AskDefine | Define feverfew

Dictionary Definition

feverfew n : bushy aromatic European perennial herb having clusters of buttonlike white-rayed flower heads; valued traditionally for medicinal uses; sometimes placed in genus Chrysanthemum [syn: Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysanthemum parthenium]

User Contributed Dictionary


Extensive Definition

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium; syn. Chrysantheim 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; which are then used in Christmas trees. 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 hypothesised 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.
Recently, feverfew has been used by Aveeno skincare brand to calm red and irritated skin.
Feverfew is found around the world and including the USA, particularly in western states, e.g., California.
Adverse effects include: gastrointestinal distress, mouth ulcers, and antiplatelet actions.


feverfew in Old English (ca. 450-1100): Adreminte
feverfew in Danish: Matrem
feverfew in German: Mutterkraut
feverfew in Spanish: Tanacetum parthenium
feverfew in Persian: بابونه گاوی
feverfew in French: Grande camomille
feverfew in Indonesian: Tanacetum parthenium
feverfew in Italian: Tanacetum parthenium
feverfew in Slovak: Rimbaba obyčajná
feverfew in Swedish: Mattram
feverfew in Venetian: Tanacetum parthenium
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