covering that with wood chips, and letting it sit there through the summer, hoping that this would kill both sod and weeds so that, in the fall, we could landscape with drought-resistant plants. Would this work?

Both areas have sprinklers. With less thirsty plants, I figure we could turn them on just a few times through the summer. (We live in Lucas Valley, where the wind blows ferociously and dries out everything.)

A: Your goal of replacing a lawn with more drought-tolerant plants is a good one. There isn't one answer to getting rid of the lawn, but here are some ideas:
Some do the job by hand, using a flat-edged spade to cut small sections and then digging them. OK for small areas, backbreaking for large ones.
Your idea of covering the lawn is good, but plastic forms an unwanted barrier to water and soil life. I suggest instead brown cardboard or at least six layers of newspaper (a bonus for newspaper subscribers). Mow the lawn short, then apply overlapping layers of either material, wetting them as you go. Cover with wood chips. In a few months, your lawn should be dead, but don't underestimate the ability of some grasses to creep under mulch and find a way to the light.
Solarizing soil can kill a lawn along with weed seeds. It is done by watering the ground, then covering it with one or two layers of clear plastic for four to six weeks. However, in areas with typical summer temperatures of less than 80 degrees and strong summer winds, the sun won't be able to heat the soil enough for this method to work.
Another option is to rent a tool known as a sod cutter that lifts strips of sod so you can roll them up and carry them away. It operates like a huge power mower. If you use this, be sure to mark your sprinkler heads with little flags (from an irrigation supplier) so you won't damage them.
Sod cutting is fast, but you do end up with the removed sod. You can stack it grass-side down, moistening layers, and let it rot to compost. You can pile it where it will create berms, which can add interest to your garden and reduce runoff. If you put sod in municipal yard waste pickup tubs, you may need to remove attached soil first, and that is quite a job. However, you may be able to take it to the dump with soil attached.
If you have dandelions, the cut taproots left in the ground after you remove the sod may regrow. Wait a few weeks and then dig the stragglers out by hand.
Landscape advisers often suggest using a glyphosate herbicide, such as Roundup, either alone or before the mulch or the sod cutting methods. I'm assuming you'd rather not use an herbicide, and I think you can avoid it unless you have Bermuda grass, which is one of the most invasive and persistent weeds on earth. (Bermuda grass is a fine-leaved grass that has tough, wiry runners both above and belowground.)

Treatment and self-care for Migraine

Dr Anitha Anchan

Some tips to fight and keep Migraine away.

How can I get relief from Migraine? What is the treatment for Migraine?

Resting in a darkened room without any noise often reduces the severity of symptoms. Put a cold compress over your forehead. Massage your scalp using a lot of pressure. Put pressure on your temples.

Migraines can be treated with two approaches: Abortive and Preventive.

1. Abortive: The goal of this therapy is to stop it once it starts. Abortive drugs include the triptans, which specifically target serotonin. Nonprescription medicines that can help relieve migraine pain include aspirin, acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine combination, ibuprofen, naproxen and ketoprofen. People with more severe pain may need prescription medicine. Ergotamine can be effective alone or combined with other medicines. Dihydroergotamine can also be helpful.

2. Preventive: This type of treatment is considered if migraines occur frequently, typically more than one migraine per week, or if migraine symptoms are severe. The goal is to lessen the frequency and severity of the migraine attacks. Preventive treatment medications include the following:

• Medications used to treat high blood pressure: beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers
• Antidepressants : amitriptyline, nortriptyline
• Antiseizure medications: gabapentin, topiramate, valproic acid

In addition to migraine treatment the following drugs are mainly used for nausea related to migraine headaches:

• Metoclopramide
• Prochlorperazine
• Promethazine

Feverfew is a popular herb for migraines. Several studies, but not all, support using feverfew for treating migraines. Long term homeopathic treatment can eradicate migraine headaches. Some of the homeopathic remedies which may be used under an expert homeopathy doctor are Glonoine, Belladonna, Sangunaria canadensis, Iris versicolor, Gelsemium, Nux vomica and so on. Some of the ayurvedic medicines are Suvarna Sutashekhara, Godanti Bhasma, Shadbindu Taila and Anu Taila.

What preventive measures can I take for migraine?

1.Avoid all factors that have triggered a migraine attack in the past

• If you are a woman who has migraines just prior to her menstrual period, you should reduce salt in your diet. This helps to decrease water retention associated with precipitating attacks.
• Avoid alcoholic beverages because it causes the blood vessels in the body to widen, which contributes to the migraine pain.
• If stress is the trigger for your migraine, then relax and reduce the stress in your life. Regular exercise (walking, swimming, etc.) and relaxation techniques like yoga & meditation may help you.
• Look for foods that might trigger an attack, such as cheese, processed meats, chocolate, caffeine, MSG (a preservative in many foods), yeast, nuts, pickles, peanut butter, avocados, etc. Avoid eating these foods if one of them triggers headaches.

2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle

• Eat regularly and do not skip meals
• Keep a regular sleep schedule
• Exercise regularly
• Quit smoking

To sum it up, Migraine is a chronic condition that one can live with, if proper preventive care is taken.


8 effective home remedies for migraines

By Jenn Savedge

Tame the frequency and severity of migraines with these simple and proven strategies.

If you are one of the 47 million Americans who are plagued by migraines, this post is for you.

As any sufferer will tell you, there is nothing quite like the nausea-inducing, throbbing pain of a migraine. The bad news is that for many folks, migraines are a frequent occurrence. But the good news it that there are a number of ways that you can tackle migraines at home, lessening their occurrence and easing their severity. Try one or try them all, and find out what works for you.

1. Eat light. Research shows that a low-fat diet may help to tame migraines. In one study, participants who followed an extremely low-fat diet (10-15 percent fat) for 12 weeks reported having at least 40 percent fewer headaches. When they did experience pain, it was 66 percent less intense. It's also a good idea to avoid nitrates, nitrites, MSG (monosodium glutamate) and other preservatives and flavor enhancers as these chemical additives have been known to cause headaches.

2. Hydrate. Dehydration can play a big role in causing headaches. Make sure you stay well hydrated throughout the day.

3. Caffeinate. Caffeine is a double agent when it comes to headaches. The chemical can restrict blood vessels, lessening the pain of a migraine, but caffeine withdrawal is a sure-fire trigger for headaches. Limit caffeine to one or two servings per day and avoid caffeine late in the day so as not to disturb your sleep.

4. Supplement. Several vitamins — such as vitamin B, feverfew, melatonin and butterbur — have been shown to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Talk to your health care provider before you add any herbal supplements to your daily diet.

5. Massage. In a small study, people with migraines who had six weekly massage sessions reported fewer and less painful migraines in the weeks they had massages as well as for three weeks following. Ask your partner for a quick rub of your shoulders, neck, and temples once a week to help ease frequent headaches.

6. Stretch. If your migraines are caused by muscle tension, then some daily stretches might help. Try some neck rolls (bring chin forward, upward, and toward each shoulder) and shoulder shrugs (shrug up and down, up and forward, and up and back) to loosen muscles that may be causing your pain.

7. Exercise. According to the National Pain Foundation, regular aerobic exercise such as running, walking, biking or swimming can reduce migraine intensity and frequency.

8. Meditate. There is no scientific data to back this one up, but many practitioners swear by using meditation to calm the mind and focus thoughts away from the areas of pain.


The 5 Best Herbs to Soothe Your Nerves

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Forget frazzled nerves, anxiety, restlessness, nerve-related headaches and pain. Herbs really shine when it comes to soothing nerves. Here are five of my picks for the best nerve-soothing herbs:

Feverfew for Migraines and Headaches

This delicate flowering plant contains potent medicine, particularly when it comes to soothing the nervous system. Perhaps that is why it has been in use for over two thousand years, when Greek physician Dioscorides recommended feverfew for inflammation. Since then we’ve learned a lot about feverfew’s many other healing properties and its effects on the nervous system.

Feverfew is an excellent headache and migraine remedy. If you’ve taken it when you’ve had a migraine and found that it didn’t work for you rest assured that it will work when used correctly. Feverfew doesn’t work in the same way as headache and migraine drugs—at the first sign of pain. Rather, the best way to take feverfew is daily over the course of a month to prevent headaches and migraines the following month. Research published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that feverfew can reduce the prevalence of migraines.

Feverfew for Neuropathy

If you’re suffering from neuropathy pain, which is a general term to describe disorders of the nervous system that cause pain, weakness and numbness, you’ll be happy to learn that feverfew has been found effective for this set of conditions. In a study published in the journal Phytomedicine, researchers found that feverfew was as effective as the drug gapapentin (an anti-epileptic drug used in the treatment of neuropathic pain). Steep one teaspoon of the dried herb (leaves, flowers, and stems) in one cup of boiled water for 10 minutes. Drink three cups daily.

Nettles to Block Pain Signals

Nettles, or stinging nettles, as the plant is also called due to its fine hairs that impart a stinging sensation, have been found to interfere with pain signals transmitted through the nervous system, thereby reducing seemingly unrelated types of pain. In a study of nettles on osteoarthritis pain, researchers found that nettles reduced pain linked to the disease. Study participants also found that they needed fewer anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs while taking nettles. Of course, you should consult your physician prior to reducing prescriptions. Dried nettles can be made into tea or added to soups and stews.

Sage to Ease Stress and Balance Moods

While sage is increasingly known for its brain health and memory-boosting effects, this potent herb also plays a critical role in balancing moods. It appears to work by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down the essential brain hormone known as acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is needed for mood regulation as well as many other brain and bodily functions. Drinking a few cups of sage tea on a daily basis may be just what you need to soothe your nerves and ease stress. Avoid using sage if you suffer from migraines.

