Feverfew – ESCOP Herbal Monograph 2014

Tanaceti parthenii herba
Published 2014
Price:   €20
Format: PDF; Instant Download









The herbal monograph selects and summarises scientific studies and textbooks regarding efficacy, dosage and safety to support the therapeutic uses of feverfew.

This herbal drug by definition consists of dried, whole or fragmented aerial parts of Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schultz Bip.

Studies with its main characteristic constituents sesquiterpene lactones e.g. parthenolide are included.

The therapeutic indication is the prevention of migraine headaches. Administration of feverfew addresses dosage, duration of use; contra-indications; special warnings; special precautions for use; interactions with other medicinal products; other forms of interaction; use during pregnancy and lactation; its effects on ability to drive; undesirable effects; overdose.

In vitro experiments with parthenolide and feverfew extracts demonstrate anti-inflammatory activity and inhibition of serotonin secretion.

In vivo experiments in animals, using anti-inflammatory test models with feverfew extracts and isolated constituents, suggest a link between parthenolide (and the other sesquiterpene lactones) and migraine prophylactic properties.

Controlled clinical studies in humans suggest that feverfew can prevent migraine.

The Clinical safety data led to the conclusion that there are no major safety problems, in rare cases gastrointestinal complaints and allergic skin reactions may occur.

The selection of literature cited in the monograph is aimed at bringing together relevant information about the possible physiological roles of feverfew and its major constituents. Examples are given below.


  • Tanacetum parthenium (L) Schultz Bip.
  • Tanaceti parthenii herba
  • Feverfew
  • Migraine prophylaxis


– Agarwal KK, Kumar Nath A, Jaisankar TJ, D’Souza M. Parthenium dermatitis presenting as erythroderma. Contact Dermatitis 2008;59:182-3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0536.2008.01392.x
– Chen CF and Leung AY. Gene response of human monocytic cells for the detection of antimigraine activity of feverfew extracts. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 2007; 85: 1108-15.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/Y07-097
– De Weerdt CJ, Bootsma HPR, Hendriks H. Herbal medicines in migraine prevention. Phytomedicine 1996; 3: 225-30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0944-7113(96)80057-2
– Heptinstall S, Groenewegen WA, Knight DW, Spangenberg P, Loesche W. Studies on feverfew and its mode of action. In: Rose FC, editor. Advances in headache research. London: John Libbey, 1987; 129-34.
– Jain NK, Kulkarni SK. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Tanacetum parthenium extract in mice and rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1999; 68: 251-59. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00115-4
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