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The most frequently used herb for the long-term prevention of migraines is feverfew.1 Four double-blind trials have reported that continuous use of feverfew leads to a reduction in the severity, duration, and frequency of migraine headaches,2, 3, 4, 5 although one double-blind trial found feverfew to be ineffective.6
Studies suggest that taking standardized feverfew leaf extracts that supply a minimum of 250 mcg of parthenolide per day is most effective. Results may not be evident for at least four to six weeks. Although there has been recent debate about the relevance of parthenolide as an active constituent,7 it is best to use standardized extracts of feverfew until research proves otherwise.
A double-blind study found that a combination of feverfew and ginger may be effective for acute treatment of migraines. In that study, 63% of patients taking the herbal preparation experienced pain relief within 2 hours, whereas only 39% taking placebo experienced relief, a statistically significant difference. The product used in this study was a proprietary preparation called LipiGesic M (PuraMed BioScience, Inc., Schofield, WI). The liquid from 1-unit dose applicator was administered sublingually, held under the tongue for 60 seconds, and then swallowed. A second dose was given 5 minutes later. If pain persisted after 1 hour, a second treatment of 2-unit doses could be given.8
1. Volger BK, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Feverfew as a preventive treatment for migraine: a systematic review. Cephalagia 1998;18:704-8.
2. Murphy JJ, Hepinstall S, Mitchell JR. Randomized double-blind placebo controlled trial of feverfew in migraine prevention. Lancet 1988;2:189-92.
3. Johnson ES, Kadam NP, Hylands DM, Hylands PJ. Efficacy of feverfew as prophylactic treatment of migraine. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;291:569-73.
4. Palevitch D, Earon G, Carasso R. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) as a prophylactic treatment for migraine: A double-blind placebo-controlled study. Phytother Res 1997;11:508-11.
5. Diener HC, Pfaffenrath V, Schnitker J, et al. 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. Cephalalgia2005;25:1031-41.
6. De Weerdt CJ, Bootsma HPR, Hendriks H. Herbal medicines in migraine prevention. Phytomed 1996;3:225-30.
7. Awang DVC. Parthenolide: The demise of a facile theory of feverfew activity. J Herbs Spices Medicinal Plants 1998;5:95-8.
8. Cady RK, Goldstein J, Nett R, et al. A double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study of sublingual feverfew and ginger (LipiGesic M) in the treatment of migraine. Headache 2011;51:1078-86
Feverfew grows widely across Europe and North America. The leaves are used in herbal medicine.
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2018.
|Supplement Facts |
Serving Size: 1 capsule
|Amount Per Serving||%DV|
|Feverfew (leaf)||380 mg||*|
|*Daily Value (DV) not established.|
Caution: Not recommended for use by pregnant or lactating women. Certain individuals may experience oral or gastric irritation with use. If irritation occurs, discontinue use immediately.