Newest Review: ... are the Lifeplan brand and she'd got him a bottle of 90 for £6.99. Not for my mother a bottle of 30 so he could try them first. Oh no, ... more
Not tonight dear I've got a...headache?
Member Name: redhead78
Advantages: Help prevent headaches, not too expensive, natural preventative medicine, attractive plant
Disadvantages: Quite big capsules, could be a placebo affect
So when my mum read about feverfew in one of her women's magazines (barely a week passes when she doesn't share some pearl of wisdom gleaned from these fountains of knowledge!) she was straight on the phone and telling me all about it. According to this magazine (probably Woman's Own, but don't quote me on that) it was great for preventing headaches and had been used for centuries as a pain reliever. Ever sceptical (and weary) of the origins of her wisdom I thanked her, told her I'd look into it and promptly forgot all about it. This time, however, she thwarted me and on her next visit turned up with a bottle of feverfew capsules for my husband to try.
The one's she'd found in her local health food shop are the Lifeplan brand and she'd got him a bottle of 90 for £6.99. Not for my mother a bottle of 30 so he could try them first. Oh no, she was so convinced that the health experts of a woman's magazine knew what they were talking about that she got him a 3 month supply!
So what actually is feverfew? To be honest, I'd never heard of it until this point. I'm quite a keen gardener and grow several of my own herbs, but I'd never come across this one. A quick trip to Wiki informs us that it's grown for medicinal as well as ornamental purposes and grows to be a small bush with citrussy fragrant leaves. Interestingly it actually acquired it's name from the Latin for fever reducer, so it's name alone would leave you be believe that there is something to my mum's belief. It's actually part of the sunflower family and grows lovely little daisy-esque yellow and white flowers. It goes on to tell us that it is used as a herbal treatment for headaches, arthritis and digestive problems but that scientific research puts this down to a placebo affect rather than an actual one. As with all supplements/medications feverfew is unsuitable for some people to take and if in doubt you should consult your doctor first.
The capsules that my mum purchased came in a dark brown translucent bottle with a white screw top lid, which is easy enough to unscrew so should be kept away from little one's hands. There's no child-proof lid on these, which could be an issue for some, but not for us with no children around. The info on the bottle tells us that each capsule contains 250mg and is additive free...always a relief in a herbal supplement!! There is other brief information on the back of the bottle about the history and use of feverfew (interestingly it's meant to be an anti-inflammatory aswell as helping with PMT and period pain...hubby can't comment on the last assertions though!). There is more reassurance about it's purity, stating that the capsules contain only dried powdered leaf from the feverfew plant in a hard capsule shell which can either be swallowed or split into a glass of hot water.
When you open the bottle you're hit by a quite strong herbal, green smell. It's hard to describe. it's not exactly fresh cut grass but could well be mistaken for dried cut grass, if you know what I mean! I personally don't like it, but it doesn't put my husband off them, although he's never braved the hot drink option, always opting just to swallow a pill quickly with water. He reports that they do have a slight herbal taste but it's not too bad and doesn't linger once the capsule has been swallowed. The pills themselves are quite big (in my non-pill-swallowing-opinion!), well over a centimetre long and about half a centimetre wide. Urgh!
For the first few days he took them my husband still got a couple of headaches but they weren't as bad as normal and he didn't feel the need to take any painkillers. After that, though, the feverfew seemed to really take effect and his headaches drastically reduced in both number, frequency and intensity. In the past he used to get through at least one pack of 16 Ibuprofen tablets a week, if not more, but since he started taking the feverfew we only buy them once every couple of months, which is a great relief for me that he's not filling his body with strong chemicals anymore. I know taking anything can have side affects and that it's preferable not to take anything at all, but given a choice between something purely natural and something filled with goodness only knows what chemicals, the natural choice will always win for me.
Since he first started taking one capsule a day about 3 years ago my husband suffers much less from headaches and will continue to take feverfew as a prevention rather than a cure (not that he has a choice as he now gets a bottle in his birthday bag and as a stocking filler at Christmas too!). Whether this herbal remedy actually does prevent his headaches or whether it's a placebo affect is, obviously, impossible to tell. But as long as it does prevent them neither of us really cares!
I briefly considered the possibility of growing feverfew myself and using it in cooking/for hot drinks rather than spending money on the capsules but a) planting space is limited in our garden and it's quite a wildl spreading plant, b) my husband really doesn't like the idea of making a drink out of it and c) it's usually my mums money that buys them anyway! If, however, you're into gardening and have a herb garden or are interested in the medicinal properties of herbs then you should definitely consider growing one of the plants (although I'd recommend planting it in a pot then sinking the pot into the ground if you don't want it to take over your herb bed!) as the flowers make it attractive as well as useful.
So it's time for me to eat my words, apologise to my mum and thank her profusely! Because, whether it's a real affect or a placebo one, her feverfew pills really do seem to have made a difference to my husband's headaches and he very very rarely gets one anymore. And at £6.99 for a three months supply they're not too expensive either, on the odd occasions we end up buying them ourselved. So thanks mum!!
(I'm only knocking one star off because, were I to suffer from frequent headaches, there's no way I could ever swallow pills that big!
Summary: Big, herbal smelling capsules that seem to really work in preventing headaches from taking hold
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