Feverfew, also known as medieval aspirin or wild chamomile, is an herb with anti-inflammatory properties.
Feverfew is most often used to prevent migraines. Feverfew’s effect increases in strength for the first 12 weeks of supplementation, at which point it can be taken indefinitely. Feverfew appears to be effective at reducing the severity and frequency of migraines when supplemented in this way. Limited evidence suggests feverfew supplementation may also reduce the length of a migraine and alleviate the increased sensory sensitivity that occurs during a migraine.
Traditionally, feverfew has been used to alleviate arthritis and inflammation. In vitro evidence suggests that feverfew is a very potent anti-inflammatory herb, but limited human evidence suggests supplementation has no effect on rheumatoid arthritis.
The active compound in feverfew is called parthenolide. It is responsible for feverfew’s anti-inflammatory effects, and it may also have a potent anti-cancer mechanism. Since no human studies have investigated feverfew in the context of cancer, more research is needed to confirm this effect.
Feverfew is safe to supplement, but topical application may result in an allergic reaction. If feverfew supplementation results in reddening or scaly skin, cease supplementation. Pregnant women should not supplement feverfew.