Feverfew is a plant some believe to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. However, research on the value of feverfew for migraine is mixed.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a plant belonging to the daisy and sunflower family. People have used feverfew as a medicinal plant for hundreds of years to treat fevers and inflammatory conditions.

Some people use feverfew to prevent migraine episodes and alleviate accompanying symptoms. Migraine is a potentially debilitating condition causing moderate-to-severe headaches, nausea, and light and sound sensitivity.

Some research supports feverfew’s value for migraine, but not all evidence agrees.

This article provides an overview of feverfew for migraine and how a person can use it to manage symptoms.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Around 12% of the population live with migraine, and it affects up to 17% of females and 6% of males annually.

Treatment for migraine aims to relieve symptoms and prevent further episodes.

Management steps may involve using cool packs on the forehead, drinking lots of fluid, and taking small amounts of caffeine. Healthcare professionals may also recommend various medications to stop a current episode or prevent future ones.

Although people may find these options effective, some individuals turn to natural remedies such as feverfew for relief. However, there is a lack of high quality research on humans supporting its use.

A 2015 review encompassed 6 clinical trials involving a total of 561 participants. Four of the studies yielded favorable results, indicating that feverfew contributed to a reduction in both the frequency and severity of migraine episodes.

However, the effects were only slightly more effective than placebo. The remaining two studies within the review did not detect a significant impact.

More research is required to determine how effective feverfew is against migraine.

Learn more about migraine.

Some people may find that feverfew reduces the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. These actions may make migraine more manageable and allow people to recover more quickly.

However, there is little or no evidence about the value of feverfew for any other health conditions.

Learn more about feverfew.

Most people can use feverfew safely, and no one has reported serious side effects from its use. However, people may experience minor issues such as:

If a person chews the fresh leaves, they could also develop mouth ulcers. Feverfew can also cause skin irritation if applied to the skin.

People with sensitivities to ragweed and related plants could have an allergic reaction to feverfew, so they should avoid its use.

Pregnant individuals should also avoid feverfew as it may affect uterine contractions. Experts do not know if it is safe for use while nursing.

There is no official recommended dose or guidelines for feverfew in migraine. In clinical trials, researchers have used various doses of up to 143 milligrams (mg) each, while commercially available capsules may contain as much as 1500 (mg).

Here are some considerations:

  • Form: Feverfew is available in various forms, including capsules, tablets, and as a dried herb for tea.
  • Dosage: Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized dosage recommendations, as they can vary depending on the form and individual factors.
  • Consistency: A person may need to take feverfew daily to prevent migraine, so consistency is key. It could take many weeks to see any results.

Feverfew is just one of many natural remedies for migraine. Other alternatives to consider include:

  • Magnesium: Adequate magnesium intake may reduce the frequency of migraine in some individuals.
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): Some studies suggest that high doses of riboflavin may help prevent migraine.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): CoQ10 is an antioxidant that may reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine.
  • Vitamin D: People with vitamin D deficiency may have more migraine attacks. Therefore, boosting levels by spending time in the sun and increasing dairy and egg consumption may help.
  • Acupuncture: Traditional Chinese medicine practices such as acupuncture could help alleviate migraine symptoms.

Before incorporating feverfew or any alternative remedy into a migraine management plan, a person should consult a healthcare professional. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Is feverfew a suitable option for my specific migraine condition?
  • What is the recommended dosage and form of feverfew for me?
  • Are there any potential interactions between feverfew and my current medications?
  • How long should I use feverfew before assessing its effectiveness?
  • What are the signs of adverse reactions to feverfew, and when should I seek medical attention?

Headache and migraine resources

To discover more evidence-based information and resources for headaches and migraine, visit our dedicated hub.

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Migraine is challenging to manage, and while feverfew shows promise as a natural remedy, it may not work for everyone.

It is generally considered safe, allowing most individuals to explore its potential benefits without serious risk. However, pregnant individuals and those with known ragweed allergies should avoid its use.

It is essential to weigh the potential benefits against the risks and consult with a healthcare professional to create a tailored migraine management plan that best suits a person’s needs.