Traditional medicine uses feverfew to treat conditions such as headaches and fever. More research is necessary to investigate possible pharmacological uses, including relief from migraine symptoms.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a plant that belongs to the daisy and sunflower family, Asteraceae.

Feverfew contains various compounds, such as parthenolide, that may help treat or prevent some inflammatory medical conditions. However, there is a lack of clinical evidence to support the pharmacological use of feverfew.

This article looks at the pharmacological uses of feverfew, how to use it, possible side effects, and drug interactions. It also answers some frequently asked questions.

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Feverfew is a plant that grows worldwide but is native to the Balkans and parts of western Asia. The plant’s flowers appear similar to daisies, with white petals and yellow centers.

Feverfew may have various beneficial properties. These include compounds that are:

Scientists attribute most of the potential benefits of feverfew to a compound called parthenolide. Research has found parthenolide to have possible anti-inflammatory and antitumor effects.

The compound may inhibit the release of substances in the body that trigger inflammation, and in vitro laboratory tests have found that it may inhibit the growth and spread of certain cancers.

There is insufficient clinical evidence to support using feverfew as a pharmacological treatment. Further research and human studies are necessary to determine if the plant is safe and effective at treating medical conditions.

Traditional medicine uses feverfew to relieve pain, inflammation, and fever.

Some people refer to the plant as medieval aspirin, and believe it to be helpful as a treatment for several conditions, including:

Feverfew may have several pharmacological benefits, especially due to the potential anti-inflammatory properties of parthenolide.

Although more research is necessary, feverfew may be beneficial in the treatment of various conditions, including:


A 2019 study suggests that feverfew may help reduce the frequency and intensity of tension headaches and may be useful as a treatment for migraine.

The study assessed the effects of a preparation that included feverfew on 91 children and adolescents with migraine or tension-type headaches. Although the study’s results indicated that feverfew might be an effective headache and migraine treatment, the study had several limitations.

An older 2015 review of studies did not find convincing evidence of feverfew as an effective migraine treatment. The review highlights that the most rigorous studies in the review did not find significant differences between feverfew and the placebo.

Studies on the efficacy of feverfew as a migraine treatment provide mixed results, and more human studies are necessary.

Anxiety and depression

A 2017 animal study found that feverfew had antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects on mice.

The researchers believed the effects were due to how feverfew interacted with the GABAergic system. This system is a network of brain neurons that inhibit nerve transmission and slow the brain to reduce anxiety.

More research is necessary in this area.


Current research on feverfew as a treatment for various types of cancer is laboratory-based. Human and animal studies are necessary to determine how feverfew may interact with cancer cells in living beings. No reliable clinical evidence suggests that feverfew is an effective cancer treatment.

Current studies suggest that compounds in feverfew may be beneficial against cancer cells and may inhibit the proliferation of certain cells.

Feverfew extracts are available as capsules, tinctures, teas, and other preparations. However, as scientists need to fully understand the mechanisms of the action for the plant, and due to a lack of regulation for natural supplements, feverfew supplements may not be effective or safe.

Doctors and researchers do not officially recommend any specific dose of the plant. Researchers cite a dose of 100–300 milligrams (mg) up to 4 times per day as a treatment for migraine, for a preparation that contains 0.2–0.4% parthenolide.

Side effects of feverfew may include:

Feverfew may interact with various drugs, although researchers do not know the clinical relevance of these interactions. Feverfew may interact with:

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about feverfew.

Are chamomile and feverfew the same?

Chamomile and feverfew are not the same. They belong to the same family of plants, and people sometimes refer to feverfew as wild chamomile. However, the plants are distinct and have different properties.

Does feverfew raise blood pressure?

In an older 2015 study, feverfew did not appear to affect blood pressure, although it did cause some adverse effects.

Is feverfew an anti-inflammatory?

Feverfew contains anti-inflammatory compounds, meaning the plant may have anti-inflammatory actions.

Traditional medicine uses feverfew as a treatment for various conditions, including headaches, fever, and menstrual cramps.

There is no clinical evidence that feverfew is significantly effective as a medical treatment. Some in vitro and animal studies suggest it may be beneficial for treating some conditions, although rigorous human studies are necessary. Existing human studies have found mixed results.

Feverfew may cause side effects in some people and may interact with certain drugs. A person should always talk with a healthcare professional before adding feverfew to their health routine.