Dietary Supplements for Migraine - Feverfew

Nancy Harris Bonk Health Guide
  • There's a wide variety of treatments that can be used for Migraine prevention including vitamins, herbs, and minerals  While many consider these to be "natural," these substances were mankind's first drugs, and act as such in our systems. If feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) has been suggested to you, or if you and your doctor have been considering it, here's some information that should be helpful.  


    Feverfew, scientific name Tanacetum parthenium, is a small, thick perennial herb which is a member of the Asteraceae family, the same plant family as daisies and sunflowers. It is also called altamisa, bachelor's button and flirtwort. It grows along roads, in fields and near wooded areas throughout the Europe, North America and South America. Feverfew was first used as a fever reducer and has also been used to treat many different conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual issues, asthma, psoriasis, insect bites, ear pain, stomach distress and more. Feverfew is commonly used for Migraine prevention and rheumatoid arthritis. 

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    • Please speak with your doctor if you have other medical conditions, take medications (prescription or over-the-counter) or other herbal/dietary supplements and/or practice other complementary therapies before you take feverfew .
    • If you suffer from allergies to ragweed, chamomile, yarrow or other plants in the Asteraceae family, do not use feverfew.
    • If you have an allergic reaction after touching the feverfew plant, do not use feverfew.
    • Do not mix feverfew formulas - always use the same type.
    • If you have a bleeding or clotting disorder it is imperative to speak with your doctor before you try feverfew.
    • If you've taken feverfew for a long period of time and stop, you may have difficulty sleeping, experience headaches, joint pain, nervousness and stiff muscles.
    • Women who are pregnant are advised not to use feverfew. Feverfew can increase the risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.


    Pregnancy and breastfeeding:

    • Do not use feverfew while breastfeeding without talking to your doctor first - information is lacking on effects of feverfew and breastfeeding.
    • Feverfew may make the uterus contract, increasing the risk of miscarriage.
    • If you plan on becoming pregnant or are pregnant discuss feverfew use with your doctor.
    • There are accounts that feverfew may cause harm to an unborn child.


    Other medical conditions:

    Be sure to let your doctor know of other medical problems you may have, especially:

    • if you have a bleeding or clotting disorder
    • those patients with allergies, especially to the daisy family (including ragweed and chrysanthemums) may be allergic to feverfew and should discuss feverfew use with their doctor before using it.


      Other medications:

    • tell your doctor if you are taking any medications, especially those that decrease clotting, vasoconstriction or platelet count.


    Potential side effects:

    • Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following serious side effects occur:
      • chest tightness
      • difficulty breathing
      • fast heartbeat
      • rash, hives or itching
      • swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue
    • Common side effects include:
      • bloating
      • mouth sores
      • nausea
      • stomach distress


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    Brand names: herbs such as feverfew are packaged and sold by many different manufacturers.


    Related information:




    National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). "Feverfew." Herbs at a Glance. Last revised updated July, 2010. 


    Erlich, Steven D., NMD. "Feverfew." University of Maryland Medical Center. Medical Reference. Complementary Medicine. Last reviewed: December 13, 2010.

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    © HealthCentral Network, 2012.
    Last updated May 2, 2012.

Published On: May 02, 2012