Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) Side Effects, Safety Profile, Contraindications and Drug Interactions

Tanacetum parthenium (Synonym Chrysanthemum parthenium, Matricaria parthenium) is popularly known as Feverfew, Bachelor’s Buttons and Featherfew. It belongs to colder climate and is found in throughout Europe and North and South America.

Tanacetum parthenium is medicinal plant and its dried leaves, flowers and stems are made into capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts, and teas and taken to treat various conditions.

As a folk remedy, Feverfew was used in case of fever, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty in labor, and dizziness. Nowadays, its dietary supplement is used for migraine headache. Some studies also suggest Feverfew extract can be effective for migraine prevention.

Feverfew is also used in case of menstrual problems, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and for intestinal parasites. Externally, it is used to reduce or prevent skin infections and for toothaches.

TRADE NAMES

  • Feverfew
  • Feverfew Extract
  • Feverfew Leaf
  • Feverfew Traditional Herb
  • Herbal Sure Feverfew
  • Mygrafew
  • NuVeg Feverfew Leaf
  • Premium Feverfew Leaf
  • Standardized Feverfew Extract

SPECIES (FAMILY)

Tanacetum parthenium (L.) Schultz Bip. (Asteraceae/Compositae)

PART(S) USED

Leaf, aerial parts

SAFETY PROFILE OF FEVERFEW

Feverfew is considered SAFE. No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.

Adverse effects reported for feverfew are mild and transient.

The onset of side-effects with feverfew is reported to vary, with symptoms becoming apparent within the first week of treatment or appearing gradually over the first two months.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF FEVERFEW

Less common side effects can include nausea, digestive problems, and bloating.

SHORT TERM SIDE EFFECTS

Side effects can include:

  • nausea, vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Digestive problems
  • Gastrointestinal irritation
  • Glossitis
  • Heartburn
  • Stomatitis

if the fresh leaves are chewed, sores and irritation of the mouth may occur.

LONG TERM SIDE EFFECTS

No major adverse effects with long-term use have been recorded.

But people who take feverfew for a long time and then stop taking it may have following health problems:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Stiff and Painful Muscles

Post-Feverfew syndrome has been reported in about 10% of migraine patients who abruptly stopped taking Feverfew such as rebound headaches, insomnia, muscle stiffness, joint pain, fatigue, nervousness and tension have occurred.

  • Occasional mouth ulceration and gastric disturbances have been reported, but the incidence is low.
  • Contact allergy from Feverfew is known. Asteraceae dermatitis Symptoms include:
  • Lip swelling
  • Mouth ulceration and soreness when the leaves are chewed

Several test-tube studies and animal models have observed inhibition of platelet aggregation on use of feverfew. But, no significant effects were seen in a small study of 10 patients receiving feverfew.

CONTRAINDICATIONS OF FEVERFEW LEAF & STEM

The herb is not to be used during pregnancy as it may cause the uterus to contract, increasing the risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.

Feverfew is contraindicated during breastfeeding.

Feverfew is contraindicated in those with known hypersensitivity to either feverfew, parthenolide or other members of the Compositae family.

Feverfew should only be considered as a treatment for migraine that has proved unresponsive to conventional forms of medication.

Although traditionally recommended as a remedy for rheumatic conditions, self-medication with feverfew should not be undertaken without first consulting a doctor.

PREGNANCY AND LACTATION

Feverfew is contra-indicated during pregnancy.

It is reputed to be an abortifacient and to affect the menstrual cycle. It is documented to modify menstrual flow, cause abortion in cattle and induce uterine contraction in full-term women.

DRUG INTERACTIONS

Feverfew may interact with thrombolytics, anticoagulants and platelet aggregation.

ALLERGIC REACTIONS

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.

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