Feverfew

Plant Part Used

Leaf

Introduction

Feverfew has gained immense popularity because of its effectiveness in relieving migraine headaches. For proper efficacy in the treatment of migraines, doctors recommend continuous use for at least a month, as feverfew is often slow to work. A standardized extract of this herb is derived from the leaf of the plant.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

100-250mg (standardized extract), 1-3 times a day.

Fresh Leaf: 1 to 3 leaves (25 to 75 mg), 1-2 times daily has been recommended. (1) , (2)

Most Common Dosage

250mg (standardized extract) daily.

Fresh Leaf: 1 leaf (25 mg), 1-2 times daily has been recommended.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 0.2% parthenolide per dose. Canada's Health Protection Branch has supported the use of a proprietary and authenticated Tanacetum parthenium product containing at least 0.2% parthenolide for the prevention of migraines. (3)

Reported Uses

Studies suggest that feverfew inhibits a number of chemical interactions that lead to the development of migraine headaches. (4) , (5) , (6) , (7) , (8) Feverfew may also help prevent the contraction of smooth muscle tissues that cause migraine pain. (9) A review of the medical literature supporting the use of feverfew in migraine prevention has been performed. (10) The authors report that the effectiveness of feverfew in the prevention of migraine has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt and more research needs to be performed.

Other studies have looked at feverfew’s potential ability to inhibit the natural responses that trigger pain and inflammation. (11) , (12) This could make feverfew a possible alternative to anti-inflammatory medications.

Traditional applications for feverfew that have not been scientifically studied include use as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, a muscle relaxant, an anti-blood clotting agent, and a fever reducer. A preparation made from the flowers of the plant have also been used to rid the body of parasites.

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. (13)

Chewing the leaves of the whole plant may cause canker sores.

If used to treat migraines, abrupt discontinuation of this dietary supplement may trigger a migraine headache. (14)

If you are planning to have any type of surgery or dental work, stop using this dietary supplement for at least 14 days prior to the procedure. (15) If you are a migraine headache sufferer, do not abruptly discontinue use of this dietary supplement.

Allergy

Some individuals experience an allergic reaction when taking this dietary supplement. Do not use this dietary supplement if you are allergic to pyrethrums. Use with caution if you have a severe ragweed allergy or allergy to members of the daisy and chrysanthemum family. (16) Call your doctor or seek medical attention if you have fast or irregular breathing, skin rash, hives or itching.

Health Conditions

If you have a bleeding disorder talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement. (17)

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

This dietary supplement should not be used in pregnant women. (18)

This dietary supplement should not be used if you are breast-feeding an infant without first consulting a physician.

Age Limitations

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects specifically related to the use of this dietary supplement in children. Since young children may have undiagnosed allergies or medical conditions, this dietary supplement should not be used in children under 10 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

References

  1. View Abstract: Johnson ES, et al. Efficacy of Feverfew as Prophylactic Treatment of Migraine. British Medical Journal. 1985;291:569-73.
  2. View Abstract: O’Hara M, Kiefer D, Farrell K, Kemper K. A review of 12 commonly used medicinal herbs. Arch Fam Med. Sep1998;7(6):523-536.
  3. Drug Identification Number Notification. Drugs Directorate, Therapeutic Products Division, Health Protection Branch, Health Canada. Ottawa, Canada.
  4. View Abstract: Hayes NA, et al. The Activity of Compounds Extracted from Feverfew on Histamine Release from Rat Mast Cells. J Pharm Pharmacol. Jun1987;39(6):466-70.
  5. View Abstract: 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 Pharmacol. 1990;42(8):553-57.
  6. View Abstract: Capasso F. The Effect of An Aqueous Extract of Tanacetum parthenium L. on Arachidonic Acid Metabolism by Rat Peritoneal Leucocytes. J Pharm Pharmacol. Jan1986;38(1):71-72.
  7. View Abstract: Bejar E. Parthenolide Inhibits the Contractile Responses of Rat Stomach Fundus to Fenfluramine and Dextroamphetamine but not Serotonin. J Ethnopharmacol. Jan1996;50(1):1-12.
  8. View Abstract: Prusinski A, Durko A, Niczyporuk-Turek A. [Feverfew as a Prophylactic Treatment of Migraine]. Neurol Neurochir Pol. 1999;33(Suppl 5):89-95.
  9. View Abstract: Barsby RW, et al. Feverfew Extracts and Parthenolide Irreversibly Inhibit Vascular Responses of the Rabbit Aorta. J Pharm Pharmacol. Sep1992;44(9):737-40.
  10. View Abstract: Pittler MH, Vogler BK, Ernst E. Feverfew for Preventing Migraine (Cochrane Review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000;(3):CD002286.
  11. View Abstract: Pattrick M, et al. Feverfew in Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Double-blind, Placebo Controlled Study. Ann Rheum Dis. 1989;48:547-49.
  12. View Abstract: Makheja AM, et al. A Platelet Phospholipase Inhibitor from the Medicinal Herb Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). Prostaglandin Leukotri Med. 1982;8:653-60.
  13. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:119-21.
  14. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:307.
  15. Pribitkin ED. Herbal therapy: what every facial plastic surgeon must know. Arch Facial Plast Surg. Apr2001;3(2):127-32.
  16. Schmidt RJ. Plant dermatitis. Compasitae. Clin Dermatol. Apr1986;4(2):46-61.
  17. View Abstract: Heck AM, et al. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. Jul2000;57(13): 1221-7.
  18. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:119-21.