Sunday, June 9, 2013

Es Meederle - Feverfew

Meederle - Feverfew
Feverfew (Deitsch: Meederle (MAID-er-LEH); taxonomic: Tanacetum parthenium or Chrysanthemum parthenium) has long been used, as its name suggests, to reduce fevers. It also has a long history of use in inducing menstruation and in expelling the placenta in difficult births. Currently, the plant is most commonly used in the prevention of migraines and as a remedy (typically combined with other herbs) for arthritic and rheumatic pain (Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of herbal medicine, p. 140. New York: Dorling and Kindersley, 2000.).

The aerial parts (all parts above the ground) are the portions of the plant used. Common methods include tinctures, infusions, decoctions, capsules of dried herb, and, occasionally external poultices. See the Aart un Weise page for Deitsch terms.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational and discussion purposes only. Nothing in these posts is intended to constitute, or should be considered, medical advice or to serve as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider. Feverfew may thin the blood, so people on blood thinners should be careful with its use. Also, as the herb is used in inducing menstruation, pregnant women should avoid using this herb. As always, your health is your responsibility. Consult with a doctor before using any herbal remedy or preventative.

According to Deitsch botanist Christopher Sauer (Weaver, William Woys. Sauer's herbal cures, pp. 139-140. New York: Routledge, 2001.), Feverfew "possesses a sharp, volatile salt and volatile sulfurous elements" that he claims can thin tough phlegm and dissolve internal blockages, strengthen stomach lining, stop fainting, and benefit in many other ways, too. 

Wassersucht - Dropsy

Sauer lists out several methods for employing Feverfew. Among them is a remedy for dropsy (edema; Deitsch: Wassersucht). He states that Feverfew should be decocted in wine and a glass of the decoction should be consumed in the morning and evening. Sauer (Weaver 140) also mentions that the salt of Feverfew that is prepared in apothecary shops can treat dropsy if taken in daily in ten-grain doses in a glass of wine.  

Schpeis zum Kollick - Food for Colic

Sauer also also makes a reference to feverfew greens being used in the early spring in food, including pancakes, which make a good meal for men and women plagued by colic or "mother fits."

Colic is known by many names in Deitsch, depending on the severity of the ailment, but in this case, Sauer seems to have been referring to general pains of the stomach (der Maage) and colon (der Grimmdarem).

Muddergichtre, Mudderweh - "Mother Fits"

The "mother fits" reference is part of an Old World mentality that Sauer reflects in another way of utilizing the herb. This refers to hysterics attributed solely to women. According to Wikipeida, this is no longer a medical diagnosis.

However, the historical use of feverfew for the presumed affliction is worth noting. Sauer provided a recipe for an "hysterical water": Six handfuls of Feverfew, three handfuls each of Lemon Balm (Deitsch: Meliesegraut; tax: Melissa officinalis) and Pennyroyal (Deitsch: Ballei; tax: Mentha pulegium), two handfuls each of Holy Thistle (Deitsch: Gaardedistel or Gaarde Benedikt; tax: Cnicus benedictus) and Red Field Poppies (Deitsch: Kannros; tax: Papaver rhoeas), one handful of Fish Mint (another name for Spearmint; Deitsch: Wilderbalsem; tax: Mentha spicata), and one quint each of Cinnamon (Deitsch: Simmet; tax: Cinnamomum verum), Cubeb (Deitsch: Kubeb; tax: Piper cubeba), Anise Seed (Deitsch: Anissaame; tax: Pimpinella anisum), and Fennel Seed (Deitsch: Fennichelsaame; tax: Foeniculum vulgare). Chop it all together and pour one gallon of old white wine over this. Let it infuse for a few days, well stopped. Then distill. A woman who is plagued by mother fits may take several spoonfuls of this hysterical water daily.

The combination is interesting (please keep the Disclaimer in mind!), and at least Sauer's remedy does not involve shooting the hysterical water directly into the vagina (a practice in the 19th Century called "water massaging" that is somewhat related to a douche (Deitsch: Wasserschuss)).