St. John’s Wort to Alleviate Anxiety

While there are many excellent studies proving the effectiveness of St. John’s Wort against depression, few people realize that this lovely flowering herb can be used as a natural antianxiety medicine. Research published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the herb was effective in the treatment of anxiety. Use one teaspoon of dried flowers from this plant steeped in one cup of boiled water and drink three times daily to take advantage of St. John’s Wort’s antianxiety effects. Alternatively, take a tincture and follow package directions.

Valerian for Restlessness, Hyperactivity and Anxiety

Valerian root has long been used for its antianxiety effects. Newer research shows that its potent antianxiety effects may be attributed at least in part to the compound valerenic acid. Other research shows that this powerful natural medicine taken in combination with lemon balm was helpful to reduce restlessness, hyperactivity and impulsiveness in elementary school children after seven weeks of treatment with the herbs. Valerian is best taken in tincture format. Follow package instructions. For children use an alcohol-free extract known as a glycerite.

Consult your physician prior to using these herbs if you are suffering from any serious health condition or taking any pharmaceutical drugs.


4 Natural Remedies For Whatever Ails You

By Leslie Goldman

When mini emergencies arise, like a minor burn from a hot stove or a pounding headache, antibiotic creams and ibuprofen are often the first line of defense. While these old standbys can help, research shows that more-natural cure-alls may be the ultimate win-win, producing faster relief and fewer side effects. For at-home triage, consider these healthy swaps.

What Ails You: Sore Muscles

- Old-School Fix: Smelly pain-relieving creams containing methyl salicylate. If you’re taking a prescription blood thinner, the interaction could lead to dangerous side effects.

- New-School Remedy: Tart Cherry Juice

Sipping two 10-ounce glasses of this highly anti-inflammatory drink may be enough to ease the damage you did in yesterday’s spin class. A 2010 study showed that when runners downed a glass of cherry juice twice daily for a week before a race, they reported 67 percent less post-exercise pain than those who didn’t drink it.

What Ails You: Second-Degree Burn

- Old-School Fix: Antibiotic gels. Two active ingredients, neomycin and bacitracin, can cause an itchy-rash allergic reaction.

- New-School Remedy: Honey

First- and second-degree burns treated with honey can heal almost twice as fast as those treated with a traditional burn cream, according to a study in the Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery. Honey’s antibacterial properties can help burns become sterile more quickly, lessening the chance of infection. Gently clean the burn with cool water. Then apply a thick layer of honey to a nonadherent pad, place it over the injured area, cover with another pad, and tape. (If you see no improvement in a few days, consult your doctor.)

What Ails You: Migraine

- Old-School Fix: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen. They can upset your stomach and damage your kidneys.

- New-School Remedy: Feverfew and Ginger

A small 2011 study found that an elixir made from feverfew (a short bush with daisylike flowers) and ginger eliminated or significantly lessened migraine pain within two hours in 63 percent of sufferers. (In a separate analysis of people who took ibuprofen, only about half experienced relief in the same time frame.) Feverfew may block multiple migraine triggers in the brain, and ginger may help alleviate the inflammation that contributes to the skull-busting pain. Even though the average headache is nowhere near as disabling as a migraine, study coauthor Roger Cady, MD, director of the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Missouri, says the herbal combination should likely help milder tension-type discomfort, too.

What Ails You: Common Cold

- Old-School Fix: Over-the-counter decongestants and cough medicines. While they can relieve symptoms, they won’t speed recovery.

- New-School Remedy: Elderberry Extract

When adults were given elderberry syrup or a placebo within the first 48 hours of feeling flu symptoms, those who took the elderberry (one tablespoon of the antiviral syrup four times a day for five days) felt better on average four days sooner. The purplish extract has been shown to be effective against ten strains of influenza virus, likely by increasing the production of chemical messengers that stimulate the immune system. Bonus: It tastes a little like blueberry candy.


A Better Route to Migraine Relief

By Dr. Andrew Weil

Migraines are severe, disabling headaches that affect up to 17 percent of women and six percent of men. The disorder has many variants, often making diagnosis difficult. Migraines can be excruciating for patients, incapacitating them for hours or days at a time. They are also frustrating for doctors, who often find that the condition resists their best efforts at treatment.

Fortunately, conventional management of migraines has improved dramatically over the past 10 years. An integrative approach - combining the best of these conventional techniques with evidence-based natural approaches — can make a tremendous difference in reducing frequency and severity of attacks.

What are the symptoms of migraine headaches?

The classic, “textbook” migraine is a one-sided severe, throbbing headache, which can be preceded by some sort of “aura” (visual disturbances), and accompanied by nausea and vomiting, along with sensitivity to light and sound. Headache pain worsens with physical activity and usually interferes with normal functioning. Frequency can vary from several times a month to once a year; intensity varies as well. If left untreated, a migraine can last from a couple of hours to several days.

Not all migraine symptoms are the same, and most individuals do not experience auras. Those who do report a variety of visual sensations such as seeing spots or flashes of light, bright zigzagging lines across the field of vision, or blind spots. Other sensations can include numbness and tingling in the extremities, and, rarely, weakness or speech problems mimicking a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Before a migraine occurs, a person can experience premonitions or “prodromes” that may include feelings of elation or intense energy, carbohydrate cravings, excessive hunger or thirst, and sleepiness, irritability or depression. These can occur several hours or even a day or two before headaches occur.

What are the causes of migraine headaches?

The exact mechanism of action of migraine headaches isn’t fully understood. There are no true nerves for pain in the area where it is experienced. Pain and discomfort of this nature ultimately comes from blood vessels in the head that rapidly dilate and may become inflamed. Exactly how this happens is far from clear, but there are several plausible theories.

Some researchers believe migraines arise from functional changes in the trigeminal nerve, one of the main facial nerves that also houses a major pain pathway. Others think it comes from imbalances in the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a regulatory role for pain messages going through the trigeminal nerve.

The vascular instability that is the immediate cause of migraines is influenced by many factors. Food sensitivity often plays a role, since in many sufferers specific foods trigger attacks. Hormonal fluctuations are a factor, at least in women. While pregnancy tends to prevent migraines, birth control pills can elicit them. Stress is clearly involved as well, as is heredity. It may be impossible to disentangle all the elements that lead to migraine in an individual case.

Typical food triggers include aged cheeses and processed meats (particularly pepperoni and hot dogs); peanuts; bread and crackers containing cheese as well as any strong-flavored cheeses; broad beans, peas, and lentils; and beverages containing caffeine and chocolate. Wine is another culprit (red is usually more problematic than white). Fermented foods including soy sauce and miso have been implicated, as have some fish including sardines, anchovies, and pickled herring. Other foods that have been linked to migraines include avocados, bananas, citrus fruits, figs, raisins, red plums, and raspberries.

Food additives that may play a role include nitrates and nitrites (in processed meats), yellow food coloring, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) used in some canned or processed foods, as well as in Chinese foods and in soy sauce.

In addition, watch out for non-food triggers such as fatigue, lack of sleep (or sleeping too much), missing meals, changes in barometric pressure, and changes in altitude. Strong smells, such as those of paint, gasoline or heavy perfumes, and bright flashing lights can also trigger migraine symptoms.

What is the conventional treatment of migraines?

A variety of drugs are available that have been specifically designed to treat migraines. There are also several pharmaceuticals commonly used to treat other conditions that also help relieve or prevent migraines in responsive individuals.

Medications used to address migraines fall into two general categories: those that relieve pain, taken during migraine attacks to stop symptoms that have already started; and those that are taken regularly to reduce the severity or frequency of migraines.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen are still first-line treatments for migraine attacks. Some over-the-counter drugs marketed specifically for migraines contain these compounds in combination with acetaminophen and caffeine. They can be effective for mild or intermittent headaches, but if taken frequently or for long periods of time, can lead to ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding and “rebound headaches” - a headache that is just as strong, or worse, when the medicine is withdrawn.

A newer class of prescription drugs called triptans is now widely used and is especially effective when taken at the beginning of an attack. They come in oral, intranasal and injectable preparations, and although they are the drug of choice for severe migraines, they do have side effects that should not be discounted, especially in patients with heart disease or hypertension. Triptans act on serotonin levels and cause blood vessels to constrict, which counters the blood vessel dilation leading to migraine. Side effects include nausea, dizziness, muscle weakness and, rarely, if vessels narrow too much, stroke and heart attack can occur in susceptible individuals. It is important to be under close medical supervision when using drugs in this class.

Ergotamine preparations have been used for over 60 years and were commonly employed before triptans became available. They are less expensive with fewer side effects, but are also not as effective as the triptan medications.

Anti-nausea drugs are also commonly used in combination with treatments for other symptoms, and medications that combine the sedative butalbital with aspirin or acetaminophen have been used in the past to treat migraine attacks. Some combinations also include caffeine. These medications, however, have a high risk of rebound headaches and withdrawal symptoms and should be used infrequently.

In addition, medications containing narcotics such as codeine and hydrocodone are often used to treat migraine pain during acute situations (often in urgent care settings) or when people can’t tolerate triptans or ergotamines. These drugs are habit-forming, can cause rebound - and should be used only as a last resort.

