Compiled by Ivor Hughes.

Welsh Herbalists in the South West of the country would prescribe this herb for Migraine sufferers. Fresh leaves in a single layer between a bread and butter sandwich. However I have seen one case where blistering was caused to the roof of the mouth. (Potters q.v.) This is a 3 part compilation.

1. U.S.D. 1926 Part ll.
2. A Modern Herbal. Mrs. M. Grieve F.R.H.S.
3. Potters Cyclopedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations (1988)

1. U.S.D. 1926.
Parthenium. Chrysanthemum Parthenium (L.) Bernh. Feverfew.
Matricaire, Fr. Mutterkraut, G. (Fam. Composites.)

A tall, strongly scented, perennial, branching herb, with bipinnately divided leaves, the segments being oblong or elliptic-oblong and cut, and small flower-heads arranged in a corymb. It is a native of Europe, but cultivated in our gardens and naturalized in some places. The whole aerial part is used. The plant has an odor and taste analogous to those of chamomile, which it resembles also in the appearance of its flowers and in its medicinal virtues. It yields a greenish volatile oil which boils between 165� and 220� C., and separates on standing, pyrethrum camphor, C10H16O.

The flower-heads of this and of a closely resembling species, Matricaria parthenoides Desf., (Chrysanthemum parthenoides Voss), are said to be used in France, to a considerable extent, indiscriminately with those of the true chamomile plant, Anthemis nobilis, which they closely resemble, especially when double. They may, however, be distinguished, in this state, by their peculiar odor, their small receptacle, which is, moreover, rounded and flattened above, instead of being conical and somewhat pointed as in the Anthemis, and by the tubular five-toothed central florets, which in the chamomile are small, few, and scarcely visible, but in the two former species are large, very numerous, and very long.

Parthenium Hysterophorus L.� Jose Torar has found parthenine and four other alkaloids besides parthenic acid, in this Cuban plant which is used by the natives as a febrifuge and antiperiodic. Of the alkaloids, parthenine is crystallizable and is apparently the active principle. It has been extracted and studied again by H. V. Arny (A. J. P., 1890, 121), who believes it to be a, bitter glucoside and not an alkaloid.

In doses of three grains (0.2 Gm.) it is said to quicken the heart, and in doses of fifteen grains (1.0 Gm.) to glow cardiac action, while fifty grains (3.2 Gm.) not only lessen the arterial pressure and respiratory frequency but reduce the bodily temperature. In doses of from seven to ten grains (0.45-0.65 Gm.) it is affirmed to be useful in neuralgia. (See Journ. de Med. de Paris, March, 1887; A. J. P., 1897, 169.)

Parthenium integrifolium L., American Feverfew. Prairie Dock. Wild Quinine (Fam. Composite) is an herbaceous perennial, growing abundantly in the prairies of the Southwestern States, which has been used as a tonic and anti-periodic; two ounces (62 Gm.) of the flowering tops may be given in infusion.

2. A Modern Herbal. Mrs. M. Grieve F.R.H.S.
Chrysanthemum Parthenium (BERNH.) N.O. Compositae
Pyrethrum Parthenium (Sm.). Featherfew. Featherfoil. Flirtwort. Bachelor's Buttons
Part Used. Herb

Description. Feverfew (a corruption of Febrifuge, from its tonic and fever-dispelling properties) is a composite plant growing in every hedgerow, with numerous, small, daisy-like heads of yellow flowers with outer white rays, the central yellow florets being arranged on a nearly flat receptacle, not conical as in the chamomiles. The stem is finely furrowed and hairy, about 2 feet high; the leaves alternate, downy with short hairs, or nearly smooth-about 4 � inches long and 2 inches broad � bipinnatifid, with serrate margins, the leaf-stalk being flattened above and convex beneath. It is not to be confounded with other wild chamomile-like allied species, which mostly have more feathery leaves and somewhat large flowers; the stem also is upright, whereas that of the true garden Chamomile is procumbent. The delicate green leaves are conspicuous even in mid winter. The whole plant has a strong and bitter smell, and is particularly disliked by bees. A double variety is cultivated in gardens for ornamental purposes, and its flower-heads are sometimes substituted for the double Chamomile. Country people have long been accustomed to make curative uses of this herb, which grows abundantly throughout England. Gerard tells us that it may be used both in drinks, and bound on the wrists is of singular virtue against the ague. Pyrethrum is derived from the Greek pur (fire), in allusion to the hot taste of the root.

