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Feverfew

Feverfew is an herb with anti-inflammatory properties used to prevent migraines. It is also claimed to alleviate arthritis, but more research is needed to confirm this effect.

Our evidence-based analysis on feverfew features 73 unique references to scientific papers.

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Summary of Feverfew

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

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.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

The standard adult dose for feverfew supplementation is 100-300 mg of a feverfew supplement containing 0.2%-0.4% parthenolide, taken one to four times a day.

Children younger than two should not be given feverfew. The standard feverfew dose for children is based off of a standard adult weight of 150 lbs. For example, if a child weighs 50lbs, the dose is one-third of the adult dose.

Liquid and tincture feverfew supplements are sometimes used to alleviate arthritis. The suggested dose is 60 – 120 drops of 1:1 (fluid) supplement or a 1:5 (tincture) supplement, taken twice a day.

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Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects feverfew has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-b Strong Very High See all 5 studies
Feverfew appears to be strongly effective in reducing migraines when the population in question are people with high frequency migraines possibly accompanied by auras. Feverfew is not as effective, although still somewhat effective, in persons with less frequent migraines.
grade-c Notable - See study
The reduction in erythema with topical parthenolide-depleted feverfew was greater than that of the active control, Ibuprofen.
grade-c - - See study
No significant effect on C-Reactive Protein
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence detected on immunity
grade-c - - See study
No significant interaction between supplemental Feverfew and osteoarthritic symptoms
grade-c - - See study
Preliminary evidence has failed to find an effect of Feverfew on reducing symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis

Studies Excluded from Consideration

  • Excluded due to being confounded with Magnesium and riboflavin[1]

  • Confounded with Ginger[2]

  • Confounded with salicyclate[3]

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Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Also Known As

Tanacetum parthenium, Wild Chamomile, Featherfew, Chrysanthemum parthenium, Matricaria parthenium, Pyrenthrum parthenium, Leucanthemum parthenium, mutterroot, midsummer daisy, nosebleed, Medieval Aspirin, 18th century Aspirin

Caution Notice

Traditionally advised for pregnant women to not use Feverfew, would be prudent to adhere to this caution

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Click here to see all 73 references.