Tanacetum parthenium


Image I


Image II


Botanical Name: Tanacetum parthenium
Common name: Feverfew (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 566)
Family: Compositae (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 567)
Parts used: Leaf(Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 566)



  • Sesquiterpene lactones: Parthenolide, Articanin and Santamarine
  • Sesquiterpenes and onoterpenes: Thujone, Sabinene, Camphor, 1,8- cineole and Umbellulone (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 587)
  • Monoterpenes
  • Polyacetylene compounds
  • Essential oil
  • Flavenoids
  • Dicaffeoylquinic
  • Melatonin

(Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 567)



  • Anti-secretory: Inhibition of platelet aggregation and granule secretion from polymorphonuclear leucocytes
  • Anti-inflammatory: Inhibits NF-kappaB activation and prostaglandin secretion

(Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 566)

  • Vasodilator (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 587)
  • Emmenagogue (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 587)
  • Bitter (Hoffmann, 2003, p. 587)


History & Traditionaal Use

Tanacetum parthenium was traditionally used to cure fevers. The herb’s common name is derived from the Latin name febris (fever) and fugure (to drive away).

Traditional indications include

  • Prophylaxis and treatment of migraine, tension headache and associated symptoms
  • Cleanse the kidneys
  • Stimulate menstruation
  • Expel worms
  • Face and ear pain relied in rheumatic conditions

(Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 566)

The Eclectics used feverfew as a tonic that influenced the whole gastro-intestinal tract, increased appetite and improved digestion and secretion. The herb gained popularity in Europe in the 1980’s as a migraine remedy (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 566).


Indications (contemporary)

  • Coughs & colds
  • Febrile diseases
  • Atonic dyspepsia
  • Nervous debility

(Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 566)

  • Migraine headaches (particularly those eased by the application of warmth to the head).
  • Arthritis (in inflammatory stage)
  • May help alleviate dizziness and tinnitus
  • May relieve painful periods and sluggish menstrual flow

(Hoffmann, 2003, p. 587)


Preparation & Dosage

  • Warm infusion
  • Decoction
  • Poultice
  • Fresh plant tincture (1:1) 0.7-2mL/day
  • Died plant tincture: (1:5) 1-2mL/day
  • Tablet: 150mg dried herb/1-2 times a day

(Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 566)


Cautions & Contradictions

  • Dose should be minimal in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 574). Hoffmann suggests that it is contraindicated in pregnancy (2003, p. 578).
  • Known allergy to feverfew or other members of Compositae family (Bone & Mills, 2013, p. 574)


Bone, K., & Mills, S. (2013). Principals and Practice of Phytotherapy (2nd ed.). Edinborough: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier.

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester Vermont: Healing Arts Press.

Images: Plants For Our Future. (2012). Tanacetum parthenium – (L.)Sch.Bip. Retrieved from: http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Tanacetum+parthenium

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