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Feverfew: Wikis


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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Tanacetum
Species: T. parthenium
Binomial name
Tanacetum parthenium
(L.) Sch. Bip.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium; syn. Chrysanthemum parthenium (L.) Pers., Pyrethrum parthenium Sm.) is a traditional medicinal herb which is found in many old gardens, and is also occasionally grown for ornament. The plant grows into a small bush up to around 46 cm (18 in) high, with citrus-scented leaves and is covered by flowers reminiscent of daisies. It spreads rapidly, and they will cover a wide area after a few years. It is also commonly seen in the literature by its synonyms, Chrysanthemum parthenium (L.) Bernh. and Pyrethrum parthenium (L.) Sm.

Feverfew was native to Eurasia; specifically the Balkan Peninsula, Anatolia and the Caucasus, but cultivation has spread it around the world and it is now also found in Europe, the Mediterranean, North America and Chile.[1]



The word "feverfew" derives from the Latin febrifugia, meaning "fever reducer."[2] It has been used for reducing fever, for treating headaches, arthritis and digestive problems.[3] It is hypothesized that by inhibiting the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, both of which are believed to aid the onset of migraines, feverfew limits the inflammation of blood vessels in the head.[4] This would, in theory, stop the blood vessel spasm which is believed to contribute to headaches. Feverfew may also have GABAergic effects. The active ingredients in feverfew include parthenolide and tanetin. Capsules or tablets of feverfew generally contain at least 205 mcg. parthenolide; however, it might take four to six weeks before they become effective, and feverfew is not a remedy for acute migraine attacks. Parthenolide has also been found in 2005 to induce cell death in leukemia cancer stem cells.[5] Feverfew has been used by Aveeno skincare brand to calm red and irritated skin.

Feverfew contains a relatively large amount of melatonin.[1]

Adverse effects include: gastrointestinal distress, mouth ulcers, and antiplatelet actions.

If feverfew is taken for any length of time as a medicinal herb, sudden discontinuation can result in a withdrawal syndrome consisting of headache, irritability, trouble sleeping and joint pain. As with any other medicinal herb, consult with a knowledgeable practitioner before beginning treatment with this herb.

It is contraindicated in pregnancy.[6]

Evidence that it prevents migraine is limited.[7]


A perennial herb, which should be planted in full sun, 38–46 cm (15–18 in) apart and grows up to 61 cm (24 in) tall. It is hardy to USDA zone 5 (−30 °C (−22 °F)) and should be cut back to the ground in the fall. Outside of its native range it can become an invasive weed.


Acacia cuthbertsonii, Cymbopogon ambiguus, Centaurium erythraea, Clematis glycinoides, eucalyptus microtheca/glubulus also work on headaches[citation needed].


  1. ^ Jeffrey C (2001). "Tanacetum parthenium". Mansfeld's World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops.,mf_use,source,taxid,akzname:mf,,volksnam,32354,Tanacetum%20parthenium. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Pittler, MH; Ernst, E (2004). "Feverfew for preventing migraine". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1): CD002286. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002286.pub2. PMID 14973986. 
  4. ^ Feverfew - The Plant Throughout Centuries
  5. ^ Blood. 2005 Jun 1;105(11):4163-9. The sesquiterpene lactone parthenolide induces apoptosis of human acute myelogenous leukemia stem and progenitor cells. Guzman ML, Rossi RM, Karnischky L, Li X, Peterson DR, Howard DS, Jordan CT. PMID:15687234
  6. ^ Yao M, Ritchie HE, Brown-Woodman PD (November 2006). "A reproductive screening test of feverfew: is a full reproductive study warranted?". Reprod. Toxicol. 22 (4): 688–93. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2006.04.014. PMID 16781113. 
  7. ^ Pittler MH, Ernst E (2004). "Feverfew for preventing migraine". Cochrane Database Syst Rev (1): CD002286. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD002286.pub2. PMID 14973986. 

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