Fever Few

Back again for another mid-winter blues herb gardening post. Last year we went to the Shiner’s Club garden sale and picked up anything we could get our hands on and ending up walking out with a few items I had even heard of before. One of them was feverfew, turns out it is a wonderful little medicinal herb with many uses.

FeverfewFeverfew (also sometime known as featherfew or bachelor’s buttons) is a perennial herb that is commonly used as a herbal treatment to reduce fever and to treat headaches, digestive problems and arthritis. Feverfew is part of the daisy family and was used commonly in ancient Greece. Feverfew products usually contain dried feverfew leaves, but all parts of the plant that grow above ground may be used.  Feverfew should not be given to children under 2 years of age or pregnant women and can cause side effects so like all other herbs should be used with caution as at your own discretion. Using too much feverfew can cause ulcers in your mouth and shouldn’t be used by folks on blood thinning medication.  Here is a great article on how feverfew can be used to treat migraines.

Feverfew flowers from summer to fall. It is commonly confused with chamomile which when flowered can look very similar. Keep in mind that chamomile is an annual and only grows up to around 2 feet tall while feverfew is a perennial and can grow up to three feet tall .

Uses:
-Simply chew 2-3 dry leaves when you feel a migraine coming on. Do not chew fresh leaves as they may aggravate your mouth.
-Tintures
-Teas
– Blossoms, fresh or dried can be added to salads
– Essential oils used in perfumes
– Provide year-round color to your garden
– Good companion plant enhancing the growth of plants around it

Feverfew Migraine Tincture:
Gather fresh feverfew leaves, wash, dry and chop up. Put the chopped leaves into a clean jar and fill with 80 proof vodka, being sure to completely cover the leaves and place cap on tightly. Shake occasionally and store in a cool dry place out of heat or sun. Store for 3-6 weeks then strain leaves and pour liquid into a sterilized glass jar. Take 20-30 drops a day up to three times a day when you have a migraine.

Feverfew Migraine Herbal Blend Tea:
Take 2-3 fresh or dried feverfew leaves and combine with a handful of lavender, chamomile and lemon balm leaves and place into a tea strainer over a cup of boiling water. Steep for 30 minutes and take every hour until migraine subsides.

Growing feverfew:
Feverfew is a hardy evergreen perennial and can with stand a temperature down to 5°F.  Feverfew will bloom almost all summer if you keep it deadheaded. It is one of the first plants to bloom in spring. If you let the blossoms go to seed the plant will self-seed. Will grow well in any type of soil, prefers well drained soil and can withstand full sun or shade. Attracts bees and butterflies and can be planted as an ornamental plant for your garden.

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