Feverfew - Very Useful Herb for Migraine Treatment


Tanacetum parthenium Asteraceae/Compositae

A hardy perennial herb,feveifew is native to Anatolia. The plant grows to a height if 60cm and looks like a cross between a daisy and chamomile. Its leaves and flowers exude a strong, quite bitter aroma. PeveifCw was once planted near homes to ward off disease.

Parts used

  • Aerial parts
  • Plants are collected in summer when in full flower.
  • They are dried and stored away from sunlight and damp to prevent decomposition and loss of efficacy.
  • Fresh leaves can be picked and used when required.


The main active constituents are substances called sesquiterpene lactones, which have antiinflammatory and antispasmodic properties. The most important of these is parthenolide.

Medicinal uses

A staple of the herbal medicine chest, feverfew gives effective relief from headaches caused by dilatation or contraction of blood vessels.It is used for migraine, period pain, fever, asthma and other inflammatory disorders.

There has been much research into the plants anti-inflammatory properties, and a compound called parthenolide appears to be its main active ingredient. Scientists in Canada, India and at King's College in the UK have all conducted experiments that demonstrate feverfew's anti-inflammatory effects.

tudies at Nottingham University in 1988 found that the plant was effective in reducing the frequency and the severity of migraine attacks.


  • No serious side effects have been recorded.
  • Can cause stomach upsets in susceptible individuals.
  • Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Do not use if taking the contraceptive pill.
  • To prevent allergic reactions, do not use for more than four months at a time; avoid if allergic to the plant family Compositae (eg chamomile and yarrow).
  • Discontinue use gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms such as joint pain, headaches or insomnia.


For internal use

TO PREVENT AND TREAT headache and migraine CAPSULES (380mg pure leaf) Take 3 capsules a day with food. CAPSULES (100mg leaf extract) Take 1 capsule a day with food.

TO TREAT gastrointestinal complaints and colds INFUSION Allow 1 g of fresh or dried leaves to 1 cup of boiling water, steep for 5 minutes, then strain. Take 1-2 cups daily.

TINCTURE (2:5 in 25% alcohol) Take 20 drops in water twice a day after food.



You can grow the plant on a windowsill, or sow seeds in spring in a well-drained stony soil in a sunny spot. Established plants will come back year after year.


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