Everything About Feverfew Benefits, Uses & Side Effects

Feverfew, botanically known as Tanacetum parthenium, is a petite but potent herb with a rich history in traditional medicine. Its name itself reveals some of its historical uses. “Feverfew” is derived from the Latin word “febrifugia,” which means “fever reducer.” This unassuming plant is native to the Balkan Peninsula but has made its way into the gardens, hearts, and herbal medicine cabinets of people worldwide.

Feverfew’s Appearance and Growth:

Feverfew is a small perennial herb, standing at about one to two feet tall. It boasts delicate, deeply lobed leaves and bright yellow, daisy-like flowers. The leaves are aromatic and have a slightly bitter taste. Feverfew’s name is also reflective of its characteristic smell; “feverfew” is thought to be a corruption of the Latin “febrifugia,” meaning “chase away fevers.”

Historical Significance:

Feverfew’s history is closely intertwined with its use as a traditional remedy for various ailments, particularly fevers and headaches. The plant’s use dates back to the ancient Greeks, who used it to combat fevers and inflammation.

Feverfew also found a place in European herbal traditions. In the Middle Ages, it was employed as a natural remedy for headaches, including migraines. In fact, one of its colloquial names is “medieval aspirin” due to its use for pain relief during that era.

Culinary and Medicinal Uses:

While feverfew is not typically used as a culinary herb, it has gained recognition primarily for its potential medicinal benefits. The leaves and flowers of the feverfew plant are the parts most frequently used in herbal remedies.

Spiritual and Ceremonial Significance of Feverfew

While feverfew may not be as renowned for its spiritual or ceremonial significance as some other herbs, it does hold a place in folklore and traditions due to its historical use in healing. Let’s explore the more subtle, yet meaningful, aspects of feverfew.

Folklore and Folk Medicine:

In various cultures, feverfew has been regarded as a protective and healing herb. In medieval Europe, it was often planted near homes to ward off evil spirits and illness. People believed that feverfew’s presence could bring protection and keep maladies at bay.

The Language of Flowers:

During the Victorian era, a time when expressing emotions through flowers was in vogue, feverfew found its place in the “language of flowers.” Each flower had a specific meaning or sentiment attached to it, allowing people to convey unspoken feelings. Feverfew was associated with “protection against adversity” and “relief from sickness.” This symbolism showcases the herb’s historical reputation as a guardian against both physical and spiritual troubles.

Modern Herbalism:

In contemporary herbalism and holistic healing practices, feverfew is often incorporated into rituals or ceremonies designed to promote well-being and protection. While its use in such contexts may not be as widespread as more spiritually significant herbs, its historical reputation for protection and healing endures.

feverfew benefits

Potential Medicinal Benefits of Feverfew

Feverfew, beyond its historical significance, is celebrated for its potential medicinal benefits in modern herbal medicine. This unassuming herb is believed to offer a range of health advantages, particularly when it comes to addressing specific ailments. Let’s explore the potential therapeutic uses of feverfew.

1. Migraine Relief:

One of the most well-known uses of feverfew is its potential in alleviating migraines. Migraines are intense, often debilitating headaches that can be accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Feverfew is believed to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks, making it a valuable tool for those who suffer from this condition.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties:

Feverfew contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial for various inflammatory conditions. It’s used to help ease joint inflammation and may be considered as a complementary approach for individuals with conditions like arthritis.

3. Fever Reduction:

As the name suggests, feverfew has been historically used to reduce fevers. Its febrifuge properties may help in cases of mild fever, although it’s important to note that it’s not a substitute for medical treatment in more severe situations.

4. Menstrual Comfort:

For some women, feverfew has offered relief from menstrual discomfort, including cramps. Its muscle-relaxing properties may contribute to reduced pain and overall discomfort during menstruation.

5. Digestive Support:

Feverfew may provide digestive support by helping to reduce nausea and improve overall digestive function. It can be considered for individuals with gastrointestinal discomfort.

6. Skin Health:

In herbal skin care, feverfew is used for its potential benefits in calming and soothing irritated skin. It may be applied topically to reduce redness and irritation, making it a part of various skincare products.

7. Blood Pressure Regulation:

Some studies suggest that feverfew may help regulate blood pressure. However, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider before using it specifically for this purpose, as there are other herbs and medications better suited for cardiovascular conditions.

8. Immune Support:

Feverfew’s compounds can support the immune system, potentially aiding in the body’s defense against infections and illnesses.

While feverfew’s medicinal benefits are promising, it’s essential to use it with care and under the guidance of a healthcare provider or qualified herbalist, especially if you have specific health conditions or are taking medications.

