The feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Sch. Bip., 1844) belongs to the Asteraceae family. This species, depending on the places, is called in several ways: among them we recall the terms amarella, amareggiola, maresina, matricale and marga grass.
From the systematic point of view feverfew belongs to the Domain Eukaryota, Kingdom Plantae, Superdivision Spermatophyta, Division Magnoliophyta, Class Magnoliopsida, Subclass Asteridae, Asterales Order, Family Asteraceae, subfamily Asteroideae, Tribe anthemideae, Subtribe Tanacetinae and then to the genus Tanacetum and the Species T Parthenium.
The generic term would derive from the alteration of “Athanasia” = “immortal”, most likely due to the characteristics of its flowers that are long-lasting. The epithet of the species comes from the ancient name, which was used by Hippocrates, to indicate a plant able to cure the wounds. The Parthenium is also quoted by Dioscoride even though it is not certain what plant to speak. The term has to do however with the Parthenon and according to Pliny this plant was used to heal “Vernulo” great architect then died when he fell from the scaffolding of the temple.
According to other A.A. The term could refer to the name of a virgin who in Greek was called “Parthenos”.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Feverfew is more easily in rocky places and fallow the European temperate zone, North and South America and in the Caucasus region. In Italy its natural habitat is on the walls and ruins, in fertile soils, hedges and an elevation spread ranging from sea level to 1500 m above sea level. Despite its large potential applications, today, in Italy, is Only in ornamental gardens.
The Tanacetum parthenium is a perennial herbaceous glabrous plant with the characteristic smell of pyrethrum, 30 – 80 cm high and with a rooting root. It is recognized for its stem erect with reddish streaks, pubescent, with branches branching in the upper part forming a limb corimbo.
The leaves of this species are alternate, twin-bumped, with the basal ones early fallen, the lower caulian ones with petioles of 2-4 cm and leaf 3-4 x 6-9 cm and divided into 5-11 segments deeply pennato-parties and With marginal teeth and dull. The flowers are placed on pointed heads (Ø 1 cm) with an inconspicuous shell on the back and with a peduncle of 2-4 cm.
It has white flowers, linear ligulas of 5-10 mm with longitudinal veins and a bi-trifido trunk. Shrunk wrap with brattees with scary edges. Acute and completely herbaceous squamous. The disc flowers are tubular and yellow. The spindles are 1.5 mm in size with 5-6 light shingles and topped with a sprocket of 0.2 – 0.3 mm.
The feverfew to achieve its maximum development is approximately two to five years. The plant is also indicated by two synonyms: Chrysanthemum parthenium and Matricaria parthenium.
The cultivation of this species can be carried out in different ways depending on the use that is to be done: informal garden, gravel garden, Mediterranean garden, jar or container, architectural garden, terrace or courtyard, rocky garden, meadow or full Field, flower garden, countryside garden, coastal garden, sub-tropical garden.
The cultivation of this species for traditional agricultural use is uncommon but, for its therapeutic applications, it has great potential.
The type of substrate suitable for the growth of the Tanacetum parthenium plant can be varied, the ones that can give greater results are the typologies: chalky, greasy, sandy and clayey. The cultivation medium can have a pH: acid, alkaline and neutral.
Orientation compared to cardinal points is not important for all positions. Exposure to light can be in full sun, half shade, shadow. Clearly, exposure affects the organoleptic qualities of the plant and the ornamental aspects, so it must be decided a priori according to its actual use.
However, the Tanacetum parthenium plant is a plant that is quite adaptable to the most varied growth conditions, so it does not require constant plant cultivation, but to grow well, it needs an exposed position.
Uses and Traditions –
Feverfew has a good amount of flavonoids such as lutein, quercetin, apigenine and axillary, active ingredients that are part of its spasmolytic action on smooth visceral muscle. It also contains bi- or tricyclic compounds called sesquiterpenes, such as partenolide, costunolide, artemorine and santamarin, which are bitter and modulate the functions of the serotonin system, from which their prophylactic properties are of the headache. It should be noted that herbal tea-based herbs are only effective as preventative of the attack; They have no effect when migraine is underway.
