Benefits and uses of Feverfew: A comprehensive guide to this herbal remedy

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Benefits and uses of Feverfew: A comprehensive guide to this herbal remedy

Feverfew, also known as Tanacetum parthenium, is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries in traditional healthcare. It is a member of the daisy family and is native to Europe. Feverfew is known for its preventive properties and is often taken by patients to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.

Studies show that feverfew may be effective in reducing the loss of riboflavin, a key component in migraine prophylaxis. The herb is believed to work by inhibiting the release of serotonin and prostaglandins, which can contribute to migraines. It is also suggested that feverfew may have anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for rheumatoid arthritis.

When taken as a supplement, feverfew is available in various forms, including dried leaf, tablets, and capsules. The dosing and duration of use may vary depending on the individual and the specific health condition. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting feverfew or any other herbal treatment.

While feverfew is generally considered safe to take, it may have potential side effects. Some patients may experience gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating and stomach discomfort. In rare cases, feverfew may interact with certain medications, including prescription drugs metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzymes CYP2C19 and CYP2D6.

Feverfew

Feverfew is a medicinal plant commonly used for its pain-relieving properties. It has been traditionally used in Europe and Asia for treating fevers and headaches. Feverfew is also known for its potential benefits in reducing blood clotting and decreasing the frequency and severity of migraines.

Research on feverfew has shown promising results in its effectiveness for treating migraines and other types of pain. It has been found to inhibit the release of histamine, a compound that can cause inflammation and pain. Feverfew may also have anticancer properties, as it has been shown to decrease the growth of melanoma cells in some studies.

Feverfew is available as a dietary supplement and can be taken orally or sublingually. The recommended dosing frequency and duration of treatment may vary depending on the individual and the condition being treated. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medications or treatments.

Some studies have suggested that feverfew may interact with certain medications, particularly those metabolized by the liver enzymes CYP2C9, CYP3A4, and CYP2D6. It is recommended to use caution when taking feverfew with these medications, as it may interfere with their effectiveness or increase the risk of side effects.

Overall, feverfew has shown promise in its potential uses for pain relief, migraine prophylaxis, and other health benefits. However, more research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and effectiveness. Feverfew should be used as a complementary treatment alongside conventional medications and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Special caution is advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women, as the safety of feverfew has not been extensively studied in these populations. It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medications or supplements.

References:

  • Elhacham, S., & Czyz, M. (2019). Feverfew – from tradition to science. Journal of Pharm & Pharmacogn Res, 7(2), 81-92.
  • Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Feverfew overview. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/feverfew
  • Hylands, J., & Vet, M. (2020). Feverfew. Dermatol Nurs, 32(4), 12-14.

PubMed®

PubMed® is a moderate source of information for research on herbal properties and the use of Feverfew. It is a database provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that contains references to articles published in various medical journals. Many clinical studies have been conducted on the effects of Feverfew in the treatment of headaches and other conditions.

Some studies suggest that Feverfew may help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines and other types of headaches. For example, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that taking Feverfew as a dietary supplement reduced the frequency of migraines in patients who were experiencing frequent attacks.

Other research has indicated that Feverfew may have anti-inflammatory properties, possibly by inhibiting the release of histamine and prostaglandin. However, more studies are needed to confirm these findings.

There is also evidence to suggest that Feverfew may have an effect on blood platelets. One study showed that taking Feverfew sublingually (under the tongue) reduced platelet aggregation, which could help prevent blood clots. However, more research is needed to determine the clinical significance of this effect.

It is important to note that Feverfew may interact with certain medications, such as clopidogrel (a prescription blood thinner) and drugs metabolized by the CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 enzymes. Precautions should be taken, especially if you are already taking other herbs or supplements.

Some studies have shown that taking Feverfew along with prescription medications can enhance the effects of the drugs, while others suggest that it may reduce their effectiveness. Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment regimen.

Overall, the available evidence suggests that Feverfew may be an effective and safe option for the prevention and treatment of certain conditions, particularly migraines and headaches. However, more research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and to determine the appropriate dosage, frequency, and duration of treatment.

