Also called wild chamomile, the feverfew plant is popular for medical purposes to treat fever, migraines, arthritis, stomach ache, and sometimes menstruation pains. The plant is native to the Balkans and Western Asia, and you can’t find this easily. People make feverfew tea as a traditional way to treat headaches and fevers.
Migraines are severe headaches targeted to one side of the head, and the pain can be throbbing, pulsing, or pounding, depending on the severity. According to studies, it contains parthenolide and tanetin, which are compounds that stop the production of prostaglandins. These molecules are responsible for causing inflammation that leads to migraines. 
Some studies also suggest that parthenolide controls serotonin receptors and stops the platelets from producing inflammatory molecules while controlling vasodilation on vessels in the brain and stopping muscle spasms. These shows as causes of migraines in people.
Out of a total of 6 studies, 4 suggested that it had an impact on migraines, while 2 showed that it did not affect them. However, more human studies need to acquire better results regarding the effect of feverfew on migraines.
The feverfew plant is also attributed to other potential benefits, such as having anticancer properties. Certain test-tube studies showed that compounds found in it might stop specific cancer cells. Moreover, it can also be useful as a pain reliever due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Even though human studies aren’t available, they can act as a calming agent and reduce anxiety and depression in some instances.
How to Use Feverfew
Since the plant isn’t readily available in every part of the world, supplements and capsules are available. Liquid extracts are also available, and you can use them for effective results. The fluids and tinctures are normally helpful for treating arthritis, but there is insufficient evidence to prove this.
Feverfew tea is also easily available at health stores which you can brew and drink after knowing the dosage. However, you should consult a doctor before using it due to the various effects it can cause.
How to Use Feverfew for Migraines
Taking it orally with or without other ingredients proves effective for treating migraines. You can consume dried or fresh feverfew leaves daily with or after having food, between 50 to 150 mg. 5 to 20 drops of the ethanol tincture can also be taken. The recommended dosage for preventing migraines is 0.2 to 0.6 mg of parthenolide per day. 
People who are allergic to chamomile, ragweed, and yarrow shouldn’t take feverfew. People who tend to chew raw feverfew leaves can lose their taste, develop mouth sores, and even experience swelling in the mouth region. Even though few cases have been reported regarding severe allergic reactions to this plant, it can escalate, especially if you have underlying medical conditions.
If you are on blood thinners, it can increase the risk of bleeding. Pregnant and nursing women shouldn’t consume it at all. Moreover, it may also interact with anesthesia, so you should notify your doctor about its intake if you have to undergo surgery. Stopping its intake abruptly may cause headaches, anxiety, fatigue, joint pain, and stiffness in the body. 
Feverfew for Headaches
The feverfew plant is most commonly great to treat headaches and migraines. However, further research and human studies is a need to provide solid results. Some people consume fresh or dried feverfew leaves in raw form rather than brewing them for tea. You need to be careful about your dosage and allergic reactions. Otherwise, feverfew tea is useful to soothe headaches in people as well.
Moreover, it is important to note that it is not a cure for headaches but just a management or prevention measure. If you consume it while you have a headache, it won’t affect you much; hence you should use it daily to reduce the frequency of headaches.
Feverfew tea is easily available at health stores. You require about a quarter cup of fresh or 2 tablespoons of dried feverfew leaves to make it. Put them in boiling water and let them steep for 5 minutes. Cool it and strain it for drinking.
If it causes mouth irritation, add fewer leaves and more water to dilute it. Moreover, do not drink feverfew tea if you are pregnant because it may induce labor.
Feverfew vs. Chamomile
Feverfew and chamomile are sometimes mistaken as the same plant because of their similarities. That is why they are also popular as wild chamomiles. Both feverfew and chamomile are great for their herbal properties. While belonging to the same Asteraceae family, the 2 herbs have completely different flavors.
While having a floral scent, chamomile also has a flavor similar to that of apples, which feverfew lacks. Feverfew has citrus notes and a slightly bitter flavor. While both herbs are great for medicinal purposes, they both treat different ailments. Chamomile is largely used as a relaxant and as a sleeping aid, while feverfew is primarily used to reduce headaches and migraines. 
You can find chamomile at any grocery store, but you’ll have to search a little harder for feverfew, which can be found at certain health stores.
Feverfew Medicinal Uses
While it is mainly recognized for treating headaches and migraines, that is not the only purpose it serves. Since research shows that it can reduce inflammation, it is used for rheumatoid arthritis as well. Moreover, skin conditions such as rosacea can also be soothed after removing parentholide.
Further research to incorporate it into medicinal purposes is required, with its properties being explored in detail as well. Moreover, allergic reactions and short-term side effects of it have been reported, but its long-term effects remain hidden. 
Contrary to what the name suggests as a fever-reducing plant, it has other properties that enhance its herbal qualities. Feverfew is a natural way of reducing and controlling severe headaches and migraines. There are few side effects and allergic reactions reported from its consumption, but you still need to consult a doctor before using it. Furthermore, feverfew is not a cure for migraines, but it aids in reducing the frequency of them occurring and reduces the pain as well.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Pareek, A., Suthar, M., Rathore, G. S., & Bansal, V. (2011). Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review. Pharmacognosy reviews, 5(9), 103–110. https://doi.org/10.4103/0973-7847.79105
- Diener, H. C., Pfaffenrath, V., Schnitker, J., Friede, M., & Henneicke-von Zepelin, H. H. (2005). Efficacy and safety of 6.25 mg t.i.d. feverfew CO2-extract (MIG-99) in migraine prevention–a randomized, double-blind, multicentre, placebo-controlled study. Cephalalgia : an international journal of headache, 25(11), 1031–1041. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2982.2005.00950.x
- Wider, B., Pittler, M. H., & Ernst, E. (2015). Feverfew for preventing migraine. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 4(4), CD002286. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD002286.pub3