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What Other Herbs Work Well with Feverfew?

In herbal medicine, combining herbs can enhance their therapeutic effects. Feverfew, known for its potential medicinal benefits, can be complemented by other herbs to create potent and holistic remedies. Let’s explore some of the herbs that work well with feverfew and the synergistic effects they may offer.

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus):

Butterbur is often paired with feverfew for migraine relief. The combination of these two herbs may provide a more comprehensive solution to reducing the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

Willow Bark (Salix spp.):

Willow bark contains salicin, a compound that is a natural source of salicylic acid, the precursor to aspirin. Combining willow bark with feverfew may enhance the herb’s anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale):

Ginger is known for its anti-nausea and digestive support properties. When used alongside feverfew, it can help address gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea more effectively.

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla):

Chamomile‘s calming and soothing properties can complement feverfew’s potential benefits. Together, they may offer relief from headaches and promote relaxation.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa):

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb. Combining it with feverfew may be beneficial for individuals with inflammatory conditions, as it can enhance the overall anti-inflammatory effects.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia):

Lavender is renowned for its calming and stress-relief properties. When used in conjunction with feverfew, it can contribute to managing stress-related conditions.

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita):

Peppermint‘s soothing properties can complement feverfew’s potential to alleviate migraines and ease digestive discomfort.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis):

Valerian is a well-known herb for promoting sleep and relaxation. When combined with feverfew, it can enhance its calming effects and assist in managing stress and anxiety.

Combining herbs should be done with care, as individual responses may vary. It’s advisable to consult with a qualified herbalist or healthcare provider before starting any herbal remedies to ensure they are appropriate for your specific needs and health condition.

Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

While feverfew offers potential health benefits, it’s essential to be aware of possible side effects, precautions, and contraindications. Understanding the safety considerations associated with its use can help you make informed decisions when incorporating feverfew into your health regimen.

Possible Side Effects:

  • Oral Ulcers: Some individuals may experience oral ulcers or mouth sores as a side effect of feverfew use. This can be mitigated by avoiding chewing the fresh leaves and opting for encapsulated or tincture forms.
  • Digestive Upset: Feverfew may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some cases, including nausea and indigestion.
  • Allergic Reactions: Allergic reactions to feverfew are rare but possible. Symptoms may include skin rashes, itching, and difficulty breathing. Discontinue use immediately if any signs of an allergic reaction occur.


  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: It’s generally recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding individuals to avoid feverfew, as its effects during these periods are not well-studied. Consult with a healthcare provider before use.
  • Surgery: Feverfew may interact with anesthesia, so it’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider if you’re using it and are scheduled for surgery.
  • Blood-Thinning Medications: Feverfew can have mild blood-thinning effects. If you’re taking blood-thinning medications, consult with your healthcare provider before using feverfew to avoid potential interactions.
  • Allergies: If you have known allergies to plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae family, such as ragweed or marigolds, be cautious when using feverfew, as cross-reactivity can occur.


  • Children: Feverfew is not recommended for children under the age of two. Consult with a healthcare provider before giving it to children or teenagers.
  • Allergy or Sensitivity: If you have a known allergy or sensitivity to feverfew or related plants, avoid its use.
  • Liver Disorders: Individuals with liver disorders or impaired liver function should consult with a healthcare provider before using feverfew.

Understanding potential side effects and taking necessary precautions is crucial when using feverfew. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or qualified herbalist before incorporating feverfew into your health and wellness routine. 

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How Does Feverfew Interact with Medication?

When considering the use of feverfew, it’s important to be aware of potential interactions with medications. As with any herbal remedy, the combination of feverfew and certain drugs can lead to unforeseen effects.

1. Antiplatelet and Anticoagulant Medications:

Feverfew possesses mild blood-thinning properties. When taken alongside antiplatelet or anticoagulant medications, such as aspirin, warfarin, or clopidogrel, it can potentially enhance the blood-thinning effect. This may increase the risk of bleeding. If you are on these medications, consult with your healthcare provider before using Feverfew to monitor and adjust your dosage appropriately.

2. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):

Feverfew has anti-inflammatory properties. When combined with NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen, it may intensify the anti-inflammatory effects. This can be beneficial for individuals with inflammatory conditions, but it should be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider to ensure safety and efficacy.

3. Anesthesia and Surgery:

Feverfew may interact with anesthesia used during surgical procedures. It’s essential to inform your healthcare provider about your use of feverfew if you’re scheduled for surgery. They can make any necessary adjustments to ensure a safe procedure.

