Feverfew is an herb that has been used traditionally for fevers, as its name denotes, although this effect lacks quality research.
Feverfew is most commonly taken by mouth to prevent migraine headache. Several human trials have been conducted with mixed results. Overall, these studies suggest that feverfew taken daily as dried leaf capsules may reduce the incidence of headache attacks in people who experience chronic migraines. However, this research has been poorly designed and reported.
There is inconclusive evidence regarding the use of feverfew for treating migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, itching, and skin irritation.
Feverfew appears to be well tolerated with some mild side effects. The most common side effects appears to be mouth ulcers and inflammation due to exposure to feverfew leaves. In theory, there may be an increased risk of bleeding.
6-Hydroxykaempferol, alpha-pinene, altamisa, apigenin, bachelor's button, camomille grande (French), camphene, camphor, Crysanthemum parthenium, (E)-beta-ocimene, (E)-chrysanthenol, (E)-chrysanthenyl acetate, featherfew, featherfoil, febrifuge plant, federfoy, flirtwort, gamma-terpinene, germacranolide sesquiterpene, golden feverfew, Leucanthemum parthenium, limonene, linalool, lipophilic flavonoids, luteolin 7-glucuronides, Matricaria capensis, Matricaria eximia hort., Matricaria parthenium L., michefuscalide, midsummer daisy, MIG-99, Mig-RL, monoterpenes, mother herb, Mutterkraut (German), nosebleed, Parthenium hysterophorus, parthenolide, p-cymene, Pyrenthrum parthenium L., quercetagetin, santa maria, sesquiterpene lactones, sesquiterpenes, Tanacetum parthenium, Tanacetum parthenium L. Sch.-Bip., tanetin, tannins, wild chamomile, wild quinine.
Selected combination products: Few Gs (feverfew, ginkgo, garlic, ginseng, and ginger), Tanacet® (125mg of feverfew leaf powder), GelStat™ Migraine (combination of ginger and feverfew), Lomigran capsules (0.1mg of feverfew sesquiterpene lactones per capsule), Mig-RL®.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Migraine headache prevention
Feverfew is often taken by mouth for the prevention of migraine headaches. Overall, human research suggests that feverfew may reduce the number of headaches in people with frequent migraines. A large, well-designed study comparing feverfew to other migraine treatments is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Limited research shows that feverfew cream reduced itching, but was less effective than steroid cream. Additional higher quality studies are needed before conclusions may be made.
Migraine headache (treatment)
In two clinical trials by the same researcher, a combination product (LipiGesic™ M) that contained feverfew and ginger showed effectiveness in treating migraine headaches. Trials that study feverfew alone in the treatment of migraine headaches are needed before conclusions can be reached.
It is unclear if feverfew is helpful for treating rheumatoid arthritis symptoms such as joint stiffness or pain. Further research is needed.
Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, feverfew may have beneficial effects when used on the skin to prevent irritation. One small study found a beneficial effect of an extract of feverfew for reducing redness caused by an irritating chemical.