Feverfew: Overview

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a relative of the daisy and was named for its ability to reduce fevers (febrifuge) although it has many other benefits.

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The leaves of Feverfew were used medicinally as far back as ancient Egypt.

Function; Why it is Recommended

The leaves contain a number of sesquiterpenoids; parthenolide being the most abundant and best studied.

There have been positive studies using Feverfew leaves as a prophylactic treatment for migraine headaches, reducing both the severity and frequency of migraines.  Parthenolide is thought to work as an anti-inflammatory agent via inhibition of inflammatory prostaglandins, reduction of histamine production and eventually reducing the activity of inflammatory cells.

Feverfew has been helpful in other conditions such as general swelling, arthritis, promoting menstrual flow and as a digestive aid.


Feverfew leaves can be eaten directly or are available in freeze-dried or extracted forms.  Standardized extracts of feverfew are available, containing between 0.1 and 0.5 % parthenolide.

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