The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Medicinal Herb Monographs


Botanical Name 
Tanacetum parthenium


Tanacetum parthenium

The information on this page compiled by
Beth Burch N.D.
(click on the keywords)


Feverfew has a history of use for fever, migraines, arthritis, earache, dysmenorrhea and gastrointestinal upset. It has been studied as an effective preventative for migraines, reducing their frequency and severity.

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  • Feverfew is a member of the Compositae family and is cultivated throughout Europe and the US. A strongly aromatic perennial, it has small, daisy-like flowers with yellow centers and white rays. The medicinal part is the leaf.

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  • Sesquiterpene lactones including parthenolide
  • Polyynes
  • Flavonoids
  • Volatile oils including camphor, borneol and others

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  • Anti-inflammatory- decreases production of inflammatory compounds and release of inflammatory particles by platelets and white blood cells (1,2)
  • Anticoagulant- Inhibits platelet aggregation (3)

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Conditions used for

  • Migraine (4,5)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

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  • Dried extract standardized to parthenolide
  • Freeze-dried 125 mg three times a day
  • Alcohol extract (1:5 dry) 1/4-1/2 tsp three times a day
  • Tea 1-2 grams of dry herb steeped in 1 cup boiling water three times a day
  • May take up to six weeks before maximum benefit

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Side Effects

  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Nervousness

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  • Allergy to feverfew or related Compositae (6)

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Interactions with medications

  • Do not take with anticoagulant medications including warfarin, aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs. (7)

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Use in pregnancy & lactation

  • Contraindicated in pregnancy-can cause uterine contractions leading to miscarriage and premature labor
  • Not recommended during lactation

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1. Williams CA et al, The flavonoids of Tanacetum parthenium and T. vulgare and their anti-inflammatory properties, Phytochemistry 1999;51(3):417-23

2. Williams CA et al, A biologically active lipophilic flavonol from Tanacetum parthenium, Phytochemistry 1995; 38(1):267-70

3. Platelet aggregation inhibition. Groenewegen WA et al, A comparison of the effects of an extract of feverfew and parthenolide, a component of feverfew, on human platelet activity in-vitro, J Pharm Phamacol 1990;42(8):553-7

4. Murphy JJ et al, Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of feverfew in migraine prevention, Lancet 1988;2(8604):189-92

5. Johnson ES et al, Efficacy of feverfew as prophylactic treatment of migraine, Br Med J 1985;291(6495):569-73

6. Composite allergy. Goulden V et al, Patch testing for Compositae allergy, Br J Dermatol 1998;138(6):1018-21

7. Miller LG, Herbal medicinals: selected clinical considerations focusing on known or potential drug-herb interactions, Arch Intern Med 1998;158(20): 2200-11

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* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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