Feverfew FEE-ver-fyoo

What are other names for this remedy?

Type of medicine: natural remedy

Scientific and common names: Tanacetum parthenium, Chrysanthemum parthenium, Leucanthemum parthenium, Pyrethrum parthenium, feverfew, featherfoil, flirtwort, midsummer daisy, bachelor's button, featherfew, Santa Maria

What is feverfew?

Feverfew is a short, bushy plant that grows in fields along roadsides. Its leaves and yellow flowers look a lot like those of chamomile. The leaves are used for medicinal purposes.

What is it used for?

Feverfew has been used to treat:

  • allergies
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • common cold
  • earache
  • edema (swollen feet or ankles)
  • fevers
  • infertility
  • migraine headaches
  • motion sickness, nausea, or vomiting
  • painful menstrual periods
  • skin problems such as dermatitis and psoriasis
  • toothache

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve uses for natural remedies. The FDA does not inspect or regulate natural remedies the way they do prescription medicines.

How is it taken?

Feverfew is available fresh or dried (for use in teas), or as capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts. Follow the directions printed on the product label or given by your healthcare provider.

What if I overdose?

Symptoms of an acute overdose have not been reported.

What should I watch out for?

Do not take feverfew if you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, chamomile, yarrow, or daisies.

Do not give feverfew to children less than 2 years old.

Do not take feverfew for more than 4 months.

Do not suddenly stop taking this remedy. You should reduce your dosage gradually to avoid side effects such as anxiety, headache, muscle aches, and trouble sleeping.

If you need emergency care, surgery, or dental work, tell the healthcare provider or dentist that you are taking this remedy. It may cause you to bleed more.

Feverfew promotes menstrual flow and may alter the menstrual cycle. Talk with your healthcare provider about this.

Talk to your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any natural remedy that you are using or thinking about using. If your provider does not tell you how to take it, follow the directions that come with the package. Do not take more or take it longer than recommended. Ask about anything you do not understand. Remember:

  • Natural remedies are not always safe.
  • You should not take them if you are pregnant or breast-feeding without your healthcare provider's approval. They should not be taken by infants, children, or older adults without your provider's approval.
  • They affect your body and may interact with prescription medicines that you take.
  • Natural remedies are not standardized and may have different strengths and effects. They may be contaminated.

What are the possible side effects?

Along with its desirable effects, this remedy may cause some unwanted side effects. Some side effects may be very serious. Some side effects may go away as your body adjusts to the remedy. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that continue or get worse.

Life-threatening (Report these to your healthcare provider right away. If you cannot reach your healthcare provider right away, get emergency medical care or call 911 for help): Allergic reaction (hives; itching; rash; trouble breathing; tightness in your chest; swelling of your lips, tongue, and throat).

Feverfew may cause stomach pain, diarrhea, mouth and tongue sores, trouble sleeping, nervousness, tiredness, indigestion, vomiting, loss of your sense of taste, swelling of the lips, tongue and mouth.

What products might interact with this remedy?

When you take this remedy with other medicines, it can change the way the remedy or the medicines work. Vitamins and certain foods may also interact. Using these products together might cause harmful side effects. Before taking this remedy, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking:

  • amitriptyline
  • antifungals such as ketoconazole (Nizoral) and itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • benzodiazepines such as diazepam (Valium), and triazolam (Halcion)
  • medicine that reduces the chance of blood clots forming such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, and warfarin (Coumadin)
  • celecoxib (Celebrex)
  • fexofenadine (Allegra)
  • glipizide (Glucotrol)
  • haloperidol (Haldol)
  • natural remedies such as angelica, anise, arnica, asafoetida, capsicum, celery, chamomile, clove, fenugreek, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, horse chestnut, horseradish, licorice, onion, papain, passionflower, red clover, turmeric, and willow
  • lovastatin (Mevacor)
  • medicines to treat heartburn and stomach acid such as lansoprazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), and pantoprazole (Protonix)
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam), ibuprofen (Motrin, Motrin IB, Advil), indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen, ketorolac (Toradol), nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Naprosyn, Anaprox, Aleve, Naprelan), oxaprozin (Daypro), piroxicam (Feldene), and sulindac (Clinoril)
  • ondansetron (Zofran)
  • propranolol (Inderal)
  • theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theolair, Uniphyl)
  • verapamil (Calan, Isoptin)

If you are not sure if your medicines might interact, ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider. Keep a list of all your medicines with you. List all the prescription medicines, nonprescription medicines, supplements, natural remedies, and vitamins that you take. Be sure that you tell all healthcare providers who treat you about all the products you are taking.

Keep all natural remedies and medicines out of the reach of children.

This advisory includes select information only. The information was obtained from scientific journals, study reports, and other documents. The author and publisher make no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the information. The advisory may not include all side effects associated with a remedy or interactions with other medicines. Nothing herein shall constitute a recommendation for the use of any remedy. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Medication Advisor 2012.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2010-05-19
Last reviewed: 2010-05-17
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2012 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.