Feverfew Leaf is a good non-drug preventitive treatment you may want to explore. Its main uses are for migraines and arthritis. Studies at the London Migraine Clinic have increased interest in this herb. This herb continues to undergo extensive scientific investigation of the parthenolide content, and how it normalizes the funtion of platelets in the blood system by inhibiting platelet aggregation, reducing serotonin release from platelets and blocking the formation of pro-inflamatory mediators. Seventy percent of the patients in these studies report fewer attacks of migraines and less painful attacks. Researchers believe that Feverfew prevents the spasms of blood vessels in the head that trigger migraines. This herb also relieves the inflammation associated with arthritis. Other benefits include: relief from nausea and vomiting; improvement of digestion; more restful sleep; and, relief of dizziness, brain, and nerve pressure.
What the Science Says
Some research suggests that feverfew may be helpful in preventing migraine headaches; however, results have been mixed and more evidence is needed from well-designed studies.
One study found that feverfew did not reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in women whose symptoms did not respond to conventional medicines. It has been suggested that feverfew could help those with milder symptoms.
There is not enough evidence available to assess whether feverfew is beneficial for other uses.
NCCAM-funded researchers have studied ways to standardize feverfew; that is, to prepare it in a consistent manner. Standardized preparations can be used in future studies of feverfew for migraines.
Side Effects and Cautions
No serious side effects have been reported for feverfew. Side effects can include canker sores, swelling and irritation of the lips and tongue, and loss of taste.
Less common side effects can include nausea, digestive problems, and bloating.
People who take feverfew for a long time and then stop taking it may have difficulty sleeping, headaches, joint pain, nervousness, and stiff muscles.
Women who are pregnant should not use feverfew because it may cause the uterus to contract, increasing the risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.
People can have allergic reactions to feverfew. Those who are allergic to other members of the daisy family (which includes ragweed and chrysanthemums) are more likely to be allergic to feverfew.
Tell all your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. For tips about talking with your health care providers about CAM, see NCCAM’s Time to Talk campaign.