Best known in modern era for it’s use in Migraine treatment, this herb has a traditional use for headaches where it was largely applied externally.
The bitter herb was thought to be potentially damaging to be taken internally, although it was administered orally by women to assist in expelling of placenta after birth and other various womb disorders.

Latin Botanical: Tanacetum parthenium


Common Name(s): Feverfew

Family: Asteraceae

Part(s) Used: Leaf

Qualities: Cool, dry, bitter, slightly pungent (Holmes)


  • Sesquiterpene lactones
  • Essential oil – Monoterpenes
  • Flavonoids


  • Anti-inflammatory / PGE (prostaglandin) Inhibitor
  • Bitter
  • Anthelmintic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Emmenagogue (high doses)


  • Migraine (prophylaxis)
  • Tension headache
  • Coughs, colds
  • Atonic dyspepsia
  • Worm infestation
  • Arthritis
  • Fever
  • Sluggish menstrual flow and dysmenorrhea


  • Pregnancy (uterine stimulant)
  • Lactation
  • Hypersensitivity to Asteraceae family – sensitivity to plants containing sesquiterpenes (eg laurel, magnolia, liverworts)


•May cause contact dermatitis

•May cause mild GIT Sx or inflammation/ulcers of the mouth, tongue or lips (esp. with fresh leaves)

•Do not stop Rx abruptly

•Anticoagulant, antiplatelet and thrombolytic Mdx > discontinue 7-10 days before surgery


1 – 2 fresh leaves / day

•50 – 200mg / day dried leaf (tablets or capsules)

•1 – 2ml of 1:5 dried plant tincture / day

•7 – 14ml of 1:5 dried plant tincture / week


  • Zingiber officinale
  • Salix alba
  • FRESH AERIAL PARTS: Eat one leaf daily as a prophylactic against migraines (Caution of fresh leaves potentially causing mouth ulcers as side effect)
  • INFUSION: Drink weak infusion – 15g herb to 500ml water – after childbirth to encourage cleansing and townifying of uterus. Also period pain associated with sluggish flow and congestion
  • TINCTURE: Take 5-10 drops every 30 minutes at onset of migraine- best for ‘cold’ type migraines- those that are better for applying hot towel to head.
  • POULTICE: Fry fresh herb in a little oil and, once cool, and apply to abdomen to treat colicky pains

Reference & Links to Articles:

Feverfew – ABC Guide

Ody, Penelope (1998). The Herb Society’s Complete Medicinal Herbal. Milan: Dorling Kindersley
Hoffman, D. (1990). Holistic Herbal. London: Thorsons

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