Headache Home > Feverfew for Migraines

Feverfew is one example of a complementary treatment for migraine headaches. Previous research studies involving migraines and feverfew have shown mixed results. Some research suggests that feverfew may be helpful in preventing migraine headaches in people who experience chronic migraines. Other studies, however, have shown no benefit. Side effects of feverfew can include canker sores, nausea, and bloating.

An Overview of Migraines and Feverfew

Originally a plant native to the Balkan mountains of Eastern Europe, feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) now grows throughout Europe, North America, and South America. Feverfew has been used for centuries for fevers, headaches, stomachaches, toothaches, insect bites, infertility, and problems with menstruation and labor during childbirth. More recently, it has been recommended for the prevention of migraine headaches.
 
Other common names for feverfew include bachelor's buttons and featherfew.
 

How Is Feverfew Used for Migraines?

Feverfew is most commonly taken by mouth for the prevention of migraine headaches. The dried leaves -- and sometimes flowers and stems -- of feverfew are used to make supplements, including capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts.
 

What Does the Research Say?

In the laboratory, feverfew has been shown to decrease inflammation and prevent blood vessel narrowing that may lead to migraine headaches.
 
There have been mixed results in human studies looking at the effectiveness of feverfew for preventing this type of headache. Some research suggests that it may be helpful in preventing migraine headaches in people who have chronic migraines. However, other studies have shown no benefit. Therefore, most healthcare providers would like more evidence from well-designed studies before recommending the supplement for migraines.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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