Migraines can really put the breaks on your day. For some, they can be so bad you end up spending the day laying in a dark, silent room, just waiting it out.
If this sounds like you, your answer may not be taking painkillers once the migraine has already started -- instead, try feverfew to prevent the migraine in the first place.
What Is Feverfew?
A member of the daisy family, feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a perennial plant. You can find it growing throughout North America, Australia and in Europe, where it blooms between July and October. Feverfew has been a popular herbal remedy for centuries and medicine is commonly made from the dried leaves of the plant.
Feverfew and Migraines
Use of feverfew dates back to the ancient Greeks, who were said to have used it to treat inflammation as well as menstrual cramps, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It was also used to treat fevers, but was proven to be ineffective. The main use for feverfew is currently for the prevention of migraines and headaches.
Migraine headaches are characterized by intense pain that's either throbbing or pulsing and located in one area of the head. A migraine is often accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and sound and possibly vomiting. Genetics, temperature, hormonal changes and the amount of pressure in the air can all cause migraines. Feverfew is said to help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines when taken as a daily supplement by supporting normal blood vessel tone. It may even be able to prevent migraines altogether after extended use. Parthenolide is one type of active compound within feverfew believed to contribute to its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Parthenolides contribute to the reduction in migraine headaches, but aren't believed to be the only compound within the plant that provides this benefit.
Published studies have used doses between 5 mg and 100 mg of feverfew to help prevent migraines and have shown it to be effective. However, larger and more prolonged trials are needed. Other uses of feverfew today include arthritis, psoriasis, asthma and labor support for women during childbirth. These uses continue to be studied to prove the herbal supplement's efficacy.
The most common way to take feverfew is in capsule form. Teas are also available, but can be quite bitter in taste. Some digestive discomfort may occur when taking feverfew, but isn't common. Individuals allergic to chamomile, ragweed or yarrow, those taking blood thinners or medications broken down by the liver and women who are pregnant or nursing shouldn't take feverfew. If you've been diagnosed with a medical condition, including chronic migraines, it's important to speak with your doctor first before adding a feverfew supplement to your routine. They can help you determine if this supplement is safe to take with or in place of your current medications and the correct dosage and length of treatment.
Other Tips for Beating a Migraine
While the exact cause of migraines cannot be narrowed down to one particular risk factor at this time, there are things you can do to prevent migraines, in addition to adding a daily feverfew supplement. Try these suggestions:
Exercise regularly to relieve tension.
Reduce stress as much as possible.
Be mindful of estrogen intake through medication or supplements.
Get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Always keep track of your migraines and headaches, especially if you've been diagnosed with chronic migraines or notice a change in frequency or severity. You and your doctor may be able to determine a pattern.
For more herbal remedies, browse our entire selection and eVitamins and check back for the latest information. Have a great week!