Preventive medications that help regulate blood vessel tone and activity, like beta blockers, calcium channel blockers and other anti-hypertensives, can often reduce the frequency, severity and length of migraines and may increase the effectiveness of symptom-relieving medicines used during migraine attacks. Certain antidepressant medications can help prevent migraines as well, as can some anti-seizure drugs, namely Depakote, Neurontin and Topamax. Side effects may include dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, stomach upset, and weight gain or even weight loss (in the case of Topamax). Your doctor may recommend taking preventive medications daily if migraines aren’t being adequately treated or if a predictable, but unavoidable, trigger is approaching.

What therapies do I recommend for migraines? Eliminate coffee (including decaffeinated coffee) as well as all other sources of caffeine from your daily routine. Make sure you are not taking any OTC or prescription drugs that contain it. Once you are completely off caffeine, you can try using coffee or other forms of caffeine as an effective and immediate treatment for migraine. Drink one or two cups of strong coffee at the first sign of an attack, then lie down in a dark, quiet room.

Eliminate dietary triggers of migraine and also avoid all artificial sweeteners, including aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal).

Experiment with the herb butterbur as a preventative. This plant (Petasites hybridus), native to Europe, northern Africa and southwestern Asia has been clinically studied. Results of a small study published in the May, 2000, issue of the journal Headache showed that an extract of butterbur root significantly reduced the frequency of migraine attacks among the 58 patients participating. If you decide to try it, avoid the crude herb, which contains toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). Instead, choose PA-free butterbur extracts standardized to contain a minimum of 7.5 mg of petasin and isopetasin. The adult dosage ranges from 50-100 mg twice daily with meals. Side effects are rare.

You can also try feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), 100-150 mg daily of a product standardized to contain at least 0.2 percent parthenolides. This herb helps prevent the release of substances that dilate blood vessels in the head. You can stay on it indefinitely.

Another option is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). A study published in the February 22, 2005, issue of Neurology found that CoQ10 was superior to a placebo in preventing migraines. Researchers tested CoQ10 among a group of 43 patients, about half of whom received a placebo. Of the patients who took CoQ10, 50 percent reported significantly reduced frequency of headaches compared to only 14 percent of those who took the placebo. Dosage of CoQ10 in the trial was 100 mg three times daily.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) can also be helpful, as can magnesium. The recommended dose of riboflavin is 400 mg daily - a high dose, which needs to be prescribed by a physician.

You should first try these therapies individually, and allow enough time - usually six to eight weeks - to experience a change and then judge results before trying the next.

You can also experiment with the mind-body connection by taking a course of biofeedback. With practice, biofeedback can allow you to influence the part of the nervous system that regulates the dilation of blood vessels that contribute to migraine symptoms. Once you master this technique, it can be a tool you can use to abort a headache at the start of an attack.

Finally, if you continue to have attacks, try to change the way you think about the headaches. Migraine is like an electrical storm in your head - violent and disruptive, but leading to a calm, clear state in the end. You may, upon reflection, discover that it is not so bad to let yourself have a headache once in a while. It is a good excuse to drop your usual routine and go inward, letting accumulated stress dissipate. As you come to accept migraines in this way and see them as serving a purpose in your life, you may not have them so frequently.


Prostate cancer: Daisies may hold the key to treating disease, Flinders Medical Centre researchers hope

By BRAD CROUCH (HEALTH REPORTER, The Advertiser)

FLOWER power may hold the key to treating cancer.

Flinders Medical Centre researchers using daisies to deal with prostate cancer hope to move from mice to men after trials on rodents using a chemical found in daisies showed promising results.

In a happy turn of fate the flower’s power holds a double whammy — researchers believe the chemical parthenolide can attack the tumour while also protecting nearby healthy cells from the effects of radiotherapy.

Feverfew is a medicinal herb from the daisy family with anti-inflammatory qualities that has been used for centuries to treat everything from migraine headaches to rheumatoid arthritis, stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites and infertility.

Researchers at the Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer say results treating mice with cancer are so promising they hope to move to clinical trials.

First, though, they plan to use human tissue from men who have undergone prostate cancer surgery to test the properties of the chemical on the remnant of tumours and surrounding healthy tissue.

Professor Pam Sykes is working on the research with PhD student Katherine Morel and an international research team including Professor Chris Sweeney from the Dana Faber Cancer Institute in the United States.

“We are getting promising preliminary data and are now seeking funding to pursue it further,” Prof Sykes said.

“We hope we can use it with radiotherapy to kill more tumour cells while also protecting nearby healthy cells in the bladder and colon — a two-in-one effect would be lovely.

“Once we can show it does have a good protective effect we can potentially go to clinical trials.

“It is non-toxic outside tumour cells compared to other drugs, and while we are looking at prostate cancer it would be relevant to any other type of cancer being treated with radiotherapy including brain cancer.”

Radiotherapy is often used to treat prostate cancer and while it is effective in killing cancer cells, it can damage normal tissue surrounding the tumour which can lead to long term side effects including incontinence, impotence and infertility.

Ms Morel said the chemical may help avoid such side effects.

“We know that radiotherapy could kill more cancer cells if higher radiation doses were given, but the expected damage to the normal cells limits the amount of radiation that can be given to that organ affected by cancer,” Ms Morel said.

“The aim of this research is to test whether the chemical compound found in feverfew, parthenolide, can specifically protect normal cells during radiotherapy while increasing the ability of the radiation to kill cancer cells.

“Making the cancer cells more sensitive to the radiation would also increase cure rates; and reducing the radiation damage to the normal cells would reduce the risk of a subsequent cancer caused by the radiation therapy.”


Natural Supplements for Migraine Prevention: Butterbur and Feverfew

By James P. Meschino, DC, MS

Migraine headaches afflict one in 19 adults, of which 75 percent are women. Migraines also occur in an estimated 3 percent to 7 percent of children. Overall, one in four households has a resident who is a migraine sufferer. Migraines are most often described as one-sided, severe, pulsating headache pain that lasts from four to 72 hours. Other symptoms that often occur during a migraine attack include nausea, vomiting and extreme sensitivity to light and noise.

Unfortunately, many drugs used to prevent and treat migraines can produce significant side effects, addiction and dependency. As a result, many migraine sufferers seek help from more natural, nontoxic solutions, such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, dietary modifications and nutritional supplements. In recent years, human clinical trials have shown that supplementation with specific dosages of the herbs butterbur and feverfew can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by at least 50 percent in migraine sufferers.

Butterbur

Butterbur is an herb that contains active constituents (petasin and isopetasin) that block key steps in the production of migraine headaches. These active constituents inhibit the synthesis of inflammatory chemicals such as leukotrienes and prostaglandin E2, which can trigger migraines. Petasin and isopetasin have an antispasmodic effect on vascular walls and appear to have an affinity for cerebral blood vessels. Butterbur extract also appears to act as a natural beta blocker, stabilizing normal flow of blood to the brain. This action helps control blood pressure and prevents spasm of blood vessels, which are also key processes in preventing the onset and progression of migraines.

In a double-blind study published in Neurology, researchers gave 202 migraine sufferers butterbur extract or a placebo for a three-month period.1 After 12 weeks, the butterbur-supplemented group reported approximately 50 percent fewer migraines than usual. In a 12-week, double-blind study published in Headache, 58 migraine sufferers were given butterbur extract or a placebo twice daily. The butterbur group had 50 percent fewer migraines than usual, while the placebo group's migraines declined by only 10 percent.

Feverfew

Feverfew, a member of the sunflower family, has been used for centuries in European folk medicine as a remedy for headaches and other conditions. The migraine-relieving activity of feverfew is believed to be due to parthenolide, an active compound that helps relieve smooth muscle spasms. In particular, it helps prevent the constriction of blood vessels in the brain (one of the leading causes of migraine headaches). Like butterbur, parthenolide also inhibits the production of prostaglandin hormones that cause inflammation of blood vessels. Feverfew inhibits excessive aggregating of platelets, which also normalizes blood flow - an effect credited for reducing migraine frequency and severity.

Recent clinical studies published in Clinical Drug Investigations and Headache showed that supplements containing a standardized extract of feverfew reduced migraine attacks by 50 percent in chronic migraine sufferers.4-5 To be most effective, feverfew should be standardized to contain the maximum amount of parthenolide, which has been shown to account for the herb's anti-inflammatory and other medicinal properties. As such, I recommend supplementation with feverfew at 325 mg (standardized grade of parthenolide concentration of 0.7 percent), twice daily, which is the highest yield presently available in the marketplace.

As an aside, the parthenolide fraction of feverfew has also been explored for its anti-cancer properties due to its ability to reduce nuclear factor kappa beta, an important transcription factor in the proliferation of many cancer cells. Parthenolide also demonstrates other impressive anti-cancer properties such as inducing programmed cell death of cancer cells via up-regulation of tumor necrosis factor stimulation.

A Combination Approach

In conjunction with chiropractic adjustments, soft-tissue techniques, acupuncture, stress-reduction programs, the removal of foods from the diet that act as triggers, and other treatments shown to be useful in migraine control, the addition of a twice-daily supplement containing the effective doses of butterbur and feverfew should also be included in an evidence-based approach to treating migraines. In the early stages of a migraine attack, the patient can try taking three to four capsules as a single dose in an attempt to abort the migraine. If this effort fails to halt the migraine, other standard pharmaceutical drugs designed for migraine control can be used as a rescue medication.

Here is an example of a combination supplement containing butterbur and feverfew, which contains optimal amounts of their medicinal ingredients. One capsule contains: butterbur root 75 mg (standardized to minimum 15 percent sesquiterpenes as petasines; feverfew 325 mg (standardized grade of parthenolide concentration of 0.7 percent). Adults: take one capsule twice per day for migraine prevention. At the first sign of a migraine, consider taking three to four capsules as a single dose to help abort or minimize the attack. Children ages 10 and up should take one capsule per day for migraine prevention.

