Skin Care and Treatments of Melbourne Dermatology - Feverfew

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Feverfew

Recently, feverfew has been used by the Aveeno skincare brand to calm red and irritated skin.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium; syn. Chrysanthemum parthenium (L.) Pers., Pyrethrum parthenium Sm.) is a traditional medicinal herb which is found in many old gardens, and is also occasionally grown for ornament. The plant grows into a small bush up to around 18 inches high, with citrus-scented leaves and is covered by flowers reminiscent of daisies. It spreads rapidly, and they will cover a wide area after a few years. It is also commonly seen in the literature by its synonyms, Chrysanthemum parthenium (L.) Bernh. and Pyrethrum parthenium (L.) Sm.

Feverfew has been used for reducing fever, for treating headaches, arthritis and digestive problems.

It is hypothesized that by inhibiting the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, both of which are believed to aid the onset of migraines, feverfew limits the inflammation of blood vessels in the head.

This would, in theory, stop the blood vessel spasm which is believed to contribute to headaches. The active ingredients in feverfew include parthenolide and tanetin. Capsules or tablets of feverfew generally contain at least 205 mcg. parthenolide; however, it might take four to six weeks before they become effective, and feverfew is not a remedy for acute migraine attacks.

Parthenolide has also been found recently in 2005 to induce cell death in leukemia cancer stem cells.

Adverse effects include: gastrointestinal distress, mouth ulcers, and antiplatelet actions.

If feverfew is taken for any length of time as a medicinal herb, sudden discontinuation can result in a withdrawal syndrome consisting of headache, irritability, trouble sleeping and joint pain. As with any other medicinal herb, consult with a knowledgeable practitioner before beginning treatment with this herb.

Feverfew was native to Eurasia; specifically the Balkan Peninsula, Anatolia and the Caucasus, but cultivation has spread it around the world and it is now also found in Europe, the Mediterranean, North America and Chile.

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