The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Medicinal Herb Monographs

Feverfew

Botanical Name 
Tanacetum parthenium

Feverfew

Tanacetum parthenium
(Feverfew)

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

Introduction

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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Description

  • 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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Constituents

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

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Action/Effects

  • 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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Dosage

  • 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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Contraindications

  • 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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References

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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