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No pun intended, feverfew is hot. While this daisy-like flower has enjoyed a long historical legacy as an herb of healing, for the last twenty years it has been gaining growing acclaim in medical circles. This is due to the impressive clinical research results and the countless personal testimonials that have supported its efficacy as a migraine headache remedy.

To gain further appreciation of its health benefits, it is possible to study feverfew (as well as other herbs, nutrients and foods) through the lens of herbal astrology. Through this periscope, we can further ignite our understanding of the ways in which feverfew may serve to protect health and well-being.

Feverfew is Linked to the Planet Venus

Feverfew is associated with Venus, the planet that is in turn linked to the signs Taurus and Libra. Like its goddess namesake, the planet Venus mirrors the qualities of love and beauty. Venus is a feminine energy that defines what you find attractive in the external world, as these outer manifestations serve as telling reflections of your inner essence. In medical astrology, Venus is also linked to the venous portion of the circulatory system, the throat, the kidneys and understandably, the female reproductive organs.

As a quintessential Venusian herb, feverfew was traditionally used to reaffirm the harmony of health, especially in women. It was used to help counteract painful menstrual cramps, relieve sluggish menstrual flow and help expel the placenta after childbirth. While its other uses included balancing high fevers and digestive function, it is its role as a migraine remedy that has attained it modern day status in our herbal medicine chests.

Venus and Migraine Headaches

It does not seem surprising that Venus-linked feverfew benefits migraines, as these headaches themselves express some Venusian qualities. Migraines are more commonly experienced by women than by men, and women are more likely to get migraines during their menstrual cycle. For many people, migraines are exacerbated by the intake of certain Venusian foods of pleasure, including red wine, chocolate and aged cheese.

Migraine headaches are thought to be caused by excessive dilation of blood vessels in the brain. Yet, researchers have not concluded exactly how and why this occurs, and therefore migraines retain an aura of some mystery (just like Venus and women, some people say).

Feverfew and Migraine Headaches

While feverfew was used as a folklore remedy for headaches, it was not until the late 1970s that it began to attract the attention of the medical world. Subsequently, clinical investigations, including two well-noted, double blind, placebo-controlled studies, provided strong evidence that feverfew was effective in reducing the severity and number of migraine headache attacks.

One way that feverfew beneficially affects migraines is through its ability to inhibit both the aggregation (clumping together) of platelets, and the plateletsí release of the compound serotonin. Serotonin is thought to be a key chemical signal in the precipitation of migraine headaches. It causes the blood vessels to first constrict and then to subsequently dilate. The expansion of the blood vessels exerts pressure on the surrounding nerves, which causes many of the symptoms experienced during a migraine headache.

Researchers also believe that another mechanism by which feverfew may treat and prevent migraines is through its ability to inhibit prostaglandins, compounds in our bodies that trigger inflammation. It is because of its anti-inflammatory nature that researchers suspect feverfew to be able to help in other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (although clinical research trials to date have not confirmed this assumption).

How to Use Feverfew

Feverfew herbal preparations are made from the plantís leaves. Feverfew is typically taken in a capsule, tincture, tea or fresh leaf form.

The phytochemial parthenolide is thought to be the main active ingredient in feverfew. Therefore, commonly noted feverfew dosage recommendations focus on the level of parthenolide content. Many nutritionally-oriented healthcare professionals recommend a daily dosage of 0.25-0.5 mg parthenolide for migraine headache prevention. Higher doses of feverfew are often suggested in the treatment of a migraine headache attack. If you are using a standardized extract, you can calculate the parthenolide content by multiplying the total milligrams of feverfew leaf by the percentage of parthenolide content. The typical daily recommendation for fresh feverfew is one to three leaves.

Like most herbal remedies, feverfew is neither a short-term approach nor an immediate cure. While actual results will vary depending upon the individual, clinical evidence seems to suggest that people may experience an initial response of mediation in migraine severity and frequency in four to six weeks.

Pregnant or lactating women should not use feverfew. Additionally, those who exhibit allergic or sensitivity reactions to other members of the Asteracea family (including ragweed, chamomile and yarrow) may want to avoid feverfew.

It is important to always consult a licensed healthcare provider if you are thinking of using feverfew or other dietary supplements to treat any health condition. Additionally, you should tell your healthcare provider about all of the dietary supplements that you are taking so that s/he can evaluate any potential drug-supplement interactions.

Editorís note: The health information given in this article is not meant as a substitute for care from a qualified physician. This information is given for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or prescribe. StarIQ.com is not responsible for any mishaps that occur as a result of using this information.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie Gailing, MS, CN, is a Certified Nutritionist, astrologer and freelance natural health writer. She holds her Masters Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University, where she currently serves as adjunct faculty. Stephanie has been involved in the natural products industry for more than ten years, with experiences ranging from operating her own natural products retail store to serving as a marketing consultant for dietary supplement companies.

Send an email to the author.

For more information about Stephanie Gailing, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Stephanie Gailing:

  • Herbal Astrology: Cayenne   4/3/2003
  • Herbal Astrology: Valerian   11/6/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Bilberry   10/16/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Vitex   9/4/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Chamomile   8/7/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Licorice   7/24/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Horse Chestnut   7/10/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Hawthorn   5/22/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Milk Thistle   5/8/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: St. John's Wort   4/10/2000
  • Herbal Astrology: Garlic   3/20/2000

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