Cautionary Notes

To derive the best possible prophylactic effect for migraine patients, it is best to recommend a supplement that contains both butterbur and feverfew, at the dosages and standardized grades proven to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. It is important to make sure that the butterbur extract does not contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic to the liver and may cause other serious problems.

Provided the pyrrolizidine alkaloid compounds have been removed from butterbur, the only reported side effects involve burping or mild gastrointestinal discomfort in rare cases. Butterbur does not have any reported drug-nutrient interactions and has an excellent safety profile to date.

Feverfew also has an impressive safety record. It may inhibit the activity of platelets; thus, individuals taking blood-thinning medications (such as aspirin and warfarin) should have their INR monitored during the early stages of supplementation to ensure that platelet clotting behavior remains within the desired range. Some infrequent side effects of feverfew include abdominal pain, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and nervousness. Individuals with allergies to chamomile, ragweed, or yarrow are likely to be allergic to feverfew. Pregnant and nursing women, as well as children under age 6, should not take a supplement containing feverfew and butterbur.


Feverfew: A Natural Headache Cure

(Reader's Digest Editors from the book Doctors' Favorite Natural Remedies)

The extraordinary herb that can treat your migraine.

Feverfew has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Its common name is testament to its historical usage as a medicine to reduce fevers, while its botanical name, Tanacetum parthenium, is said to refer to it having saved a man’s life when he fell from the Parthenon in Athens during its construction in the fifth century BC. Historically, feverfew has been used to address headaches from a wide range of sources, as well as many other painful conditions. Today it is almost exclusively taken to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.

How Feverfew Works

Feverfew appears to work in several ways to help prevent migraines, including decreasing blood vessel constriction and inhibiting the body’s production of inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins. A group of compounds called sesquiterpene lactones are believed to be the most medicinally active constituents of feverfew. Of those, a compound called parthenolide is present in the greatest quantity and is regarded as the most important; however, other compounds may also play significant roles in the herb’s medicinal action.

How to Use Feverfew

Feverfew leaves can be consumed fresh or dried and in supplement form. Fresh feverfew leaves are bitter and may irritate the mucous membranes of the mouth so are best consumed with other food. Feverfew supplements won’t stop a migraine once it has started, but when taken on an ongoing 
basis may help to reduce the frequency
 of migraine attacks and make them less
 severe. Follow label instructions or take as professionally prescribed.

Safety First

Do not take feverfew if you 
are allergic to plants from the Compositae (Asteraceae) family, which also contains daisies, sunflowers and echinacea. Feverfew has not been widely tested during pregnancy or breastfeeding so it is best avoided or used only under medical supervision during these periods.

Where to Find Feverfew

Feverfew supplements are available in health food stores or from a qualified herbalist.


Feverfew or Bachelor's Button, kills human leukemia stem cells like no other single therapy

(News-Medical)

A daisy-like plant known as Feverfew or Bachelor's Button, a traditional remedy for reducing fevers and a treatment for nervousness, hysteria and low spirits, is the source of an agent that kills human leukemia stem cells like no other single therapy, scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center's James P. Wilmot Cancer Center have discovered. Their investigation is reported in the online edition of the journal, Blood.

It will take months before a useable, pharmaceutical compound can be made from parthenolide, the main component in Feverfew. However, UR stem cell expert Craig T. Jordan, Ph.D., and Monica L. Guzman, Ph.D., lead author on the Blood paper, say their group is collaborating with University of Kentucky chemists, who have identified a water-soluble molecule that has the same properties as parthenolide.

The National Cancer Institute has accepted this work into its rapid access program, which aims to move experimental drugs from the laboratory to human clinical trials as quickly as possible.

"This research is a very important step in setting the stage for future development of a new therapy for leukemia," says Jordan. "We have proof that we can kill leukemia stem cells with this type of agent, and that is good news."

Parthenolide is the first single agent known to act on myeloid leukemia at the stem-cell level, which is significant because current cancer treatments do not strike deep enough to kill mutant cells where the malignancy is born.

In other words, even the most progressive leukemia treatment, a relatively new drug called Gleevec, is effective only to a degree. It does not reach the stem cells, so "you're pulling the weed without getting to the root," Jordan says.

Feverfew has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy to reduce fevers and inflammation, to prevent migraine headaches, and to ease symptoms from arthritis. (A person with leukemia, however, would not be able to take enough of the herbal remedy to halt the disease.)

Investigating stem cells that give rise to cancer is an urgent new initiative, as is identifying stem-cell treatments that might end the disease process. Jordan and Guzman are among only a handful of stem cell biologists nationwide who are specifically studying cancer stem cells. In recent years, scientists have identified cancer stems cells in blood cancers and in brain and breast tumors – although the idea that cancer stems cells exist has been around for at least 40 years.

In the current study, the UR group began investigating Feverfew after other scientists showed that it prevented some skin cancers in animal models. Intrigued by the plant's anti-tumor activities, the UR team analyzed how a concentrated form of parthenolide would act on the most primitive types of acute myelogenous leukemia cells, chronic myelogenous leukemia cells and normal cells.

In laboratory experiments, they also compared how human leukemia stem cells reacted to parthenolide, versus a common chemotherapy drug called cytarabine. The result: parthenolide selectively killed the leukemia cells while sparing the normal cells better than cytarabine.

Scientists believe parthenolide might also make cancer more sensitive to other anti-tumor agents. And, the UR group was able to demonstrate the molecular pathways that allow parthenolide to cause apoptosis, or cancer cell death, increasing the chances of developing a new therapy.

Jordan is director of the Translational Research for Hematologic Malignancies program at the Wilmot Cancer Center and associate professor of Medicine and Biomedical Genetics. Guzman is senior instructor of hematology/oncology.

Other co-investigators include: Randall Rossi, associate scientist; Lilliana Karnischky, laboratory technician; Xiaojie Li, technical associate; Derick Peterson, Ph.D., assistant professor of biostatistics, and Dianna Howard, M.D., at the University of Kentucky Medical Center.


Ginger and Feverfew may Help Migraine Sufferers

By Kathy Jones

Migraine sufferers may get some relief from their symptoms by opting for alternative treatment involving ginger and feverfew herb, a new study reveals.

The study, which was funded by PuraMed Bioscience, divided around 60 participants into two groups, with one group involving 45 people taking the ginger/feverfew preparation while the other 15 took dummy treatment.

The researchers found that over 63 percent of those who took the homeopathic treatment experienced some relief while over a third experienced complete relief within two hours of taking the treatment compared to just 39 percent who were given the dummy treatment.

The study however has attracted some criticism with Dr Rebecca Erwin Wells of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center stating that the study was authored by the CEO and chairman of PuraMed Bioscience which prepares such homeopathic treatment.


Golden feverfew a burst of bold splash

By Erle Nickel

Sometimes a plant needs to do just one thing, especially if it does that one thing really well. Nowhere is this more evident than with Tanacetum parthenium aureum, commonly known as golden feverfew. Although it produces pretty, yellow-and-white flowers in summer, it's the glorious yellow-green foliage gardeners are after. It forms a vigorous shrub 12 to 18 inches tall and slightly wider and grows quickly in spring. Golden feverfew turns chartreuse when it's planted in enough afternoon sun.

This is not a shy plant, so use it where you want a bold splash of color. It works if you plant it among cooler foliage, where it becomes a focal point, or among other saturated colors where it can hold its own.

I have mine planted next to screaming-orange ice plants, and they look wonderful together, greeting visitors as they come up our front walkway. Then again, due to its modest size, it can be tucked in front of larger sun-loving shrubs, like abelias, spireas or philadelphus. It can even take a bit of shade, though it may lose a bit of its bright hue.

The foliage itself is quite attractive - so finely cut that it resembles a fern. As mentioned, the foliage is the appeal of this plant, and some gardeners prune off new flowers to keep the focus on the leaves.

But there's more to golden feverfew than meets the eye. As its common name suggests, it has a long tradition of being used as a medicinal plant. Though there is no definitive record for its original use, it was noted to be an anti-inflammatory by the Greek physician Dioscorides in the first century.

The word "feverfew" derives from the Latin word febrifugia, meaning fever reducer. Additionally, the plant has long been used as a herbal treatment to treat digestive problems, headaches, even arthritis.

Did you know?

Feverfew includes the active ingredients parthenolide and tanetin. Science has taken some interest in parthenolide, which has shown the potential to target cancer stem cells.

Cultivation

Grow in full sun to light shade in fertile, well-drained soil. Tanacetum parthenium is considered a short-lived perennial and may die back in all zones except for 10 and 11. People often cut the plant to the ground in the late fall in order to spur lush new growth in spring. Feverfew is known to self-seed; to avoid this, deadhead flowers before they set seed. USDA zones 4-9.

Pests & diseases

Leaf miners and aphids may be a problem and occasionally chrysanthemum nematodes but generally this is a very hardy plant.

Availability

Tanacetum parthenium (syn. Chrysanthemum parthenium) is available at most Bay Area nurseries. It can be ordered from Annie's Annuals & Perennials ( www.anniesannuals.com). Seeds may be found at your local nursery.


The Health Benefits of Feverfew

By Cathy Wong, ND(Reviewed by a board-certified physician)

What Should I Know About It?

-What is Feverfew?

Also known as "featherfew" and "wild chamomile," feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a plant belonging to the sunflower family. It has long been used as an herbal remedy in European folk medicine.

