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Feverfew is believed to offer a variety of medicinal benefits including relief from the pain of arthritis, reduction of menstrual cramping, the cure of asthma, stimulation of the appetite and migraine relief. Feverfew is rich in nutrients, including iron, niacin, vitamin A and vitamin C.

As its name suggests, feverfew has been used historically to treat and manage fever. Feverfew has also been used for relieving the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Recently, researchers have been studying feverfew for its ability to prevent severe migraine headaches. Clinical studies have provided preliminary evidence that feverfew may indeed be able to prevent both the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. However, feverfew has very little effect on active migraines. In the past, researchers believed that there was a single chemical compound responsible for feverfew's medicinal effects. Today it is believed that a number of feverfew's components work together to prevent migraine symptoms and that products made from fresh feverfew may be more effective than those made from dried feverfew.

In one study of nearly 80 migraine sufferers, those who took feverfew capsules (70 to 114 mg) per day for 4 months experienced a 25 reduction in attacks and a substantial drop in symptoms that frequently accompany migraines, such as nausea and vomiting, compared to those study participants who received a placebo.

Many researchers believe that feverfew's medicinal effects are owed to a range of compounds known as sesquiterpene lactones. Nearly 90 of these are in a compound called parthenolide. The parthenolide content in feverfew were at one time believed to be responsible for the herb's anti-migraine effects but recent studies have cast doubt on this theory.

Dosage and Administration

Historically, feverfew was ingested much in the same way as chewing tobacco, by chewing leaves to extract the nutrients. As chewing fresh feverfew may irritate both the mouth and stomach, feverfew preparations are now in the form of capsules, extracts and tablets made from dried feverfew leaves. To help prevent migraines, a common recommended dosage is 200 to 250 milligrams a day in capsule form. Since the parthenolide content may vary from one feverfew preparation to the next, it is strongly suggested that the manufacturer's instructions be followed. Full effectiveness in preventing migraines may not be evident until feverfew has been taken for 4 to 6 weeks.

Feverfew tea may be made by soaking about one teaspoonful of dried feverfew leaves in 5 to 8 ounces of boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Once the solids have been strained out, this tea may be consumed as often as desired. It may also be applied to the skin as an insect repellent.


If you are currently being treated with any blood-thinning medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) you should not use feverfew without first consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.

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