What really works to prevent urinary tract infections, night sweats, irregular periods, migraines, cancer, heart disease, and more.
Lorie A. Parch
6 of 9 | FEVERFEW (Tancetum parthenium)
BEST FOR: Migraines. Nearly three times as many women as men experience migraines, according to the National Headache Foundation. Feverfew may help relieve the nausea and vomiting associated with these debilitating headaches and/or reduce the need for traditional prophylactic pharmaceuticals, according to Mark Blumenthal, executive director of the American Botanical Council in Austin, Texas. The active agent in feverfew is parthenolide, which may lessen the frequency of headaches in migraine sufferers by reducing inflammation and inhibiting vasoconstriction, according to the NIH; however, more research is needed. HOW TO TAKE IT: Blumenthal recommends 100 to 150 milligrams of dried leaves or 2 1/2 fresh leaves daily (with food or after eating). A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled German study of 170 patients published in the European journal Cephalalgia found that a feverfew extract could help cut the frequency of migraines in half. Blumenthal notes, however, that more research is needed to confirm these findings. It may take four to six weeks to see an effect. SAFETY ISSUES: Blumenthal recommends that pregnant women and anyone taking a blood thinner steer clear of feverfew. If you're allergic to ragweed (a member of the feverfew family), marigolds, or chrysanthemums, it's also wise to stay away. (In the German study, some subjects reported mouth ulcerations as a side effect.) Finally, feverfew may also increase the risk of sun sensitivity caused by prescription medications like Retin A.