Cultivation. Feverfew is a perennial, and herbaceous in habit. When once planted, it gives year after year an abundant supply of blossoms with only the merest degree of attention. Planting may be done in autumn, but the best time is about the end of April. Any ordinary good soil is suitable, but better results are obtained when well-drained, and of a stiff, loamy character, enriched with good manure. Weeding should be done by hand, the plants when first put out being small might be injured by hoeing.

There are three methods of propagation: by seed, by division of roots and by cuttings. If grown by seed, it should be sown in February or March, thinned out to 2 to 3 inches between the plants, and planted out early in June to permanent quarters, allowing a foot or more between the plants and 2 feet between the rows, selecting, if possible, a showery day for the operation. They will establish themselves quickly. To propagate by division, lift the plants in March, or whenever the roots are in an active condition, and with a sharp spade, divide them into three or five fairly large pieces. Cuttings should be made from the young shoots that start from the base of the plant, and should be taken with a heel of the old plant attached, which will greatly assist their rooting. They may be inserted at any time from October to May. The foliage must be shortened to about 3 inches, when the cuttings will be ready for insertion in a bed of light, sandy soil, in the open.

Plant very firmly, surface the bed with sand, and water in well. Shade is necessary while the cuttings are rooting. Keep a good watch at all times for snails, slugs and black fly. For the latter pest, try peppering the plants; for the others use soot, ashes or lime. Toads will keep a garden free of slugs. A few pots placed on their sides may be dotted about the garden, and it will be found that the toads will sit in these when they are not hunting around for their prey. The creatures are not at all likely to leave the garden, seeing that if the supply of slugs runs short they will turn their attention to all kinds of insects.

Medicinal Action and Uses. Aperient, carminative, bitter. As a stimulant it is useful as an emmenagogue. Is also employed in hysterical complaints, nervousness and lowness of spirits, and is a general tonic. The cold infusion is made from 1 oz. of the herb to a pint of boiling water, allowed to cool, and taken frequently in doses of half a tea-cupful.

A decoction with sugar or honey is said to be good for coughs, wheezing and difficult breathing. The herb, bruised and heated, or fried with a little wine and oil, has been employed as a warm external application for wind and colic.

A tincture made from Feverfew and applied locally immediately relieves the pain and swelling caused by bites of insects and vermin. It is said that if two teaspoonfuls of tincture are mixed with � pint of cold water, and all parts of the body likely to be exposed to the bites of insects are freely sponged with it, they will remain unassailable. A tincture of the leaves of the true Chamomile and of the German Chamomile will have the same effect. Planted round dwellings, it is said to purify the atmosphere and ward off disease.

An infusion of the flowers, made with boiling water and allowed to become cold, will allay any distressing sensitiveness to pain in a highly nervous subject, and will afford relief to the face-ache or earache of a dyspeptic or rheumatic person.

Preparations. Fluid extract: dose, 1 to 2 drachms.

SWEET FEVERFEW (Chrysanthemum Suaveolens) and C. maritima, found by the seashore, especially in the north, with leaves broader, more fleshy, succulent and smaller flower-heads than the Common Feverfew.

