Thursday, December 6, 2007

Feverfew For Fewer Migraines

I've never had migraines, although I used to suffer terribly from frequent headaches. I still get a whopper of a headache, once in a while, but certainly not as often as in the past. It's usually stress or pillow-related, and sometimes lasts throughout the day, finally dissipating the following morning. They're never fun, and I can empathize with migraine-sufferers who have to deal with much more than just a pounding head that they'd give anything to chop off their willing shoulders. I've had many a headache where I've felt very much like doing that, or at least paying someone to do it for me.

So, add to an agonizingly painful head: extreme sensitivity to light, nausea, and some vomiting for good measure, and you have the symptoms of a full blown migraine. I've had friends who get them, so I've seen how debilitating they can be.

If you get migraines you might want to consider:

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium):

It's a member of the sunflower family, and the dried leaves (along with the flowers and stems, sometimes) are used to combat not only migraines, but fevers, stomachaches, insect bites, toothaches and several other things.

A clinical study of patients taking a combination of Feverfew and White Willow (aspirin-like herb) taken twice daily for 12 weeks, reduced the frequency, intensity and duration of migraine attacks.

The Rodale Book "The Herbal Drugstore" recommends using a feverfew tincture or capsules that contain freeze-dried feverfew leaves, and NOT supplements made with dried leaves. Apparently, it won't work and could possibly worsen the migraines. They recommend taking the following daily:

15 drops of the tincture daily or
300-mg capsules per day

Though it might not work for everyone, I'd think it would be worth a try. However, as with all herbs, make sure you thoroughly research the potential side-effects etc. Further information and details of side effects etc. can be found on the above links. The following is taken from one of those websites, UMM.edu:

Precautions

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and that can interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.
Side effects from feverfew can include abdominal pain, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and nervousness. Mouth ulcers, loss of taste, and swelling of the lips, tongue, and mouth may occur in some individuals who chew raw feverfew leaves. Allergic reactions to feverfew, although rare, have also been reported. In fact, people with allergies to chamomile, ragweed, or yarrow will likely be allergic to feverfew and, therefore, should not take it.

Feverfew may increase the tendency to bleed, especially in individuals with bleeding disorders or taking blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin or warfarin. Do not use feverfew if you have bleeding disorders or are taking blood-thinning medications unless you are under the supervision of a doctor.
Pregnant and nursing women as well as children under 2 years of age should not take feverfew.

Do not abruptly stop taking feverfew if you have used it for more than 1 week. A withdrawal syndrome characterized by rebound headache, anxiety, fatigue, muscle stiffness, and joint pain may occur.

2 comments:

MondaythroughSunday said...

never had a problem with headaches. I did as a kid..but I think it was a lack of water. Good to know..I do have a friend that gets them once in awhile. I am truly glad I do not!

Incognito said...

You're lucky Monday, they're really not fun.