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feverfew flowers

© 2018 Steven Foster

A feverfew monograph for the home

Latin Name: Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysanthemum parthenium, Matricaria parthenium

Common Names: feverfew, bachelor’s buttons, featherfew

This feverfew monograph provides basic information about feverfew—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.


Feverfew Basics

  • Feverfew grows naturally throughout Europe and North and South America.
  • Historically, people have used feverfew for fevers, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty in labor, and dizziness.
  • Today, people use feverfew as a dietary supplement for migraine headache prevention, problems with menstruation, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears), dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and for intestinal parasites. Topically, people use it as a skin cleanser to reduce or prevent skin infections and for toothaches.
  • The dried leaves—and sometimes flowers and stems—of feverfew are made into capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts, and teas.

Feverfew in Health Research

  • Only a few studies have looked into feverfew’s use for migraine headache. There’s little or no evidence about feverfew for any other health conditions.

Feverfew Research Summary

  • Some research suggests that feverfew may help to prevent migraine headaches, but results have been mixed. However, evidence-based guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society suggest that a feverfew extract may be effective and should be considered for migraine prevention.
  • There’s not enough evidence to know if feverfew helps other conditions.

Feverfew Safety

  • No serious side effects have been reported from feverfew. Side effects can include nausea, digestive problems, and bloating; if the fresh leaves are chewed, sores and irritation of the mouth may occur.
  • People who take feverfew for a long time and then stop taking it may have difficulty sleeping, headaches, anxiety, and stiff and painful muscles.
  • Do not take feverfew while pregnant because it may affect uterine contractions.
  • Handling the plant may cause skin irritation.

Feverfew References


PubMed Articles About Tanacetum parthenium

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; [1988] – [cited 2018 Apr 5]. Available from:

Volta, GD., Zavarise, P., Perego, L., Savi, L., Pezzini, A., (2020) Comparison of the Effect of Tanacethum Parthenium, 5-Hydroxy Tryptophan, and Magnesium (Aurastop) versus Magnesium Alone on Aura Phenomenon and Its Evolution.

None of the clinical trials on migraine conducted thus far have focused on the possibility to modulate the phenomenon of aura. Furthermore, whether proper management of aura results in a better control of the headache phase has been poorly investigated. In the setting of a single-center, pilot, clinical trial, we aimed at comparing the effects of Aurastop (a combination of tanacetum parthenium (150 mg extracted at 0.8% = 1.2 mg di of active parthenolide), griffonia simplicifoila (20 mg of 5-hydroxy tryptophan), and magnesium (185 mg of magnesium pidolatum)) with those of magnesium alone (2.25 grams/tablet, corresponding to 184 mg of Mg++) in the treatment of acute attacks of migraine with aura. Between June 2017 and June 2018, 50 consecutive patients (27/23 male/female; mean age, 31 [18-57] years) with at least 3 episodes of aura per year were included (). Participants were instructed to keep track of the following 4 episodes of migraine with aura () and invited to assume (1) a tablet of Aurastop at the beginning of the following 2 episodes of aura and (2) a magnesium tablet alone at the occurrence of the third and fourth aura attacks. Forty-eight patients (96.0%) had >50% reduction in aura duration when treated with Aurastop vs. 7 patients (14.0%) when treated with magnesium alone ( < 0.001); 48 patients (96.0%) had >50% reduction of aura-related disability when receiving Aurastop vs. 5 patients (10.0%) when treated with magnesium alone ( < 0.001); however, patients receiving Aurastop did not need to take pain killers in 35% of aura attacks vs. 3% when assuming magnesium ( < 0.001). These results support the hypothesis that Aurastop might be effective in interfering with the phenomenon of aura and provide evidence that the clinical benefit attributable to this combination of molecules might be greater than that obtained with single compounds of proven effect on the biology of migraine.

Lopresti, AL., Smith, SJ., Drummond, PD., (2020) Herbal treatments for migraine: A systematic review of randomised-controlled studies.

Herbal treatments are often used as a treatment for migraine. Therefore, an evaluation of their safety and efficacy is important. Based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, and Cochrane Collaboration's tool for assessing the risk of bias, a systematic literature review of randomised, controlled human trials assessing the effects of herbal treatments delivered as a single ingredient for the acute or prophylactic treatment of migraine were conducted. Studies were identified through electronic database searches on Medline (Pubmed), Cochrane Library, Scopus, and CINAHL. Nineteen studies were identified examining the effects on migraine of feverfew, butterbur, curcumin, menthol/peppermint oil, coriander, citron, Damask rose, chamomile, and lavender. Overall, findings on the efficacy of feverfew were mixed and there was positive, albeit limited evidence for butterbur. There were positive, preliminary findings on curcumin, citron, and coriander as a prophylactic treatment for migraine, and the use of menthol and chamomile as an acute treatment. However, the risk of bias was high for many studies. The results of this systematic review suggest that several herbal medicines, via their multifactorial physiological influences, present as potential options to enhance the treatment of migraine. However, further high-quality research is essential to examine their efficacy and safety as a treatment for migraine.