The Medicinal Benefits and Uses of the Feverfew Plant: A Comprehensive Guide


The Feverfew plant, also known as Tanacetum parthenium, is a high-growing herb that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is native to the Balkan region but can now be found growing in many parts of the world. The plant has thin, alternate leaves and produces small daisy-like flowerheads with bright yellow petals. The leaves and flowerheads of the Feverfew plant are commonly used for their medicinal properties.

The effectiveness of Feverfew in treating various ailments, including migraines, has been supported by clinical studies. It is believed that the plant’s active compounds, such as parthenolide, may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines. Some studies also suggest that Feverfew may have anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins.

Feverfew is easy to grow and can thrive in various soil types, including loamy and drought-tolerant soils. It can be planted in containers or directly in the garden. The plant requires regular maintenance, including pruning to promote bushier growth and deadheading to encourage continuous blooming. Interest in growing Feverfew has increased due to its potential medicinal uses.

When using Feverfew, it is important to take precautions, especially when taking other medications. Feverfew may interact with certain drugs, such as blood thinners and those metabolized by the CYP1A2, CYP2C19, and CYP2D6 enzymes. It is recommended to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new herbal regimen.

In summary, the Feverfew plant is an herb with medicinal properties that has been used for centuries. Its effectiveness in treating migraines and other conditions is supported by clinical studies. Despite its safety and ease of growing, precautions should be taken when using Feverfew, especially if taking medications or having certain medical conditions.

FEVERFEW – Uses Side Effects and More

Feverfew is a medicinal plant that has been used for centuries in traditional healthcare practices. It is native to Europe, but it is now grown in other parts of the world, including Asia. The plant is known for its daisy-like flowers with white petals and yellow centers, which attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

The active compound in feverfew is believed to be parthenolide, which has shown potential in clinical research as an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving agent. Some studies suggest that feverfew may be effective in preventing migraines and reducing their severity and frequency. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential therapeutic effects of feverfew.

Traditionally, feverfew has been taken in various forms, including as fresh or dried whole leaves, tea, tincture, or capsules. Some people also use feverfew oil, which is applied topically for its supposed anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. It can be used alone or in combination with other herbs, such as chamomile.

Feverfew is thought to interact with certain drugs, including cytochrome P450 enzymes, specifically CYP1A2 and CYP3A4. This interaction may affect the metabolism of drugs in the body, potentially changing their effectiveness or causing side effects. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before using feverfew or any other herbal supplement, especially if you are taking medications.

Although feverfew is generally considered safe for most people when used in recommended doses, it can cause side effects, including mouth ulcers, indigestion, and skin reactions. Some individuals may also experience an allergic reaction to feverfew. If you experience any adverse effects, discontinue use and seek medical attention.

Feverfew is a hardy plant that can be easily grown in a garden. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil and can tolerate drought conditions. Feverfew plants are known for their fragrant foliage and self-seeding habit. However, it is important to note that feverfew should be planted with caution, as it can become invasive in some regions.

In conclusion, feverfew is an herb that has been used for centuries in healthcare practices. While it is possibly effective for certain indications, more research is needed to support its use. When used appropriately and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, feverfew may provide potential benefits. However, caution should be exercised, especially when considering its potential interaction with medications and its possible blood-thinning effects.

Uses Side Effects More
Preventing migraines Mouth ulcers Cautions when using with medications
Reducing migraine severity and frequency Indigestion Consult healthcare professional before use
Anti-inflammatory properties Skin reactions Avoid if allergic to feverfew
Pain-relieving effects Plant with caution


  1. Cady RK, Goldstein J, Nett R, et al. A double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study of sublingual feverfew and ginger (LI-150) in the treatment of migraine. Headache. 2011;51(7):1078-1086.
  2. Czyz M, Elhacham H, Beit-Yannai E. Parthenolide-depleted Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) Extracts and Selenium have Different Effects on the Growth of Tumor Cell Lines. Anticancer Res. 2020;40(8):4685-4692.
  3. Dermatol. Acta Derm Venereol. 2021;101(1):adv00429. Published 2021 Feb 10. doi:10.2340/00015555-3717.

