Feverfew for the Pain in Your Head

Apr 14, 20230 comments

Traditionally feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) has been used for supporting digestive health, dealing with head pain, asthma, muscle cramping, psoriasis, and treating the common cold. Nowadays, feverfew is often most well-known for its ability to help support migraines. Native to Asia, this plant now grows throughout the world. Feverfew is an aromatic plant and is often confused with chamomile as both plants have small white flowers with yellow centers. It should be noted that feverfew has more feather-like leaves than chamomile and is often the best way to tell the two apart.

Sesquiterpene lactones are compounds found in feverfew, and these are what researchers believe contribute to feverfew’s actions in the body. Feverfew is a potent anti-inflammatory herb, and it also helps relax smooth muscles; this effect can help with abdominal cramping and support better blood flow. It may also have a mild relaxing effect, and it appears to be useful as an insecticide. Feverfew is generally used for fevers and arthritis in addition to headaches.

The plant can be taken as a supplement, or you can easily grow it in your garden. If you have access to the plant itself, a traditional dose of eating 2-3 leaves, dried or fresh, daily can be used. It is also available in capsules. Research shows 100-300 mg of a feverfew supplement containing 0.2-0.4% parthenolide between 1-4 times daily may be helpful for migraines. Feverfew is also available as a tea or tincture. Use this with caution if you have allergies or use blood-thinning medications. Do not use feverfew if you are pregnant.

Pareek, Anil et al. 2011. “Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A Systematic Review.” Pharmacognosy Reviews; 5(9): 103-10. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.79105

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. N.D. “Feverfew.”Retrieved May 23, 2023. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/feverfew

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