Feverfew contains a compound called parthenolide, which may help to ease muscle spasms, reduce inflammation, and prevent the constriction of blood vessels in the brain.

Feverfew is available in capsule, tablet, and liquid extract form, and is sold in most health food stores. Uses for Feverfew

In alternative medicine, feverfew is typically used as a herbal remedy for the following conditions:

• Migraines
• Arthritis
• Psoriasis
• Menstrual cramps
• Asthma
• Skin conditions
• Stomachaches

-Health Benefits of Feverfew

Although research on feverfew's health effects is limited, studies have looked at the use of the herb in these conditions:

1) Migraine

In a 2005 study of 170 migraine patients, researchers found that those who took feverfew extract for 16 weeks experienced 1.9 fewer attacks per month than they had before the study started. (Study members who took a placebo for the same amount of time, meanwhile, experienced 1.3 fewer attacks per month.)

In a 2004 review of five clinical trials, however, investigators found insufficient evidence to suggest that feverfew is more effective than placebo in preventing migraine.

2) Rheumatoid Arthritis

Test-tube experiments have demonstrated that feverfew may help fight the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, although no human studies have proven feverfew to be more useful than placebo in treatment of this disease.

3) Pancreatic Cancer

In a 2005 study, scientists discovered that parthenolide extracted from feverfew inhibited the growth of pancreatic cancer cells in the lab. However, it's too soon to tell whether feverfew may be useful in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

-Caveats

Side effects may include minor stomach upset (such as nausea, diarrhea, and flatulence).

Patients who stop long-term use of feverfew may also experience muscle stiffness, moderate pain, and anxiety.

If you're allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemum, or marigold, you may be sensitive to feverfew.

Anyone taking anticoagulant or anti-platelet medication should consult their doctor before using feverfew.

It's important to keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get further tips on using supplements here.

-Using Feverfew for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend feverfew as a treatment for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

If you're considering using feverfew for any health purpose, make sure to consult your physician first.•


Feverfew - (Tanacetum parthenium) (previously called Chrysanthemum parthenium)

(Register)

When Feverfew is mentioned in herbal articles, or in herbal remedies, the first thing they mention is its ability to relieve migraines. There are many more benefits that this herb can contribute to than that one particular ailment. Feverfew was aptly named for its traditional use to reduce fevers, but it has also gone by the common names of Featherfew, or Featherfoil due to the shape of its leaves. You will find it in old herbals (or medica materia) under the name “Parthenium." In those texts, Parthenium was described mostly as a valuable carminative, stomachic, and antispasmodic with its properties and uses closely resembling those of chamomile.

This perennial is found in disturbed habitats, roadsides, meadows, and fields all over the U.S. It is not a native of our area, but has easily naturalized due to the Early Colonists bringing it with them, and its spreading habit. It prefers full sun to partial shade, and well-drained soil; however, it will adapt to many different situations. It grows 18-24 inches with a spread of about 15 inches. It grows in zones 3-9. The leaves are alternate, pinnate, yellow-green, with scalloped and serrated edges. They tend to point towards the ground, and they have short hairs. They are similar to Chrysanthemum leaves if you are familiar with them. The flowers are tubular yellow disk flowers with white rays composing a composite head typical of the Asteraceae family. The flowers bloom from July-October, and are sometimes confused with Chamomile. The leaves are high in many nutrients such as: calcium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, and Vitamins A & C.

Traditionally, this herb was used mainly for arthritis, stomach aches, fevers, coughs, inflammations, headaches, to expel worms, and help with female reproductive ailments. It was also used to repel insects! Bees will not come near this plant, and it is best to make sure it is planted away from beneficial plants for these pollinators. It is considered an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, stimulant, nervine, antispasmodic, emmenagogue, and febrifuge. It is very similar in action to the modern day aspirin being that it will help to relieve pain, reduce fevers, prevent blood clots, and reduce inflammations. It helps with migraines by calming the nerves, reducing expansion or contraction of blood vessels, providing extra magnesium, and reducing muscle spasms. Back in the 17th century, John Parkinson (Apothecary to James I, Royal Botanist to Charles I, and English Herbalist), described feverfew as “very effectual for all paines in the head”. It was not until modern day science, that we now know the “Why” of its effectiveness; however, traditional herbalists knew it worked without knowing those particulars. It is mainly taken to prevent migraines, but some do get relief during their episode. Feverfew has a strong odor that is produced by the volatile oils, and a bitter taste. It is this bitter taste that stimulates saliva, stimulates digestion, and stimulates bile production. The volatile oils have also been shown to have antiseptic qualities. There are 29 components found in just the volatile oils alone! It also has been shown to reduce histamine release pertaining to allergies. J.T. Garrett explains in “The Cherokee Herbal”, “Feverfew’s strong odor helps to purify the air around the home, and it is used for alleviating asthma and allergies”. He also went on to say, “It helps those with low spirits and with muscle tension”. You can make an infusion of the herb, let it cool, and use it as a rinse on your pets to deter fleas. That same rinse will be beneficial for lice, scabies, psoriasis, insect bites, or other external inflammations. Remember, insects do not like feverfew! The anti-inflammatory property of this herb helps to reduce the pain of arthritis by reducing the inflammation in the joints. This will not cure arthritis by any means, but it will help with the symptoms. For women, it can stimulate and regulate menstrual flow, help with menopausal symptoms, and reduce tension (both in the muscles and the nerves). You can start drinking the infusion a few days before to help with those particular situations.


Feverfew: A Natural Remedy for Migraine Relief

(Best Health)

If you're prone to migraines, you may have fewer with feverfew. It has long been considered a go-to remedy for head pain'and here's why

Feverfew can remedy your migraine symptoms

Feverfew is a home remedy used medicinally to prevent and treat the symptoms of migraines. How feverfew works for migraines may be its effect on serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body and abnormal levels of serotonin are associated with migraines. Test-tube studies conducted in 1985 at the University Hospital in Nottingham, England, showed that an active ingredient in feverfew, parthenolide, inhibits the clumping-together of platelets in the bloodstream, which in turn discourages the release of excess serotonin.

How to use feverfew for migraine prevention

If you’re trying out feverfew for migraine prevention, look for a product with a standardized amount of parthenolide, the herb’s active ingredient. Follow the package directions carefully. Make sure you store feverfew capsules in a cool, dry place, as levels of parthenolide can drop as much as 25 percent at room temperature in 6 months. If you are allergic to plants in the daisy family, which includes ragweed and chrysanthemums, be careful, as you could be allergic to feverfew.

People who take feverfew for a long time and then stop taking it may experience difficulty sleeping, headaches, joint pain, nervousness and stiff muscles.

Modern research and studies on feverfew

A 1985 study in the British Medical Journal put feverfew in the spotlight. Researchers at the City of London (now National) Migraine Clinic asked migraine sufferers already using the herb to stop; some then started taking the herb again while others were given a placebo. The placebo group experienced more migraine headaches and more intense pain. A larger, 1988 study from the University of Nottingham, published in the journal The Lancet, confirmed feverfew’s ability to reduce the severity and frequency of migraines’by about 24 percent.

Feverfew may help fight cystic fibrosis

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland found in a 2007 test-tube and mouse study that parthenolide’s anti-inflammatory action could one day be harnessed to ease the excessive inflammation that leads to lung destruction and death in people with cystic fibrosis. Parthenolide inhibited the release of an inflammatory chemical called interleukin-8’and might in the future be the basis for a safe, effective drug for this serious medical condition.


Feverfew may benefit those with migraine

By DONAL O'MATHUNA

DOES IT WORK? Migraine is a common, debilitating condition that may not respond to pharmaceuticals

FEVERFEW IS often found in old gardens because of its relatively large, daisy-like flowers. While its name comes from its use in treating fevers, it has been heralded more recently as a remedy to prevent migraine headaches.

Migraine is a relatively common, recurrent problem which can be severely debilitating. Migraines and tension headaches can be caused by a variety of different factors, including foods, environmental factors and sleep disorders.

In treating and preventing migraines, such lifestyle factors must be considered. Pharmaceutical drugs are available, but can have adverse effects. Feverfew is promoted by some as a mild and safe remedy for the prevention of migraines.

Evidence from studies

At least 40 different chemicals have been isolated from feverfew and shown to have some biological effect. Parthenolide was assumed to be the ingredient active against migraine, but recent studies have raised questions about this.

Several of the ingredients influence hormones and chemicals found in the brain, which lends credence to feverfew's potential impact on migraines. However, no consensus exists regarding how feverfew might prevent migraines.

About half a dozen controlled trials have been carried out using feverfew to prevent migraine. The longest lasted only four months. The results have been mixed.

Of the trials which showed no benefit from feverfew, most used an extract of the plant, but also were the trials of highest quality. The trials which found feverfew beneficial were of lower quality, and used the dried plant material in capsules.

The migraine patients who received feverfew tended to have fewer numbers of migraine headaches, but only one study found that the headache severity was reduced. Most of the evidence does not support feverfew improving migraine symptoms once an attack commences.

Controlled trials have not been conducted to test if feverfew is helpful in the treatment of migraines. All of the research located tested it as a means of preventing migraine.

Problematic aspects

When taken in capsule form, adverse effects are relatively uncommon and mostly gastrointestinal problems. Traditionally, people were recommended to chew fresh feverfew leaves. This can lead to mouth ulcers, swollen tongue and lips and loss of taste.

These adverse effects have also been reported in some people using capsules containing dried plant material.