Uses Effectiveness

Feverfew plant is widely known for its medicinal uses and its rapid effectiveness. The herb’s flowerheads, stems, and foliage are all used in various treatments. One of the main uses of feverfew is for preventing and treating headaches. Many studies have shown that feverfew can reduce the length and severity of headaches, including migraines.

Studies have also found that feverfew can be effective for other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. The plant contains active compounds, including parthenolide, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Parthenolide inhibits the release of chemicals that cause inflammation in the body, making it an effective treatment for arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

Feverfew interacts with various enzymes in the body, including CYP2D6 and CYP2C19, which are involved in the metabolism of drugs. This interaction can affect the effectiveness and safety of prescription medicines that are metabolized by these enzymes.

In addition to its medicinal uses, feverfew is also a popular plant for gardeners due to its low maintenance requirements and its attractive flowerheads. The plant, which is native to the region, can tolerate drought conditions and is resistant to many pests. The flowers of the feverfew are often planted to attract bees and hummingbirds to the garden.

Overall, feverfew plant has a wide range of uses and is known for its effectiveness in treating various conditions. However, it is important to note that the plant may interact with certain medications and should be taken with caution. As with any herbal medicine, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using feverfew or any other herbal remedies.

Possibly Effective for

The Feverfew Plant has been found to be possibly effective for the following conditions:

  • Preventing Migraines: Some studies suggest that feverfew may help prevent migraines and reduce their severity. The active compounds in feverfew may inhibit the release of chemicals in the brain that cause migraines.
  • Reducing Inflammation: Feverfew contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Treating Arthritis: The anti-inflammatory compounds in feverfew may also be beneficial in treating arthritis by reducing pain and swelling in the joints.
  • Lowering Blood Pressure: Some research suggests that feverfew may have a mild hypotensive effect, which could help lower blood pressure levels.
  • Alleviating Menstrual Symptoms: Feverfew may help to reduce symptoms of menstrual cramps, bloating, and discomfort.
  • Supporting Digestive Health: The compounds in feverfew may help to support healthy digestion and alleviate digestive issues such as bloating and indigestion.
  • Improving Skin Health: Feverfew has been used topically to help improve the appearance of the skin and reduce inflammation associated with conditions like eczema and acne.

It is important to note that while feverfew may be effective for these conditions, more research is needed and individual results may vary. As always, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new herbal regimen or taking feverfew in any form.

Side Effects

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a perennial plant that primarily grows in Europe and is widely used in herbal medicine for its potential health benefits. However, it is important to note that Feverfew can have some side effects when used in various forms.

One of the most significant side effects of feverfew is its potential to interact with medications. Feverfew contains compounds like parthenolide, which can interact with certain enzymes in the liver, most notably CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP3A4. These enzymes are responsible for metabolizing many medications, and their interaction with feverfew can alter the effectiveness and safety of these medications.

Interactions between feverfew and medications can slow down the metabolism of drugs that are substrates of CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP3A4. This can lead to increased blood levels of these medications, potentially causing side effects or altering their therapeutic effects. Some medications that may be affected by these interactions include blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, and certain antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Other side effects of feverfew can include headaches, digestive issues, mouth ulcers, and skin irritation. These side effects are usually mild to moderate and may subside over time. Taking feverfew in lower doses or with chamomile, which can help mitigate these side effects, may be helpful for some individuals.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of feverfew for different uses is still being researched and is not yet fully evidence-based. Some studies have shown promise in using feverfew for certain conditions, such as migraines, but more research is needed to establish its effectiveness and proper dosing.

When using feverfew, it is important to take precautions and follow the instructions provided. If you are considering using feverfew and are currently taking any medications, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to assess potential interactions and determine the appropriate dosing for your specific needs.

In summary, feverfew has potential health benefits but can also have side effects and interact with certain medications. It is necessary to approach its use with caution and seek professional advice when needed to ensure safety and effectiveness.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.