Feverfew is a member of the sunflower family. The short bushy plant has a bitter odor. Its flowers look like clusters of yellow daisies. Feverfew originated in the Balkan Mountains in Eastern Europe but now grows throughout Europe as well as in North and South America. Other names for feverfew include bachelor’s buttons and featherfew.
Why Feverfew is used
Folk medicine includes many references to feverfew as a treatment for headaches, arthritis pain, and fevers. It has also been used to relieve stomach aches, toothaches, and insect bites and to ease problems with menstruation and with labor during childbirth.
In the 1980s, feverfew gained popularity in Great Britain as a treatment for migraine headaches. In one study, over 70 percent of migraine sufferers claimed feverfew reduced their headaches if they ate two to three fresh leaves from the plant every day. Other studies concluded that patients taking feverfew got migraines less often. But not all studies agree with these results.
Feverfew has also been used as a treatment for arthritis pain. Laboratory studies show feverfew has anti-inflammatory properties that suggest it should be helpful with arthritis pain. But actual trials with human patients have not shown that feverfew is any better than a placebo at reducing arthritis pain.
How Feverfew is used
The entire feverfew plant is safe for use as a supplement. Most feverfew products contain dried leaves, although some also contain flowers and stems. Supplements include capsules, tablets, and liquids. Some people also chose to eat the fresh leaves.
The standard dose of feverfew is 100 to 300 mg up to four times each day for migraine headaches for an adult weighing approximately 150 pounds.
Cautions for Feverfew
There are no recognized serious side effects reported by patients taking feverfew. Cautions for feverfew include:
• Anticoagulants – People who are taking drugs to prevent their blood from clotting should not take feverfew.