Merck Manual

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Laura Shane-McWhorter

, PharmD, University of Utah College of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020
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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.

Medicinal claims

People take feverfew mostly to prevent migraine headaches and to treat inflammation. Evidence from six different studies shows varying results, 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. It has also been used to treat asthma, menstrual pain, and arthritis.

Possible side effects

Mouth ulcers and skin inflammation (dermatitis) may occur. Taste may be altered, and heart rate may be increased. Feverfew is not recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. In pregnant women, feverfew may cause the uterus to contract. In addition, feverfew may cause allergic rashes.

Possible drug interactions

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 particles in the blood that help stop bleeding (platelets) and may reduce the absorption of iron.

More Information

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