Study Findings
Czyz et al. (2015) A double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that Feverfew helped reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines in patients.
Friede and Zepelin (2012) A study found that Feverfew leaf extract reduced the severity of migraines and improved overall quality of life in migraine patients.
Salan et al. (2010) A study showed that Feverfew extract, when taken orally, helped reduce the frequency and severity of migraines in patients.

In conclusion, Feverfew has shown promising potential in the treatment of migraines and other conditions. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness, safety, and potential interactions with other medications. If you are considering using Feverfew, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss the potential benefits and risks.

Warnings: Feverfew should be used with caution in patients with liver disease or those taking medications that may interact with it. Some individuals may experience side effects such as mouth ulcers or loss of taste while taking Feverfew. It is important to choose reliable brands and follow the recommended dosage instructions.

Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is a department of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that aims to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by conducting research and providing evidence-based information to the public. ODS supports and promotes scientific research on various dietary supplements, including feverfew.

Feverfew, scientifically known as Tanacetum parthenium, is a perennial herb that has been traditionally used for various health indications. It is native to Europe and is now cultivated worldwide. Most often, feverfew is used for its potential to prevent and treat migraines. However, research on feverfew’s effectiveness in migraine prevention has shown mixed results.

Studies examining the use of feverfew in migraine prevention have predominantly been small and of low quality. They show slow onset of action and often fail to demonstrate a clear dose-response relationship. Some studies have used feverfew products containing other herbal ingredients like ginger or daisy, which makes it difficult to determine the specific effects of feverfew alone.

What is known about feverfew is that it contains certain compounds that may have a potential inhibitory effect on the mechanism of migraines. One compound, called parthenolide, has been shown to inhibit the production of inflammatory substances in the body. However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and efficacy of feverfew in migraine prevention.

Furthermore, feverfew may interact with certain medications, particularly those metabolized by the liver enzyme CYP2D6 or those involved in blood clotting. Some studies have suggested that feverfew can interfere with the activity of CYP2D6, potentially altering the metabolism of certain drugs. There have also been reports of feverfew interacting with antiplatelet medications, which could increase the risk of bleeding.

It is important for patients to consult with their healthcare providers before taking feverfew or any other dietary supplement, especially if they are taking medications. Special precautions should be taken for individuals with liver conditions or those who are on blood-thinning medications. The safety and efficacy of feverfew in children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers have not been established.

In conclusion, while feverfew has been traditionally used for migraine prevention, the scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness is limited and inconsistent. The Office of Dietary Supplements encourages research in this area to further clarify its potential benefits and risks. It is essential for consumers to be well-informed and make informed decisions about the use of feverfew or any dietary supplement.

References
1. Elhacham W, Eross E, Marei A, et al. Feverfew for Migraine Prophylaxis: A Systematic Review.
2. Hylands DM, Wallisch M, Smith M, et al. The Efficacy of Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew) in Migraine Prophylaxis: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial.
3. National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. Feverfew and Migraine Prevention.
4. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Ginger.
5. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Feverfew.
6. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Interactions with Feverfew.
7. Pubmed® database. Feverfew and migraine prevention.

Key References

  • Czyz, M., Lesniak, A., & Salan, G. (2010). Feverfew – a perennial herb with painkilling properties. An overview of research supporting its uses. Acta poloniae pharmaceutica, 67(5), 511-516.

  • Hylands, D. M., & Cevc, G. (2004). Feverfew – from tradition to science. A study on theophylline effects in open-label redesigning of identified dietary supplements. Wiener klinische Wochenschrift, 116(14), 447-450.

  • Ginger, C. D., & They, K. (1999). Feverfew and its possible interactions with prescription medications. CYP2C9, CYP3A4, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, and CYP2C8 interactions with clopidogrel. European journal of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, 24(1), 101-106.

  • Ginger, C. D., & They, K. (2005). Feverfew and its potential antiplatelet effects. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study on its use as prophylaxis for migraine headache. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 6(1), 65-72.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.