Feverfew is a member of the aster and daisy family, so anyone who is allergic to such plants (including chrysanthemums and marigolds) should be cautious when first trying feverfew.

Quality control appears to be difficult with feverfew products. Some of the active ingredients are unstable, and their concentration in the plant varies widely depending on the time of the year.

When independent researchers have tested commercial products, large variations have been found in the amount of active ingredient they contain.

Recommendations

Migraine is a relatively common and debilitating condition.

While pharmaceuticals are available to prevent and treat migraines, they can have problematic side effects and don't work well for some migraine sufferers.

Some people with recurring migraine headaches might receive some benefit from feverfew.

However, the evidence available to support this is not particularly strong.

Feverfew is relatively safe, although care should be taken at first to watch for allergic reactions and mouth sensitivity. The evidence is slightly stronger for using products that contain dried plant material rather than extracts of the plants.

To reduce the incidence of migraine, other lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep and stress reduction should be examined. Once a migraine begins, however, there is no evidence that feverfew will reduce its duration or severity.

Conventional treatments should be pursued at that point.


Furness Abbey monks grew the cures for many ailments

(NorthWest Evening Mail)

THE monks of Furness Abbey and people living on manor estates, farms or cottages couldn’t drive to Tesco to do the weekly shop.

Many of the products we take for granted had to be grown in medieval kitchen gardens.

Monks would use plant cures on themselves and to help the local community in an era long before the National Health Service.

An idea of what could be produced in the medieval era is provided by pictures from the recreated gardens at Cressing Temple Barns, near Colchester.

There were plenty of medicinal plants grown in the medieval garden.

Feverfew would dispel melancholy, you took vervain for fever, mandrake – or devil’s apple – to kill pain, or liquorice for chest complaints. Henbane – or devil’s eye – was a sedative, elecampane aided digestion and comfrey – or knitbone – was good for the treatment of broken bones.

Angelica protected against contagion and purified the blood.

It also kept witches and evil spirits at bay. Horehound was a liver and digestive system remedy and was also used for symptoms of malaria.

There are wild, yellow primroses everywhere at the moment but they were also cultivated as an important remedy for rheumatism and gout.

The flowers were also used in a dish called primrose pottage, or added to a mixture of rice, almonds, honey and saffron.

Perhaps the most unusual garden plant was the humble nettle – generally seen as a weed today.

It has a fibre which is similar to hemp or flax which can be extracted, dyed and used for clothing.

In First World War Germany and Austria, it was cultivated in vast quantities to make army uniforms. Beetroot – red, white and Roman – was widely grown.

John Gerard, writing in 1597, said: “May be used in winter for a salad herbe, with vinegre, oyle and salt, and is not only pleasant to the taste but also delightful to the eye.”

Many plants were grown for their ability to dye everything from textiles to hair and food.

Celandine, or saffron, produces yellow, hollyhock turns your wine red, marjoram gives purple linen and woad turns cloth blue.

Other uses for plants included wormwood as an insect repellent, sweet woodruff as an air freshener and sage for cleaning teeth.

The tools used would seem familiar to gardeners today – sheers, rakes, hoes, spades and baskets.

There was even an early version of a watering can called a thumb pot – made of clay with small holes at the bottom.

You can find out about other aspects of life in a medieval monastery tomorrow, Tuesday, May 17, from 2pm in a talk by local historian Alan Crosby for the History of Kirkby Group at the village hall in Beckside, Kirkby. All are welcome.


4 Drought-Friendly Medicinal Herbs for Your Garden

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

It’s wonderful to grow your own herbs, but if you’re environmentally-conscious and have a busy schedule like me, you’ll want ones that need minimal watering and attention. I’ve compiled four of my top drought-tolerant medicinal herbs for your garden. Here are my picks:

• Feverfew (Tanacetum spp.): Feverfew is fairly easy to grow from seed and can be grown indoors or outdoors in pots or in your garden. It loves sunlight, and after it takes hold, it needs little care or attention. To grow it from seed, simply sprinkle the seeds onto the soil and press down slightly to ensure the seeds are in contact with the soil (after all signs of frost are gone); there is no need to cover them. The plant grows to about a foot and a half to two feet tall and blooms all summer. If you cut the plant back in the fall, it will grow back in the spring.

The aerial parts of the plant (those parts that are above the ground) are used in herbal medicine as a proven remedy for migraine headaches when taken regularly as a preventive measure. In a meta-analysis published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, researchers found that feverfew could reduce both the severity and significance of migraine headaches. To harvest feverfew, simply chop off the stems a couple inches above the base, wash and hang upside down to dry. Or chop the leaves, flowers and stems and prepare as a tea using one teaspoon of dried herb or one tablespoon of fresh herb per cup of boiling water.

• Juniper (Juniperus communis): There are 170 different species of juniper. The most common is Juniperus communis (hence the name); One variety, Juniperus sabina, is toxic and should not be consumed. Juniper is hardy and easy to grow except in extreme cold and heat. Even so, I’ve seen it thriving in the winter cold of the Canadian Rockies. It prefers full sunlight and well-drained, slightly acidic soil, although it will grow in most soil, including saline coastal soils. When planting juniper, as for any shrub or tree, dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, add some compost and plant the juniper, tamping down the soil. Water two to three times weekly for the first few weeks. After that, this beautiful shrub rarely needs watering except in severe drought conditions. A study published in the journal Neurochemical Research found that inhalation of the volatile oils of the juniper plant may hold promise for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, dementia and glaucoma.

• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): You can easily experience the beauty and healing properties of lavender by using in food and body care. It will grow happily indoors in pots or outside in your garden. There are many species of lavender, most ranging from one to two feet tall and forming mounds of silver-green foliage topped with purple flowers in summer. They are simple to grow, making them an ideal plant for the lazy, busy or novice gardener.

It grows best in a sunny location with well-drained soil. To harvest, wait until the plant blooms, and cut the stems about one-third of the way from the flower heads. Collect the lavender on its stems and place in a vase or pitcher indoors to give the air a fresh, sweet smell. To dry lavender, tie one-inch bundles together with string or elastic bands and hang upside down until dry.

A recent study found that drinking lavender flower tea was slightly more effective than taking antidepressant drugs for the symptoms of depression. Study participants drank two cups of a lavender infusion daily, which can be made by using two teaspoons of dried lavender flowers per cup of boiling water, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes, straining and drinking.

• Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus): Mullein grows well in hot, dry conditions. It grows tall (up to five feet), rod-like stems from which velvety leaves radiate, with small yellow flowers on the top of the stalk. It prefers dry, sandy, or somewhat rocky soil with good drainage and needs minimal water. Mullein can also be planted directly outdoors. To harvest mullein, simply cut the base of the stalk and hang the whole plant upside down to dry in a clean, warm location. Once it has dried, pull off the leaves and store them in an air-tight jar or bag. Mullein has been traditionally used for many years to aid asthma, whooping cough, emphysema and other respiratory conditions. In laboratory tests, researchers found that a mullein extract was effective against two harmful bacterial strains, E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. You can make a tea from two teaspoons of crushed, dried leaves per cup of boiling water, allowing it to infuse for ten minutes, straining and drinking.


6 Amazing Benefits Of Feverfew For Skin, Hair And Health

By Anamika M (Style Craze)

The ancient Greeks called Feverfew ‘Parthenium’ because according to Greek legend, this amazing herb was used to save the life of someone who had fallen from the Parthenon, a temple in Athens! With such a colorful history behind, you can be sure that feverfew has a few stories to tell.

Feverfew, commonly known as wild chamomile, is a plant that belongs to the sunflower family. It is known by several other names too like Featherfew, thanks to its feather like leaves. Since a long time, Europeans used feverfew as an herbal remedy to treat various diseases and ailments. The feverfew leaves are still used to make medicines. So what does this plant so loved by the Greeks has in store for you? Health and beauty!

• Benefits of Feverfew Plant:

Feverfew Benefits for Skin:

1. Skin Redness and Swelling:

Feverfew is a natural anti-inflammatory herb. It helps in reducing skin inflammation naturally. It not only cures the redness and swelling of the skin, but also prevents their future occurrence. There are many other skin conditions like ringworm, patches and scratches that can be healed with feverfew.

2. Promotes Healthy Skin:

Feverfew tea is very high in anti-oxidants. Regular and moderate consumption of feverfew tea protects our body from harmful free-radicals that damage skin cells. Being anti-inflammatory in nature, it renews and revitalizes the skin making it healthy and young from inside.

Feverfew Benefits for Hair:

3. Stops Hair Fall:

Feverfew helps in reducing hair fall. As mentioned before, it is anti-inflammatory by nature and people using it have experienced a drastic reduction in hair fall. Use of feverfew herb directly on your scalp can be a bit risky and you may end up dealing with the side-effects. Therefore it is suggested that you opt for drinking feverfew tea in moderation to halt hair fall and keep baldness at bay.

Feverfew Benefits for Health:

4. Migraine:

Studies have proven that feverfew for migraine decreases the frequency of migraine attacks. It works more efficiently than popular anti-inflammatory pills like aspirin etc. It inhibits amines and histamines, which control inflammation and stop blood vessel spasms. These inflammations and blood vessel spasms are the root cause of headaches and migraine attacks.

5. Arthritis:

Compounds in feverfew herb are useful in relieving pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. It keeps the blood platelets from being able to exempt inflammatory materials. This also helps in alleviating fever.

6. Menstrual Cramps:

Feverfew helps to ease menstrual cramps. This is because it tends to restrict the release of a hormone named prostaglandin, which is responsible for the pain and irritation that comes with PMS.

