Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is
an herb that has been studied a lot for migraine prevention. Some small studies
show that it may help prevent migraines in some people. But most experts think
the benefits are still unproved.1
Feverfew is available as dried leaf powder, tablet, capsule, and tea. If
you would like to try feverfew to help prevent your migraineheadaches, it is
important to find feverfew that has been standardized (which means you receive the same
amount of active ingredient in every dose) with guaranteed potency.
About 1 out of 8 Americans has migraines. They usually begin during the teenage years. After puberty, migraines are more likely to affect girls and women.
Experts still aren't sure what causes these headaches. But they seem to involve a wave of unusual activity in brain nerve cells, along with changes in blood flow in the brain.
Though migraines can trigger severe pain in the head, they aren't simply headaches. They often also cause other uncomfortable symptoms, such as:
Side effects of feverfew are usually mild but can include
stomach upset and allergic reaction, such as a skin rash. People who chew on
the feverfew leaves sometimes develop open sores (ulcers) in the
mouth. Feverfew is not recommended for use by young children or by women who
are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Be sure to tell your doctor before
you take feverfew. Like any drug, it can interact with other medicines that you
are taking or affect your health in ways you may not be aware of.
Pittler MH, Ernst E (2004). Feverfew for preventing
migraine. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Primary Medical Reviewer
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Colin Chalk, MD, CM, FRCPC - Neurology
June 10, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 10, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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