Feverfew

older man with wet towel on his headThis fact sheet provides basic information about the herb plant or part of a
plant used for its flavor, scent, or potential therapeutic properties. Includes
flowers, leaves, bark, fruit, seeds, stems, and roots. feverfew—common names,
uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Originally a
plant native to the Balkan mountains of Eastern Europe, feverfew—a short bush
with daisy-like flowers—now grows throughout Europe, North America, and South
America.

Common Names—feverfew, bachelor’s buttons, featherfew

Latin Names—Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysanthemum
parthenium

What It Is Used For
– Feverfew has been used for centuries for fevers,
headaches, stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites, infertility, and problems
with menstruation and with labor during childbirth.
– Recently, feverfew has
been used for migraine headaches and rheumatoid arthritis.
– Feverfew has
also been used for psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus (ringing or roaring
sounds in the ears), dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

How It Is Used
– The dried leaves—and sometimes flowers and stems—of
feverfew are used to make supplements, including capsules, tablets, and liquid
extracts.
– The leaves are sometimes eaten fresh.

What the Science Says

– Some research suggests that feverfew may be helpful in preventing migraine
headaches; however, results have been mixed and more evidence is needed from
well-designed studies.
– One study found that feverfew did not reduce
rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in women whose symptoms did not respond to
conventional medicines. It has been suggested that feverfew could help those
with milder symptoms.
– There is not enough evidence available to assess
whether feverfew is beneficial for other uses.
– NCCAM-funded researchers
are studying ways to standardize feverfew; that is, to prepare it in a
consistent manner. Standardized preparations could be used in future studies of
feverfew for migraines.

Side Effects and Cautions

– No serious side effects have been reported for feverfew. Side effects can
include canker sores, swelling and irritation of the   lips and tongue, and loss
of taste.
– Less common side effects can include nausea, digestive problems,
and bloating.
– People who take feverfew for a long time and then stop
taking it may have headaches, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, stiff muscles,
and joint pain.
– Women who are pregnant should not use feverfew because it
may cause the uterus to contract, increasing the risk of miscarriage or
premature delivery.
– People can have allergic reactions to feverfew. Those
who are allergic to other members of the daisy family (which includes ragweed
and chrysanthemums) are more likely to be allergic to feverfew.
– Tell your
health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use.
Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help
ensure coordinated and safe care.

Sources

Awang DVC, Leung AY. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). In: Coates P, Blackman
M, Cragg G, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. New York, NY:
Marcel Dekker; 2005:211–217.
Feverfew. Natural Medicines Comprehensive
Database Web site. Accessed on July 5, 2007.
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium
L. Schultz-Bip.). Natural Standard Database Web site. Accessed on July 3, 2007.

For More Information

What’s in the Bottle? An Introduction to Dietary Supplements
Herbal
Supplements: Consider Safety, Too
NCCAM Clearinghouse

The NCCAM Clearinghouse provides information on CAM and NCCAM, including
publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical
literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment
recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

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NIH Office of Dietary Supplements
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This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain.
Duplication is encouraged.

NCCAM has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to
substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care
provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with
your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is
not an endorsement by NCCAM.

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