FM/CFS/ME RESOURCES - Drug Database - Feverfew


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Drug Database - Feverfew Feverfew

Common Names: feverfew, bachelor's buttons, featherfew

Latin Names: Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysanthemum parthenium

This page provides basic information about the herb feverfew - common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information. Originally a plant native to the Balkan mountains of Eastern Europe, feverfew - a short bush with daisy like flowers now grows throughout Europe, North America, and South America.

  • What Feverfew Is Used For
  • How Feverfew Is Used
  • What the Science Says
  • Side Effects and Cautions
  • Interactions
  • Divider
    What Feverfew Is Used For

    Feverfew has been used for centuries for:

    • fevers
    • headaches
    • stomach aches
    • toothaches
    • insect bites
    • infertility
    • problems with menstruation
    • and with labor during childbirth

    Recently, feverfew has been used for migraine headaches and rheumatoid arthritis. Feverfew has also been used for psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears), dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.

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    How Feverfew Is Used

    The dried leaves - and sometimes flowers and stems - of feverfew are used to make supplements, including capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts. The leaves are sometimes eaten fresh.

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    What the Science Says

    Some research suggests that feverfew may be helpful in preventing migraine headaches; however, results have been mixed and more evidence is needed from well-designed studies.

    One study found that feverfew did not reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in women whose symptoms did not respond to conventional medicines. It has been suggested that feverfew could help those with milder symptoms.

    There is not enough evidence available to assess whether feverfew is beneficial for other uses.

    NCCAM-funded researchers are studying ways to standardize feverfew; that is, to prepare it in a consistent manner. Standardized preparations could be used in future studies of feverfew for migraines.

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    Side Effects and Cautions

    No serious side effects have been reported for feverfew. Side effects can include:

    • canker sores, swelling and irritation of the lips and tongue, and loss of taste

    Less common side effects can include:

    • nausea, digestive problems, and bloating

    People who take feverfew for a long time and then stop taking it may have headaches, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, stiff muscles, and joint pain.

    Women who are pregnant should not use feverfew because it may cause the uterus to contract, increasing the risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.

    People can have allergic reactions to feverfew. Those who are allergic to other members of the daisy family (which includes ragweed and chrysanthemums) are more likely to be allergic to feverfew.

    Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

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    Feverfew may alter the effects of some prescription and non-prescription medications. If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use feverfew without first talking to your health care provider.

    Blood-thinning Medications
    Feverfew may inhibit the activity of platelets (a substance that plays a role in blood clotting), so individuals taking blood-thinning medications (such as aspirin and warfarin) should consult a health care provider before taking this herb.

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