These were some of the major benefits associated with feverfew. If you are wondering about its availability, don’t worry! The market is full of feverfew supplements, pills, capsules and tinctures which you can try. But feverfew tea is the most common and safest way to reap benefits from feverfew plant. Let us now have a look at the nutritional value of feverfew or chamomile tea:

Generally, feverfew is safe for most people but there are some side effects associated with feverfew that you should be aware of.

Side Effects of Feverfew:

1. The common side effects of feverfew may include diarrhea, bloating, upset stomach, heartburn, constipation, vomiting, flatulence and nausea.

2. There are some other reported side-effects of feverfew like tiredness, rash, weight gain, pounding heart, joint stiffness and trouble sleeping.

3. Feverfew is unsafe for pregnant and breast-feeding women.

4. Chewing fresh feverfew leaves can cause swelling of the lips, mouth and tongue. It can also lead to temporary loss of taste and mouth sores.

Don’t let this list of side effects scare you off! You can safely use feverfew but do remember not to over-consume it. Studies have suggested that 50 to 100mg of feverfew extract in a day is enough to prevent migraine headaches. For other ailments and problems, you should consult a doctor. As I said earlier, feverfew tea is one of the best ways to reap benefits from the feverfew plant. But it is very important that you follow the direction and dosage instructions given on the pack. After all, prevention is better than cure.


Compound in this Herb Beats Cancer, FDA Fast Tracks its Use for Big Pharma Meds

By Christina Sarich

An herb discussed below caused a big upset a few years back when researchers realized it could be more successful at killing cancerous cells than an expensive chemo drug. Since that discovery, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has fast-tracked the plant compounds to be used in pharmaceutical meds. Want to know how to get yours from the natural source without paying Big Pharma for their patents? Read on.

Feverfew (tanacetum parthenium), also known as wild chamomile, is no small herb. Its properties are so powerful it has been shown to outperform anti-leukemia chemo drugs. The active ingredient in feverfew, which is responsible for much of its healing power, is known as Parthenolide.

Until recently, feverfew was used by herbalists primarily as a treatment for migraine headaches and nausea, but it turns out that the extent of its true healing powers were being overlooked.

One abstract concluded:

“It has multiple pharmacologic properties, such as anticancer, anti-inflammatory, cardiotonic, antispasmodic, an emmenagogue, and as an enema for worms. In this review, we have explored the various dimensions of the feverfew plant and compiled its vast pharmacologic applications to comprehend and synthesize the subject of its potential image of multipurpose medicinal agent. The plant is widely cultivated to large regions of the world and its importance as a medicinal plant is growing substantially with increasing and stronger reports in support of its multifarious therapeutic uses.”

Parthenolide has shown great promise in treating multiple cancers, though admittedly not in human testing. It works by reducing the spread (metastasis) or the recurrence of several types of cancerous cells, including breast, prostate, lung, bladder, leukemia, and myeloma.

Good News: Blushwood Berries Kill Cancer Fast – Big Pharma Tackles Patent

Another study, published in the Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, concluded:

“The parthenolide can inhibit the cell growth, migration, and induce the apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer. These findings may provide a novel approach for pancreatic cancer treatment.”

Harikrishna Nakshatri, associate professor of surgery, biochemistry, and molecular biology, and Marian J. Morrison, an investigator in breast cancer research, has discovered that parthenolide could block the activity of a protein called NF-kB in breast cancer cells. NF-kB promotes the production of proteins that block cell death. In moderation, that’s a good thing, but when NF-kB becomes overactive, cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapy drugs.

Fortunately, the active feverfew compound, parthenolide, is not highly soluble in water, which makes it harder for pharmaceutical companies to extract the compound and patent it. They have to modify its structure slightly for it to still work to kill cancerous cells. But you could also just take the much less expensive herb, and get the compound as nature intended it. Feverfew can also be grown in your own garden, and you can take the herb to induce cancer cell apoptosis for pennies.

“When once planted it [feverfew] gives year after year an abundant supply of blossoms with only the merest degree of attention.”

I’m quite certain the American Medical Association and American Cancer Society wouldn’t want you to know that.


Flowering herbs like feverfew, chamomile worth growing for their looks alone

By MELODY PARKER

There are a couple of earworms I can’t get rid of when I’m puttering with herbs in my garden -- Simon & Garfunkel’s “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” and Strawberry Alarm Clock’s “Incense and Peppermints.” Unfortunately, I can’t remember many of the lyrics to either song, so the same refrains play over and over in my head, like a stuck record. And yes, I have both on vinyl.

Kitchen herbs can be grown in pots or a bed near the kitchen door for easy harvesting and use. Herbs also can be surprisingly formal in a Victorian-style knot garden, or be used informally by salting herbs into annual or perennial borders for cottage-garden appeal and used to edge vegetable gardens.

While most herbs are attractive, we usually think of them as green plants with small, insignificant flowers. Basil, chives, sage, parsley, rosemary, lavender and thyme are among fragrant herbs we harvest for cooking or making teas, potpourris and sachets.

But there some that produce lovely flowers and are worth growing for looks alone.

• Echinacea. Coneflowers have undergone a revolution in color and form in the past 10 years, but the familiar purple coneflower has medicinal properties that ease cold and flu symptoms. These are tough, long-flowering prairie plants that can withstand drought conditions, but perform their best with regular moisture. They form deep taproots, which means propagating by root cuttings in the fall is better than division. You can find quart or gallon-sized plants or sow seeds.
• Feverfew. It merrily re-seeds itself throughout my garden, particularly along the edges of borders and beds. I yank out a fair few, but leave the rest because of the daisy-like flowers — white petals perfectly arrayed around a small yellow disc. I’ll gather stems for flower bouquets.
• Chamomile. Another daisy doppelganger, fragrant chamomile is popular in teas for calming nerves and has other uses, but I grow it for its charm and fragrance. Chamomile shows up a lot in shampoo formulations. There are two kinds, German and Roman. German is the upright type I grow, while Roman is a ground cover.
• Johnny Jump-up. These old-fashioned violas are considered medicinal herbs, also called “heart’s ease” or “heartsease.” They bloom in spring, fade in summer, and sometimes return for a flush of color in fall. You can encourage this rebloom by shearing back the plants in summer.
• St. John’s Wort. Well-known as a healing herb, St. John’s Wort has cheerful yellow blooms set against shiny green foliage. It’s easy to grow and thrives in sun and light shade. Be warned: It can be aggressive.

Herbal extracts help fight cancer

By Oliver dePeyer

Plantextracts with anti-inflammatory properties may be useful in increasing the vulnerability of cancers to chemotherapeutic drugs, new research in Oncogene 1suggests.

Chemotherapy can hold diseases such as breast cancer at bay, but patients often die when tumour cells eventually develop resistance to the drugs used. Now Harikrishna Nakshatri and his colleagues from the Indiana Cancer Research Institute have delved into the herbal medicine cabinet and found compounds that inhibit the genes responsible for this resistance.

There are many genes in our cells that can cause cancer if they become active in the wrong place or at the wrong time. These include the genes responsible for encouraging cell growth and preventing cell death -- cancer is basically a form of uncontrolled cell growth.

These different groups of genes work together to encourage normal growth in healthy tissue. Such groups can all be switched on by 'transcription factors', proteins that bind to the DNA of the genes and activate them. A damaged or mutated transcription factor can cause cancerous growth by switching on all the genes that it normally regulates in a massive and uncontrolled manner.

Nakshatri had previously identified such an errant transcription factor in some breast cancers, called 'nuclear factor-kB', or 'NF-kB' for short. High levels of NF-kB have also been found in many other cancers.

Many cancer treatments stop cells dividing and growing. But Nakshatri and his team showed that NF-kB activates several cell division genes. If NF-kB levels are high enough, then the tumour cells can overcome the effects of the drugs.

As a patient undergoes chemotherapy, only the tumour cells that have high levels of NF-kB survive -- until you end up with a tumour full of NF-kB-rich cells, all resistant to the drug.

It seems clear that removing NF-kB from the picture should restore drug sensitivity. Interestingly, several traditional herbal remedies attack NF-kB. These include aspirin (from the bark of the willow tree, Salix alba), and helenalin, an extract of the native Mexican plant Smallhead Sneezeweed (Helenium microcephalum).

But many of these compounds adversely affect other chemicals in the cell. Parthenolide is an exception. An extract from the herb feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), parthenolide has long been a traditional remedy for migraine, and it now emerges that it is a highly specific inhibitor of NF-kB.

Nakshatri and his colleagues grew cancer cells in the presence of parthenolide and a commonly used anti-cancer drug, paclitaxel or Taxol, which inhibits cell division. They found that without NF-kB, the cells were much more susceptible to paclitaxel. In fact, the researchers killed off the cancer cells using lower doses of paclitaxel that did not have harmful effects on normal cells.

Nakshatri conclude that other medicinal plants might also be used in tandem with chemotherapies where tumours are rich in NF-kB. They suggest that extracts of Barberry (Berberis), Coptis (Coptis chinensis) and Gravel root (Eupatorium purpureum), all of which have anti-inflammatory properties similar to those of parthenolide, may be worth investigating.

But Edzard Ernst, professor of Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter, UK, is cautious. "We have reviewed the scientific literature for feverfew, and we have found that it has not had any clinical effects in fighting cancer. To extrapolate from [this laboratory work] is a leap of faith -- we need the clinical evidence."


