Feverfew An Important Herb For The Elderly

Submitted by: T. Mahabir

A particular favorite among herbalists, feverfew is a fairly common garden plant belonging to the daisy family that contains compounds known as sesquiterpenes. Modern research has indicated that these compounds may be more efficacious than aspirin in treating both migraine headaches and arthritis.

How the herb can help

Arthritis – Arthritis is a catch-all term for a number of diseases characterized by inflammation and joint pain. While it can strike at any age, it is the elderly who bear the brunt of the disease as the condition can be very debilitating if not treated in time the result can be severe joint deformities and intense pain that can adversely affect quality of life as well as mobility. Joint inflammation, tenderness, swelling, and morning stiffness are the symptoms typically associated with arthritis, and these can be either sudden or gradual in onset. Poor diet, viral infections and an adverse autoimmune response have been found to be the prime causative factors.

The mainstream treatment for arthritis involves the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin to relieve the accompanying pain and inflammation, However, these drugs do not cure the problem and may actually impede the body’s immune function. Evidence also reveals that prolonged use of these medications can have grave side effects leading to liver, kidney and gastrointestinal compromise and irreversible damage.


The herb offers an alternative with its main constituent, parthenolide, acting to decrease inflammation and fever by inhibiting the release of substances in the body such as prostaglandins, histamines and serotonin. The outcome is like taking a daily aspirin but without the complications and side effects commonly associated with NSAIDs.

While there are several types of arthritic conditions, there are three common kinds. Osteoarthritis occurs when the joints are prone to wearing out either due to natural wear and tear or injury. Rheumatoid arthritis arises when the immune system attacks body tissues, targeting the joints in particular. Gout is caused by excess uric acid in the blood that is deposited in the joints and causes very painful inflammation. It has been found that people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis benefit most from treatment with feverfew.

Other uses

Besides being a potential treatment for arthritis, the herb has several other uses. It is also utilized to reduce allergies, menstrual cramps, eczema, psoriasis, blood pressure, and fever. It is also used as an insect repellent, a sleep inducing or relaxing sedative, a digestive aid, and an antimicrobial as it inhibits the growth of bacteria such as staph aureus.

What to look for while purchasing

The amount of parthenolide in each plant can vary due to factors like soil and climate, so it is prudent to read labels to find out how much of this ingredient a feverfew product may contain before purchasing it. The product should offer 0.2 5% parthenolide. One survey of these commercially available products showed that the majority actually contained no parthenolide. These were herbs that had been dried. The parthenolide, being volatile, had completely evaporated. Thus the best approach would be to search for preparations that are processed with the least amount of heat. Freeze-dried preparations in capsule form are the best bet and can be found widely in health food stores.

About the Author: Teisha Mahabir specializes in writing articles about health, diet, longevity and health specialists like Brenda Rusnak. Brenda Rusnak is a health care specialist who writes about


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