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5 Benefits and Side Effects of Feverflower/Feverfew (4 Contraindications To Be Noted) [Updated Feb/2023]

Feverflower (Feverfew) is a plant of the Asteraceae family in the Balkan Peninsula of southern Europe, and its English name comes from the Latin febrifugia, which means antipyretic medicine, which has been widely used by folk medicine for hundreds of years to improve fever, various pains, mosquito bites, reproductive problems and other intractable diseases, so it is also known as medieval aspirin (with the meaning of panacea).

Until recent decades, although the scientific community has not confirmed the efficacy of its antipyretic drugs, it has been further found that the main component of feverfew is parthenolide (feverflower, which is a terpene compound), which has excellent anti-inflammatory effects, especially for disturbing migraines, and is currently the most promising medical application.

What are the recommended empirical benefits of feverfew?

  1. Frequency of migraine attacks

Migraine is a periodic headache that is often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. It is estimated that one in five adults in the United States alone has a history of migraine, and the consequences are not only headaches, but also nerve damage, stroke and degenerative brain diseases.Note 4

Early studies found that taking feverfew (2-70 mg of dried leaves for 84 months and packed in capsules) reduced the intensity and frequency of migraine attacks, and reduced nausea and vomiting associated with headaches (no change in duration).Note 3

In a recent double-blind controlled study (170 people with a history of migraine for more than 20 years), the use of feverfew extract (brand name MIG-99, 16 weeks, dose of 6.25 mg three times daily) reduced the number of migraine attacks by 39.5% (compared to 27% of placebo).Note 1

Similar experiments (for people with lower frequency of attacks) have used the same formula before, but no efficacy over placebo has been found, and these two studies have inferred that feverfew is more effective in people with higher intensity and frequency of attacks.Note 2

  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis with more intense inflammation and is an autoimmune disease. The initial symptoms of joint pain may be asymmetric, with the progression of the disease, the symmetrical distribution of pain will be more obvious, most patients will have persistent joint swelling, if not immediately seek medical attention, may cause joint deformation within half a year, resulting in disability, severe cases will even invade internal organs, resulting in organ and tissue fibrosis.

Since feverfew is believed to improve arthritis and has anti-inflammatory effects in folk therapy, a 6-week study of rheumatoid arthritis found that oral administration of feverfew (70-86 mg) did not significantly improve the clinical symptoms (eg, stiffness, pain) and blood biochemical indicators (immunoglobulin, C-reactive protein) of rheumatoid arthritis.Note 5

  1. Dermatitis

Dermatitis, as the name suggests, refers to the inflammation of the skin due to various internal and external stimuli, common are ectopic, seborrhea, contact dermatitis, common symptoms are rash, skin redness and swelling.

Most of the common drugs used to treat dermatitis are topical steroids plus oral antihistamines, which are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs, but long-term use can cause side effects, often making people love and hate.

In a dermatitis test, it was found that topical PD-Feverfew (parthenolide removal of feverfew extract) can inhibit the prostaglandin (PGE2) that causes inflammation, has the effect of relieving dermatitis, and the effect is not inferior to the inflammatory drug Ibuprofen, and there is no harmful sensitization (induced by the chemical methyl nicotinate).Note 6

  1. Platelet aggregation, anti-thrombotic (may be beneficial for cardiovascular)

After entering middle age, most people are most afraid of health problems in addition to cancer, and then the occurrence of thrombosis, thrombosis generally refers to improper clotting in the blood (formed by platelets and fibrin), and the blood clot formed once blocked in the coronary arteries is myocardial infarction, if it occurs in cerebral blood vessels is a stroke, obstruction occurs in other parts will cause hypoxia necrosis of different tissues and organs.

At present, only in vitro experiments have been found that feverfew has the effect of inhibiting platelet agglutination (by regulating NF-kB, arachidonic acid, protein kinase C), so this preliminary determination may prevent thrombosis and reduce the occurrence of fatal cardiovascular events.Note 7

  1. Natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory effect pain reliever

Analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs are one of the most important inventions in the pharmaceutical industry today, which can inhibit the pain path and make the pain that has been troubled for a long time disappear, but the side effects after long-term abuse are always criticized.

In the case of Acetaminophen, the most widely used analgesic and anti-inflammatory drug ingredient, abuse may not only cause liver damage, but also recently found that it may affect the brain, leaving users with a lack of empathy and inability to understand the complaints of their spouses or friends.Note 8

Parthenolide, the active ingredient in feverfew, can inhibit NF-kB activation by controlling IkappaB kinase beta-signaling molecules. (NF-kB is often referred to as the inflamed master switch in cells.)Note 9

When Parthenolide was removed and tested again, no effect was found to inhibit NF-kB, so Parthenolide should have anti-NF-kB activation and counteract inflammation.

In addition, in animal studies, feverfew extract (from flower bud) has been found to be an effective anti-inflammatory ingredient that has alleviating acute inflammation caused by a variety of causes (such as arthritis neuralgia), but it still needs to be further verified by human studies.Note 10


Are there any side effects of feverfew?

Feverfew has a long history of use as an herb and has not found any serious side effects, but it may still interact with other medicinal herbs, so it is recommended to use it with caution under the supervision of a doctor. A few side effects have been reported, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, nervousness, etc

In one investigation, it was found that chewing feverfew (leaves) on raw food may produce oral ulcers, but this did not occur when using capsules or powders.

Contraindications to use:

Do not use by pregnant women, children, nursing mothers, liver and kidney dysfunction (safety unknown)

Due to its anticoagulant effect, do not take it with anticoagulants, aspirin, ginkgo and other anticoagulant drugs, and please suspend use for 2 weeks before surgery to avoid bleeding risk

If you have been allergic to Asteraceae, please avoid using it, which may cause allergic reactions

If you take it for more than a week, do not stop suddenly, it may have a rebound effect (symptoms such as anxiety, tiredness, headache, muscle stiffness, joint pain, etc.)

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