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Feverfew

By

Laura Shane-McWhorter

, PharmD, University of Utah College of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jan 2022| Content last modified Jan 2022
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION

What is feverfew?

Feverfew is a bushy perennial herb. The dried leaves are used in capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts. Parthenolides and glycosides are thought to be its active components.

What claims are made about feverfew?

Does feverfew work?

Evidence from 6 different studies shows varying results for feverfew's effectiveness in preventing migraines, but a recent study was larger and did show a small decrease in the number of monthly migraines. Differences in study findings may reflect the different formulations and doses of feverfew used.

In studies of people with arthritis, feverfew did not relieve symptoms. No rigorous scientific studies support other health benefit claims.

What are the possible side effects of feverfew?

Mouth ulcers, skin inflammation (dermatitis), and mild digestive upset may occur in people taking feverfew. Feverfew may cause taste to be altered and an increased heart rate. Feverfew is not recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In pregnant women, feverfew may cause the uterus to contract and result in miscarriage. In addition, feverfew may cause allergic rashes.

Suddenly stopping feverfew supplementation may worsen migraines and cause nervousness and insomnia.

People with allergies to ragweed (hay fever) or other related plants (such as daisies, marigolds, and chrysanthemums) may also have allergic reactions to feverfew.

What drug interactions occur with feverfew?

Feverfew may interact with drugs that prevent blood clots (anticoagulants), drugs used to manage migraine headaches, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It may reduce the normal clotting tendency of platelets (particles in the blood that help stop bleeding) and may reduce the absorption of iron.

Recommendations

Feverfew may possibly decrease monthly migraine frequency, but any effect is probably small.

People with hay fever or certain plant allergies or who take anticoagulants, other drugs used to treat migraines, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should talk to their doctor before taking feverfew. Pregnant women should not take feverfew.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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