Sinnzerdeeling, Kimmernisaagriff, Schlixergramp, usw

Although female hysterics, per se, is not recognized as a medical disorder any longer, some of the manifestations of hysterics are present in schizophrenia (Sinnzerdeeling), anxiety attacks (Kimmernisaagriff), and conversion disorder (Schlixergramp). Thus, by removing the sexist tone of the "female hysteria" and applying the traditional remedies to anyone, regardless of gender, there seems to be a more relevant practice to the Deitsch today. 

Disclaimer: Mental illnesses and disorders should be treated under the care of a qualified medical professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. This information is for educational and discussion purposes only. Nothing in these posts is intended to constitute, or should be considered, medical advice or to serve as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider.

Koppweh, Haufekoppweh, Eeseidichkoppweh

As mentioned earlier, the premier use of Feverfew currently is in the prevention of migraines. In Deitsch lore, this includes the generic headache (Koppweh), the cluster headache (Haufekoppweh), and the migraine (Eeseidchkoppweh). 

Sauer was, perhaps, ahead of his time by describing the use of Feverfew against headaches. He states (Weaver 140), "If fresh feverfew leaves are pulped and laid upon the crown of the head, and this is repeated several times, this will draw up a fallen uvula ["gefalles Zeppelche"] in the throat and prevent dizziness ["die Schwindlichheit"] and rheums ["der Schnubbe"] of the head, as well as stop headache." This is a reported use for several disorders, including a headache already in progress. Feverfew is used more commonly now as a preventative.

The preventative techniques can be as simple as consuming two or three leaves per day on a piece of bread (Chevallier 140) to consuming a tincture several times per day, per the manufacturers recommendations. The herb must be taken regularly and at the first signs of an attack in order to be effective.

Bug and Insect Repellent

Paul Wieand (Wiend, Paul R., Folk medicine plants used in the penna. dutch country, p. 22. Mechanicsburg, PA: Rosemary House, 1992.) states that the plant is a good stomachic and inducer of sweating in fevers and inhibitor of urine. A handful of the flowers, carried on oneself, will keep bees away. 

Indeed, collective folk wisdom also holds that bees and mosquitoes dislike feverfew (anecdotally supported in my garden, where bees avoid it but ladybugs and many varieties of flies are attracted to it). 

Sauer provides a reference (Weaver 140) to the distilled water of Feverfew killing and expelling worms if a small glass of it is consumed as needed. Additionally, he provides a remedy for an infestation of lice (Leis):

EXTERNAL USE ONLY UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL: Take four handfuls of Feverfew, three handfuls each of Agrimony (Deitsch: Odermennche; tax: Agrimonia eupatoria), Fumitory (Deitsch: Dauwegropp; tax: Fumaria officinalis), and Thyme (Deitsch: Deitscher Tee; tax: Thymus pulegioides), two handfuls each of the leaves of Meadow Saffron (Deitsch: Schwammsaffron  tax: Colchicum autumnale (INTERNALLY TOXIC) and Wormwood (Deitsch: Warmet; tax: Artemisia absinthium), and one handful of Water Betony (Deitsch: Brauwatzel  tax: Scrophularia marylandica). Boil these in water and prepare as a bath. Infected individuals should bathe in this infusion daily and make a fresh preparation every other day.  NOTE: This mixture would be used EXTERNALLY ONLY. CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE APPLYING. Colchicum autumnale is highly toxic when taken internally. 

Gedierarznei - Animal Medicine

Feverfew is also used in Deitsch animal medicine (Weaver 14) by grounding the herb into a powder in the evening and giving it to cattle with a salt lick. This remedy will alleviate panting and bloating in the cattle. 

Braucherei and Blanzeschwetze

In more esoteric Braucherei practices, Feverfew can provide a Venom or Salt elemental energy. Thus, it can be a neutralizer for Air and Time afflictions.

In Blanzeschwetze, the energies of Feverfew may be called upon to weaken sources of pain and to dissolve blocked energies.

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