- Feverfew

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Registered Charity No. 516775 | Established 1983

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My father-in-law suffered from migraines and as soon as he felt one coming on he would nip out into the garden find some feverfew ( a common weed ) and chew some leaves. He swore by this very old herbal remedy.

Nowadays you can go into a health food shop and get feverfew in tablet form for migraine.

A recent article in the Scientific American alerted me to the fact that there was evidence that feverfew was being researched as an anti-cancer agent. A quick search on Medline revealed abundant evidence of this anti-tumour activity.

The active substance in feverfew has been identified as Parthenolide and research has shown it to be a general anti-inflammatory agent as well as an anti-cancer one.The research so far has been restricted to examining the effects on cancer cells grown in tissue culture and to animal studies.

Feverfew inhibits the growth of human breast cancer cells and cells from human colo-rectal cancers and also causes cancer cell death. The latest research has even worked out the mechanisms whereby feverfew activates the cell death pathway in tumour cells.

However, research is still in the early phase but interestingly some clinical studies have started on human volunteers to determine the toxicity of feverfew. So far with the doses tested they have found no toxic effects.

Colin Sutherland

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