In popular tradition, partenion has often been used in cases of joint rheumatism and in the prevention of headaches. In modern phytotherapy it is mainly used in the prophylaxis of migraine. However, it has good tonic, emmenagogic and anti-spastic properties.
Parthenos should not be taken in subjects who have allergies to other Asteracea and should consult their physician before taking Parthenos.
In recent times, partenion has triggered a widespread interest among immunologic, rheumatologic and oncologic field researchers. One of its constituents, in fact, the partenolide, has proved to be a potent anti-inflammatory laboratory on animal experimental models of disabling diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. This compound acts directly as an inhibitor of the transcription factor of antibodies capsules of lymphocytes B (NF-kB), which serves immune cells to the synthesis of many cytokines involved in inflammation. In addition, it has the advantage of directly inhibiting 5-lipoxygenase, an enzyme that transforms arachidonic acid into known leukotriene inflammatory mediators. Partenolide has been shown to be very effective in suppressing (this in vitro or in tumor tissue transplanted on experimental animals) the proliferation of certain types of malignant cells, either from solid or hematological tumors (gastric, lung, Prostate and multiple myeloma, to name a few). Apart from its NF-kB inhibitory power, as mentioned above, partenolide alkylates the enzyme DNA-cytosine methyltransferase (DNMT 1), which modifies DNA by leading to the gene repression of many chromatin portions. In practice, partenolide would act in the same way as 5-azacytidine chemotherapy, used as a cell differentiation inducer in the hematopoietic neoplasm therapy (multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes, etc.).
However, data from human clinical trials are lacking today, and this is a serious shortage in the field of industry experimentation.
This plant uses leaves harvested in June-July, fresh or dried in the shade. Capsules harvested between July and September can be used instead of chamomile. Another use that can be made of these, if dried and powdered, is as insecticide, as they contain pyrethrum.
In medicine, follicle was used against malaria, colds, and catarrh. It was also used against nervous disorders caused by post-natal hysteria.
The plant was also used against convulsions and also to calm the restless children. More recently, it has proven effective against headache in general, migraine in a specific way and also to cure swelling, bruising and bruising. The bitter taste of this species seems to have a beneficial effect on the liver and the digestive system.
Plinio consecrated plant to the goddess Minerva, the goddess was used in antiquity to care for all the feminine problems. It was recommended to stimulate uterine contractions and encourage the delivery or expulsion of the placenta.
In modern phytotherapy, however, it is used to prevent migraine and headache, but has been rediscovered its beneficial effect in the event of premenstrual syndrome and pain during the cycle.
Its active ingredient is the partenolide, an analgesic that exerts a relaxation action of the smooth muscle of the blood vessels. It also prevents the release of serotonin, a trigger of migraine.
In ancient times, the plant was also called “bunny button” because young people held their flower pockets, especially when a girlfriend’s courtship began. It was called pyrethrum (fire) for the spicy flavor of the root.
It is strange to note that until the 1970s Tanaceto was considered a plant of poor medical value. As many sources say, partenion has been used since ancient times to treat feverish forms and was called by the Latin name of febrifugia, but both use and denomination are incorrect.
The ancient doctors, including Dioscoride and Galen, used their Greek name, parthenion, and prescribed it for menstrual and childbirth problems, not fever. In England the name pathenon fell into disuse and the plant was renamed ifeatherfoili because of its leaves on the edge of the pennate, the name from which it developed feverfew. With this new name, starting began to be used in herbal medicine as a febrile treatment. The plant was cultivated around the homes in the hope of purifying the air and chasing malaria, which was thought to be wrongly caused by bad air.
For some time, some herbalists advocated partenion for other affections, especially for the headache. In the seventeenth century, in England, John Parkinson argued that partenion “is very effective for all the pain of the head.” A hundred years later, John Hill wrote: “In the worst of the headaches, this grass surpasses any other known herb.”
