Tanacetum parthenium

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-18 (EDT)

See Also Botanical Monographs

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is most commonly known for its use for migraine headaches, yet historically it was also known for its use with rheumatoid arthritis. To explore the characteristics, medicinal uses and prescribing considerations of this herb in more detail, check out the references indicated.[1], [2]



Historical Uses:

Historically Feverfew has been used for the rheumatoid arthritis.

Medicinal Uses:


  • Migraine Headaches: take 4-6 weeks before the effect is noticed (0.1-0.2% parthenolide, 125-150mg daily), after 6 months can reduce to 50mg daily as a maintenance dose.
  • increases appetite, increases secretions, increases food digestion
  • Other Conditions


  • Topical antiseptic, anodyne for toothache (chew the leaf or flower head)
  • Pyrethrin (constituent) is a natural insecticide used by organic gardeners

Prescribing Considerations

The information provided is intended to augment the treatment from a naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional. Although most herbs are generally safe, it is recommended that you avoid self-prescribing especially when there is an underlying ongoing medical condition, if you are on any prescription medications or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Formulations and Preparation

  • Tincture - 10-30 drops three times daily
  • Whole ground leaf - up to 2.5g daily
  • Dried leaf - 50-125mg daily
  • Standardized extract (0.1-0.2% parthenolide) - 125-150mg daily

Tanacet 125 is the most common standardized extract


The safety and prescribing considerations for this herb include:[3], [4]

  • Generally regarded as safe.
  • Side-effects are mouth ulcerations and gastrointestinal upset; post-feverfew syndrome (including nervousness, tension, fatigue, and joint ache)
  • Drug-Herb Interactions.[3]
  • Indomethacin and Related Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs - prevention or reduction of drug adverse effects; due to Tanecetum's anti-inflammatory effects, it may protect against gastropathic adverse effects of chronic use of these drugs.
  • Taxanes: Paclitaxel, Docetaxel - Potential or theoretical beneficial or supportive interaction with professional management; Parthenolide found in Tanacetum experimentally increases the sensitivity of breast cancer cells with constitutively active NF-κB expression to apoptosis-inducing effects of taxanes.
  • Acetylsalicylic Acid, Clopidogrel, Ticlopidine, and Other Antiplatelet Thromboprophylactics - Potential or theoretical adverse interaction of uncertain severity; The interaction is a theoretically additive pharmacodynamic increase in antiplatelet activity which may increase the likelihood of bleeding disorders related to disturbance of primary hemostasis.
  • Warfarin and Coumadin - caution due to blood thinning effect


  1. Boon Heather, Smith Michael (2009) 55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs: The Complete Natural Medicine GuideSecond Edition Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, CCNM Toronto.
  2. Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul, Barlow Kerry, Gowan Matt (2011) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Advanced Botanical Medicine. V3 CCNM Press, Toronto.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stargrove Mitchell Bebell, Treasure Jonathan, McKee Dwight L (2008) Herb, Nutrient and Drug Interactions: Clinical Implications and Therapeutic Strategies.
  4. Brinker Francis (1997) Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions: Plus Herbal Adjuncts With Medicines, 4th Edition Eclectic Medical Publications.