3. Potters Cyclopedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations (1988)
FEVERFEW: Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schultz Bip.
Synonyms: Featherfew, Featherfoil, Midsummer Daisy, Chrysanthemum parthenium (L.) Bernh., Leucanthemum parthenium (L.) Gren and Godron, Pyrethrum parthenium (L.) Sm.
Habitat: Grows wild in many parts of Europe and the British Isles.
Description: A perennial herb reaching up to 60 cm, with a downy erect stem. The leaves are yellowish-green, alternate, stalked, ovate and pinnately divided with an entire or crenate margin. The flowers, which appear in June to August, are up to about 2 cm in diameter and arranged in corymbs of up to 30 heads, with white ray florets and yellow disc florets and downy involucral bracts. Taste, bitter and nauseous; odour, strongly aromatic, characteristic.
Part Used: Herb.

Constituents: (i) Volatile oil, containing α-pinene and several pinene derivatives, bornyl acetate and angelate, costic acid, ( β-farnesine and spiroketal enol ethers [540] (ii) Sesquiterpene lactones; the major one being parthenolide [541] (a germacranolide), with santamarine (= balchanin) [542], and a number of others including esters of parthenolide, reynosin, artemorin and its epoxide, 3(3-hydroxypartheno-lide, 3|3-hydroxycostunolide, 8a-hydroxyestafiatin, traces of canin and artecanin [540], partholide and chrysantholide [543]. Recently a new dimeric germacranolide, chrysanthemonin, has been isolated [543] (iii) Acetylene derivatives, mainly in the root [540].

Medicinal Use: Febrifuge, analgesic, antirheumatic, stomachic, anthelmintic. Used for rheumatism, headache and menstrual problems. For review see [544]. There has been a great resurgence of interest in Feverfew for rheumatism, and especially as a prophylactic treatment for migraine, where a recent clinical trial has shown it to be highly efficacious [545]. The fresh leaves may be eaten, usually with other foods to disguise the nauseous taste, or standardized capsules or tablets taken daily to prevent migraine attacks. Pharmacological work carried out to discover the mode of action of Feverfew, thought to be due to the sesquiterpene lactones present, has shown that it inhibits prostaglandin production and arachidonic acid release, explaining at least part of its antiplatelet and antifebrile actions [546, 547]. Extracts also inhibit secretion of serotonin from platelet granules and proteins from polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMN's) [548]. Since serotonin is implicated in the aetiology of migraine and PMN secretion is increased in rheumatoid arthritis, these findings substantiate the use of Feverfew in these conditions [548]. The stomachic effect may be due to the spiroketal ethers which are spasmolytic (see German Chamomile). Parthenolide has been shown to reduce calcium secretion in animals, which may be useful in the treatment of hypercalcuria and related conditions [549]. Like most potent substances Feverfew may have side effects in a few individuals; these are dermatitis and soreness or ulceration of the mouth [545], and more pleasantly, a mild tranquillising effect [544].

Preparations: Liquid Extract, dose: 4 � 8 ml.
Potter's Products: Feverfew Tablets.
Regulatory Status: GSL.

540 Bohlmann, F. and Zdero, C. (1982) Phytochem. 2l'(10), 2543
541 Govindachari, T. R. et al. (1964) Tetrahedron 21 (6), 1509
542 Romo de Viva, A. and Jiminez, H. (1965) Tetrahedron 21 (7), 1742
543 Hylands, D. M. and Hylands, P. (1986) Abstr. Phytochem. Soc. Eur. Meeting, Lausanne 3-5th Sept 1986 PI 7
544 Berry, M. I. (1984) Pharm.J. 232, 611
545 Johnson, E. S. et al. (1985) Brit. Med. J. 291, 569
546 Collier, H. O. J. et al. (1980) Lancet ii, 922 '547 Makheja, A. N. and Bailey, J. M. (1981) Lancet ii, 1054
548 Heptinstall, S. et al. (1985) Lancet i, 1071
549 Buck, A. C. et al. (1986) 6th Int. Conf. Prostaglandins and Related Compounds. Florence, Italy. June 3rd-6th. Pub. Fondzione Giovanni Lorenzi

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