Most herbalists, however, remained linked to the traditional gynecological partenious use. The 17th-century British herbalist Nicholas Culpeper called him a “general tonic of the uterus”, prescribing it in infusions for colds and congestion of the chest. Culpeper also acknowledged the decline of the grass, declaring it “not very used in current practice”.
The first colonists introduced partenion in northern America, where malaria was a very serious problem, but falling into disuse in England, the grass ceased to be used in the United States.
The eclectic Americans of the nineteenth century prescribe it mainly as emmenagogo and in the treatment of “female hysteria” (menstrual disorders) and some febrile illnesses.
At the end of the seventies of our century, a fortuitous case made the previous observations about the benefits of partenion in the “pains of the boss” appear prophetic.
The wife of a medical officer of the British Coal National Committee suffered from chronic headaches. A miner told her then that she was in the past a chronic migraine sufferer, and solved her problem by chewing on some of her birthday leaves daily. The woman tried the grass, found immediate improvements, and in 14 months the headaches had disappeared.
Her husband submitted the wife’s experience to Dr. E. Stewart Johnson, a physician at the London City of London Migraine Clinic. Dr. Johnson gave ten-year-old leaves to his ten patients. Three declared themselves healed, and the other seven experienced significant improvements.
Dr. Johnson later gave birth to 270 patients with migraine headaches, observing their experience. 70 percent reported a significant attenuation of the disorder, a positive sign if one thought that in many patients the conventional medical treatment had made no relief.
Subsequently, Dr. Johnson prepared a high-rigorous scientific experiment in which a group of patients received partinen, a control group with a placebo of the same appearance, but neither the researchers nor the patients could identify the two groups until the end of the ‘experiment. The group treated with parthenia showed far more significant improvements than those found in the placebo group. Soon after, the British medical journal Lancet made the results of an even stricter experiment known. 72 patients suffering from migraine were randomized to a lyophilized and powdered day (the equivalent of two medium sized leaves) randomized capsule, or a placebo of the same appearance. Neither the volunteers nor the researchers knew how to distribute partridge and placebo capsules. After two months the groups were inverted, so the group that started with the placebo was now given the partenio, and vice versa.
The results were astonishing: partenion reduced headaches by 24 percent, and headaches suffered in concomitant use with grass were relatively light, accompanied by significantly less manifestations of nausea and vomiting.
It is however recommended not to take partenion in the event of pregnancy and never associate it with anti-coagulant or anti-tumor platelets, both pharmaceutical and herbal. However, seek medical attention from your doctor or pharmacist, who will be able to give you the best advice on dosing and intake.
Methods of Preparation –
Foliage is used with leaves, with adjacent parts of the air. Parthenos infusion has beneficial hypotensive, digestive, and emmenagogic effects. Between July and September, the aerial parts of the plant are collected and dried. They are used in the form of decoction or infusion that is succumbed or used to wrap on parts of the aching body like inflammation of the skin or muscle aches.
One way to mitigate migraine is therefore to chew two fresh (or frozen) leaves daily, or take a pill or capsule containing 85 milligrams of leaf material. The turnip has a rather bitter flavor. Generally preferred pills or capsules are preferred, compared to chewing leaves. If partridge capsules are not beneficial over a few weeks, a brand should be changed before giving up this herb. Prepare infusions of venison to exploit its possible hypotensive, digestive and emmenagogic benefits. To prepare an infusion, use 1 / 2-1 teaspoonfuls of grass in a cup of boiling water, leaving it infused for 5-10 minutes. The maximum dose is 2 cups a day. In Italy there is the mother dye of partenion dye.
The bitter taste of the marshmallow, finds its use in some culinary preparations that require bitter aftertaste. It is mainly used to prepare vegetable soups and soups in general, aromatic omelettes and also adds to the fatty meats.
Parthenosis should not be given to children under 2 years of age. For older children or older people over 65, start with light preparations, increasing their power if necessary.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, no responsibility for their use for any curative, aesthetic or food use is considered.