Friday, December 10, 2010

The Feverfew Chronicles, Continued

Earlier in the year, I told you about feverfew, and how it helped my regular headaches.  I thought that those of you pondering growing this herb would like an update.

I tried to dry the herb all summer because I knew I would need a supply when the plants were not productive, and I wanted to be prepared.  My research suggested that the herb would stay effective even when dried.

As the weather cooled, I noticed the fresh leaf of the herb was growing less effective for me; in the meantime, I was skipping "doses" because it would be cold or rainy and I didn't want to slog into the yard to get some.  My headaches came back, although not quite as frequent as before.

To combat this, I brought some clippings into the house and put them in a jar of water in the fridge, as you do with any herb you want to use fresh for several days.  I didn't notice those leaves being very effective, but I did notice the stems start to look like they were wanting to root.  I took the jar out of the fridge and let them do so for a few days, then planted them in fresh compost.

Voila!  Just about a month later, I have new feverfew shoots coming up out of this plant.  I have been nibbling around the edges of the older growth, and it tastes fresh and bright.  (As much as feverfew can--it still tastes like medicine.  I tell DH that it tastes like not having a headache.  And fresh certainly tastes better than the dried stuff.)

The best part is, this new growth is oh-so-effective.  I'm back to having a headache maybe one day a week, when my norm without it is more like 5-6 days.  Happy, happy!

Also, just as I suggested to you back in the original post, I told my doctor about it.  He had not heard of feverfew, but he asked some really good questions and made a note to investigate it.  He was fully supportive of my using the herb.

The Analysis

Fast:  I don't know quite how to assess on this dimension, but eating some feverfew is certainly as quick as popping an OTC pill.

Cheap:  Once again, I didn't start this project with the idea of monetary savings, although they are certainly possible if they keep me from buying ibuprofen at the rate I once was.  (Seriously, I've purchased one bottle since spring.  That is really unusual in this household.) 

Good:  The true cost I am avoiding is wear and tear on my body from pharmaceuticals.  This article from  Mother Earth News puts it best:

"Rather than herbs being too weak, many drugs are too strong, causing side effects ranging from annoying to insufferable. Do no harm is the first axiom of medicine. This means that treatment should begin at the lowest possible effective dose. Why use a bulldozer if a broom suffices? Herbs should be prescribed first. Only those who truly need stronger medicine should use drugs, which cost more and have a greater risk of side effects. Unfortunately, American medicine does the opposite. Doctors prescribe drugs first, and only when the drugs are intolerable do some doctors suggest herbs. We don’t need medicine that’s stronger. We need medicine that’s smarter. For many common ills, herbs are cheaper and smarter."
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  1. Your results are really amazing. Do you continue to get relief from this plant?

    1. jenny_o I did get relief from the plant as long as I was able to keep it alive. Since writing this, I have discovered that you can dry the feverfew and put it in capsules, and it works as well. The only "problem" I have seen is that I'm a bit more likely to have "breakthrough" headaches using the herb than I am using a prescription preventative.

    2. Thank you for the additional information.