4. Blood Pressure Medications:

There is limited information on how feverfew may affect blood pressure. If you’re taking medications for hypertension, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating feverfew into your routine, as it may influence blood pressure levels.

5. Other Medications:

Feverfew may interact with other medications not listed here. Always inform your healthcare provider about any herbal supplements you are taking to prevent potential interactions.

It’s crucial to communicate openly with your healthcare provider about your use of feverfew and any medications you are taking. This will allow for a better understanding of potential interactions and appropriate adjustments to your treatment plan.

To ensure the safe and effective use of feverfew, it’s important to understand the recommended doses and available forms of this herbal remedy. Different forms of feverfew are available, and the appropriate dosage can vary depending on the specific health concern you aim to address.

Recommended Doses:

  • Dried Herb: When using dried feverfew leaves, the typical dosage ranges from 50 mg to 100 mg taken once daily. This can be used to alleviate migraine symptoms or as a general anti-inflammatory support.
  • Feverfew Capsules or Tablets: Feverfew is commonly available in capsule or tablet form, with dosages usually ranging from 50 mg to 250 mg taken once daily. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommended dosage on the product label.
  • Feverfew Tincture: Tinctures provide a liquid form of feverfew, and the dosage can vary depending on the product’s concentration. A typical dose may be 10-20 drops, up to three times a day. Follow the product instructions for proper use.
  • Feverfew Tea: For those who prefer a more traditional approach, feverfew tea can be prepared using dried leaves. A common recommendation is to steep one to two teaspoons of dried feverfew in hot water for about 15 minutes and drink it once a day.
  • Feverfew Topical Cream or Oil: These are used for skin-related issues. Follow the product’s instructions for application.

It’s essential to start with the lowest effective dose and monitor your body’s response. If you are uncertain about the appropriate dosage for your specific condition, consult with a qualified herbalist or healthcare provider for personalized guidance.

Available Forms:

Feverfew is available in various forms, and you can choose the one that best suits your preferences and health needs:

  • Dried Leaves: These can be used to make teas or tinctures.
  • Capsules or Tablets: Convenient for precise dosing.
  • Tinctures: Liquid extracts for easy absorption.
  • Tea Bags: Pre-packaged tea bags for simple preparation.
  • Topical Creams or Oils: Used for skin issues.

When selecting a feverfew product, ensure that it is from a reputable manufacturer, and read product labels carefully for dosing instructions and potential additives

Understanding the recommended doses and available forms of feverfew is essential for safe and effective use. Select the form that aligns with your preferences and consult with a healthcare provider for guidance on the appropriate dosage.

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It’s important to recap the key takeaways and provide a comprehensive perspective on the use of feverfew in modern herbal medicine.

Key Takeaways:

  • Feverfew, scientifically known as Tanacetum parthenium, is a herb with a long history of use in traditional medicine.
  • Its potential medicinal benefits include migraine relief, anti-inflammatory properties, and potential applications in managing various health conditions.
  • Feverfew has been traditionally associated with spiritual and ceremonial significance.
  • Safety considerations include potential side effects, precautions for certain groups, and the need to be cautious when combining feverfew with medications.
  • Recommended dosages vary based on the form and the specific health concern. It’s crucial to start with the lowest effective dose and consult with a healthcare provider or herbalist.
  • Feverfew is available in multiple forms, including dried leaves, capsules, tinctures, tea bags, and topical products. Select a form that aligns with your preferences and needs.

Feverfew offers promise as a natural remedy, but like all herbal supplements, it should be approached with a well-informed and cautious mindset. Its potential benefits can significantly impact your health and well-being when used correctly, but understanding its limitations and potential interactions is equally crucial.

Incorporating feverfew into your healthcare routine should be a decision made in consultation with a qualified healthcare provider or herbalist. Their guidance can help you harness the full potential of this herb while ensuring your safety and well-being.

As the world of herbal supplements continues to evolve, feverfew remains a fascinating botanical ally, offering relief to those seeking natural solutions to various health concerns. Whether it’s a migraine-free day, reduced inflammation, or a deeper connection to nature and tradition, feverfew stands as a testament to the enduring power of herbal medicine in our modern world.

Frequently Asked Questions

Feverfew FAQ: Your Top 50 Questions Answered

Article Sources

At AncientHerbsWisdom, our content relies on reputable sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to substantiate the information presented in our articles. Our primary objective is to ensure that our content is thoroughly fact-checked, maintaining a commitment to accuracy, reliability, and trustworthiness.

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