Feverfew genes yield anticancer compounds

By Hj (Harro) Bouwmeester

The tobacco-like plant Nicotiana benthamiana can be used to produce potential anti-cancer drugs. Researchers of Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) discovered which genes in the herb feverfew are responsible for the production of bioactive ingredients that are used in various types of medication. They expressed these genes in N. benthamiana and successfully produced the medicinal substance.

Water-soluble, bioactive compounds

"Apart from the bioactive compound parthenolide, which we were aiming to produce, we found that N. benthamiana also produces slightly modified compounds. These are more water-soluble and can therefore be absorbed better by patients. That is very promising for application in medicine", says Qing Liu, who is going to defend the findings of his PhD research on Monday, 2 December 2013.

Advantages of genetic modification of tobacco

Taking the genes out of feverfew and expressing them in a tobacco plant has various advantages. "Feverfew is not easy to cultivate. To ensure a continuous production of medicinal compounds with a stable quality, it is important to work with plants that can be kept in a controlled environment", explains Ric de Vos of Wageningen UR Plant Research International. Professor Harro Bouwmeester of Wageningen University adds: "The concentrations of parthenolide in Feverfew are pretty low. N. benthamiana, which grows fast, has the potential to produce much larger amounts of it. Plus it makes better water-soluble variants of parthenolide."

Higher concentrations

PhD candidate Liu: "To increase the parthenolide production we will probably have to use a few more genes. Parthenolide is produced in four steps. The first step produces something that is used by the second step, and so on. We probably need to do something before step one to increase the output of the pathway." Bouwmeester: "Producing high concentrations of parthenolide would be fatal to the plant. That is why it converts it into the better water-soluble variants. At first that seemed to be a problem as we lost parthenolide. Now it turns out that the water-soluble variants also have advantages."

Competition to be the first to find the genes

Liu's main objective during his PhD research, part of the EU-project TERPMED, was to find the genes in feverfew that are involved in producing the medicinal parthenolide. "The first gene we already had in hand when I started my research but an article about the second gene by a competing group was published while I was studying which parts of the feverfew contain the highest concentrations of parthenolide", he says. "Studying the physiology of the plant was necessary to know where to look for the genes", he explains.

Publication of the first two genes helped to identify the other genes involved, but it also meant there was competition with other researchers around the world. Liu: "I found the third gene, but on the day I wanted to submit my article, a Canadian group published the same finding." Liu's discovery of the fourth gene is so recent, that it hasn't been published yet. Nervously: "We have submitted a paper to a high-impact scientific journal and are hoping it will be accepted. I hope we beat the competing group this time."


Feverfew: Pain Reduction and Cancer Prevention

By Byron J. Richards (Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist)

Feverfew has a long traditional use as a natural anti-inflammatory nutrient, commonly used to help reduce the pain of arthritis or migraine headaches. One of its primary active components is parthenolide. New gene array science is showing that parthenolide1 helps regulate many genes in a healthy direction, including those involved with inflammation. Not only does it reduce the core inflammatory gene signal known as NF-kappaB, it is now shown to influence many genes relating to cancer – helping to kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone.

Cancer cells hijack healthy function of normal cells and use a cell’s natural defense system to protect themselves. Cancer cells use the cell’s antioxidant defense system to protect themselves. Parthenolide has been shown to directly undermine the antioxidant defense system of cancer cells, lowering the core cellular antioxidant known as glutathione, thus causing an increase in free radical damage within the cancer cell and killing it.

Feverfew is yet another example of a nutrient that behaves in harmony with human physiology. Feverfew actually helps regulate cellular inflammation in healthy cells, thereby helping to lower the amount of free radical production within inflamed cells. Thus, our bodies use feverfew in a way that helps healthy cells survive while simultaneously killing cancer cells. Many nutrients share this sort of anti-cancer intelligence, quercetin and green tea are two examples that come to mind. The more we learn about how nutrition works at the gene level the more we stand in awe of the potential ability of the human body to heal if given the chance.


Feverfew genes yield anticancer compounds

By Hj (Harro) Bouwmeester

The tobacco-like plant Nicotiana benthamiana can be used to produce potential anti-cancer drugs. Researchers of Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) discovered which genes in the herb feverfew are responsible for the production of bioactive ingredients that are used in various types of medication. They expressed these genes in N. benthamiana and successfully produced the medicinal substance.

Water-soluble, bioactive compounds

"Apart from the bioactive compound parthenolide, which we were aiming to produce, we found that N. benthamiana also produces slightly modified compounds. These are more water-soluble and can therefore be absorbed better by patients. That is very promising for application in medicine", says Qing Liu, who is going to defend the findings of his PhD research on Monday, 2 December 2013.

Advantages of genetic modification of tobacco

Taking the genes out of feverfew and expressing them in a tobacco plant has various advantages. "Feverfew is not easy to cultivate. To ensure a continuous production of medicinal compounds with a stable quality, it is important to work with plants that can be kept in a controlled environment", explains Ric de Vos of Wageningen UR Plant Research International. Professor Harro Bouwmeester of Wageningen University adds: "The concentrations of parthenolide in Feverfew are pretty low. N. benthamiana, which grows fast, has the potential to produce much larger amounts of it. Plus it makes better water-soluble variants of parthenolide."

Higher concentrations

PhD candidate Liu: "To increase the parthenolide production we will probably have to use a few more genes. Parthenolide is produced in four steps. The first step produces something that is used by the second step, and so on. We probably need to do something before step one to increase the output of the pathway." Bouwmeester: "Producing high concentrations of parthenolide would be fatal to the plant. That is why it converts it into the better water-soluble variants. At first that seemed to be a problem as we lost parthenolide. Now it turns out that the water-soluble variants also have advantages."

Competition to be the first to find the genes

Liu's main objective during his PhD research, part of the EU-project TERPMED, was to find the genes in feverfew that are involved in producing the medicinal parthenolide. "The first gene we already had in hand when I started my research but an article about the second gene by a competing group was published while I was studying which parts of the feverfew contain the highest concentrations of parthenolide", he says. "Studying the physiology of the plant was necessary to know where to look for the genes", he explains.

Publication of the first two genes helped to identify the other genes involved, but it also meant there was competition with other researchers around the world. Liu: "I found the third gene, but on the day I wanted to submit my article, a Canadian group published the same finding." Liu's discovery of the fourth gene is so recent, that it hasn't been published yet. Nervously: "We have submitted a paper to a high-impact scientific journal and are hoping it will be accepted. I hope we beat the competing group this time."


Natural health: Migraine treatments and oil pulling

By Megan Sheppard

My wife suffers migraines, particularly when she is under stress or coming down with an illness. She finds that it helps to lie in a darkened room with no sounds, smells, or any other sensations. Is there anything that she can take to stop these, as they really take it out of her?

It is good that you both have a reasonable idea of what actually triggers the migraines for your wife, as this can be difficult to ascertain. Common triggers include bright light, allergies and intolerances, strong odours, stress, cigarette smoke, loud noise, sleep disturbance, skipping meals, contraceptive pill, Monosodium glutamate (MSG) or nitrites in food, alcohol, caffeine, or even the hormonal changes associated with menstruation.

The most common trigger is perfume or other strong fragrances, causing migraines in almost a third of all sufferers.

There are also a number of well-known dietary triggers — particularly chocolate, nuts, bananas, citrus, dairy, onions, and fermented foods. Of course, they can also appear without any particular reason — but if you are able to take preventative measures then it should help to reduce the incidence and severity of the attacks.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is the most popular herb for migraine prevention. Your wife will need to take 100mg daily for this remedy to work.

This dosage has been shown in studies to provide the necessary 0.7% of the active constituent, parthenolide. It can take a month before this begins to work, but it is worth sticking with if this is going to be a remedy that your wife responds well to.

To treat an existing migraine, both skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) are handy herbs to have on hand.

For a skullcap infusion, you will need one heaped teaspoon of dried herb to one cup of near-boiling water; a rosemary infusion requires a level teaspoon of the dried herb to each cup of water.

The other natural remedy which has been shown to work well in clinical studies is the addition of essential fatty acids to the diet.

Taking an essential fatty acid supplement on a daily basis can reduce the frequency of migraines by half in almost two-thirds of migraine sufferers, along with a significant reduction in the pain and severity of the attack.

Can you please elaborate on the process of oil-pulling? Specifically, what type of oil to use, how much, and how often.

Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic technique used to help with oral hygiene and detoxification. Ideally, it is a daily routine done first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach — even before you have had as much as a glass of water or any other beverage As far as the type of oil goes, you can use olive oil or raw sesame oil, but I personally prefer to use coconut oil. If you do purchase coconut oil, it is best to choose the virgin, unrefined, unbleached, organic variety.

Use around a tablespoon of oil, swishing it gently around your entire mouth, taking care not to swish too vigorously or swallow any of the oil. Ensure that the oil is pulled between your teeth, under your tongue, and inside your cheeks, swishing for 10-15 minutes before spitting it out.

The oil becomes thin and foamy as it is combined with your saliva, and takes on a whitish colour. It is best to spit the oil into the garden, or down the toilet, since repeated oil being washed down the kitchen or bathroom sink can clog the pipes. Follow your oil pulling with gentle brushing, using a natural toothpaste.

While it may seem strange, many people have reported numerous benefits from following this daily practice, including weight loss, whiter teeth, migraine prevention, healthy gums, reduced asthma attacks and other allergic responses, clearer skin, hormonal regulation, clear sinuses, improved energy, and better sleep.

Of course, these reports are purely anecdotal — so it is worth making your own mind up as to whether or not it is a worthwhile method of detoxification and healing for the body.

Feverfew plants, flowers and leaves