How to use feverfew?


  • Pareek A, Suthar M, Rathore G, Bansal V. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): A systematic review. Pharmacogn Rev. 2011;5(9):103-110. View abstract.
  • Pattrick M, Heptinstall S, Doherty M. Feverfew in rheumatoid arthritis: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Ann Rheum Dis 1989;48:547-9. View abstract.
  • Pfaffenrath V, Diener HC, Fischer M, et al. The efficacy and safety of Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew) in migraine prophylaxis–a double-blind, multicentre, randomized placebo-controlled dose-response study. Cephalalgia 2002;22:523-32. View abstract.
  • Pittler MH, Ernst E. Feverfew for preventing migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2004;(1):CD002286. View abstract.
  • Pittler MH, Vogler BK, Ernst E. Feverfew for preventing migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2000;3:CD002286. View abstract.
  • Prusinski A, Durko A, and Niczyporuk-Turek A. . Neurol.Neurochir.Pol. 1999;33 Suppl 5:89-95. View abstract.
  • Pugh WJ, Sambo K. Prostaglandin synthetase inhibitors in feverfew. J Pharm Pharmacol 1988;40:743-5. View abstract.
  • Ross JJ, Arnason JT, Birnboim HC. Low concentrations of the feverfew component parthenolide inhibit in vitro growth of tumor lines in a cytostatic fashion. Planta Med 1999;65:126-9. View abstract.
  • Saraceno R, Chiricozzi A, Nistico SP, et al. An occlusive dressing containing betamethasone valerate 0.1% for the treatment of prurigo nodularis. J.Dermatolog.Treat. 2010;21:363-66. View abstract.
  • Shrivastava R, Pechadre JC, and John GW. Tanacetum parthenium and Salix alba (Mig-RL) combination in migraine prophylaxis: a prospective, open-label study. Clin Drug Investig. 2006;26:287-96. View abstract.
  • Sil’vestrov VP, Kinitin AV, and Chesnokova, IV. . Ter.Arkh. 1991;63:7-11. View abstract.
  • Sumner H, Salan U, Knight DW, Hoult JR. Inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase and cyclo-oxygenase in leukocytes by feverfew. Involvement of sesquiterpene lactones and other components. Biochem Pharmacol 1992;43:2313-20. View abstract.
  • Sur R, Martin K, Liebel F, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of parthenolide-depleted Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). Inflammopharmacology. 2009;17:42-9. View abstract.
  • Unger M, Frank A. Simultaneous determination of the inhibitory potency of herbal extracts on the activity of six major cytochrome P450 enzymes using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and automated online extraction. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 2004;18:2273-81. View abstract.
  • Vogler BK, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Feverfew as a preventive treatment for migraine: a systematic review. Cephalalgia 1998;18:704-8. View abstract.
  • Wider B, Pittler MH, Ernst E. Feverfew for preventing migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Apr 20;4:CD002286. View abstract.
  • Williams CA, Harborne JB, Geiger H, Hoult JR. The flavonoids of Tanacetum parthenium and T. vulgare and their anti-inflammatory properties. Phytochemistry 1999;51:417-23. View abstract.
  • Williams CA, Hoult JR, Harborne JB, et al. A biologically active lipophilic flavonol from Tanacetum parthenium. Phytochemistry 1995;38:267-70. View abstract.
  • Wong HC. Is feverfew a pharmacologic agent? CMAJ 1999;160:21-2. View abstract.
  • Maizels M, Blumenfeld A, Burchette R. A combination of riboflavin, magnesium, and feverfew for migraine prophylaxis: a randomized trial. Headache 2004;44:885-90. View abstract.
  • Makheja AN, Bailey JM. A platelet phospholipase inhibitor from the medicinal herb feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). Prostaglandins Leukot Med 1982;8:653-60. View abstract.
  • Makheja AN, Bailey JM. The active principle in feverfew. Lancet 1981;2:1054. View abstract.
  • McCrory DC, Matchar DB, Gray RN, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for migraine headache: overview of program description and methodology. US Headache Consortium, April 2000. Available at:
  • Murch SJ, Simmons CB, Saxena PK. Melatonin in feverfew and other medicinal plants. Lancet 1997;350:1598-9. View abstract.
  • Murphy JJ, Heptinstall S, Mitchell JR. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of feverfew in migraine prevention. Lancet 1988;2:189-92. View abstract.
  • Palevitch D, Earon G, Carasso R. Feverfew (tanacetum parthenium) as a prophylactic treatment for migraine- a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Phytotherapy Res 1997;11:508-11.
  • Awang DV. Parthenocide: the demise of a facile theory of feverfew activity. J Herbs Spices Med Plants 1998;5(4):95-98.
  • Christensen, L. P., Jakobsen, H. B., Paulsen, E., Hodal, L., and Andersen, K. E. Airborne Compositae dermatitis: monoterpenes and no parthenolide are released from flowering Tanacetum parthenium (feverfew) plants. Arch Dermatol Res 1999;291(7-8):425-431. View abstract.
  • Czyz, M., Lesiak-Mieczkowska, K., Koprowska, K., Szulawska-Mroczek, A., and Wozniak, M. Cell context-dependent activities of parthenolide in primary and metastatic melanoma cells. Br.J.Pharmacol. 2010;160(5):1144-1157. View abstract.
  • De Weerdt, C. J., Bootsma, H. P., and Hendriks, H. Herbal medicines in migraine prevention Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial of a feverfew preparation. Phytomedicine. 1996;3(3):225-230. View abstract.
  • DeWeerdt CJ, Bootsman H, and Hendricks H. Herbal medicines in migraine prevention. Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial of a feverfew preparation. Phytomed 1996;3(3):225-230.
  • Gromek, D., Kisiel, W., Stojakowska, A., and Kohlmunzer, S. Attempts of chemical standardizing of Chrysanthemum parthenium as a prospective antimigraine drug. Pol.J.Pharmacol.Pharm. 1991;43(3):213-217. View abstract.
  • Hayes, N. A. and Foreman, J. C. The activity of compounds extracted from feverfew on histamine release from rat mast cells. J Pharm Pharmacol 1987;39(6):466-470. View abstract.
  • Kemper, K. J. and Breuner, C. C. Complementary, holistic, and integrative medicine: headaches. Pediatr.Rev. 2010;31(2):e17-e23. View abstract.
  • Kuritzky A, Elhacham Y, Yerushalmi Z, and et al. Feverfew in the treatment of migraine: its effect on serotonin uptake and platelet activity. Neurology 1994;44(Suppl 2):A201.
  • Loder, E., Burch, R., and Rizzoli, P. The 2012 AHS/AAN guidelines for prevention of episodic migraine: a summary and comparison with other recent clinical practice guidelines. Headache 2012;52(6):930-945. View abstract.
  • Mauskop, A. Nonmedication, alternative, and complementary treatments for migraine. Continuum (Minneap.Minn.) 2012;18(4):796-806. View abstract.
  • Modi, S. and Lowder, D. M. Medications for migraine prophylaxis. Am Fam.Physician 1-1-2006;73(1):72-78. View abstract.
  • Palevitch D, Earon G, and Carasso R. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) as a prophylactic treatment for migraine: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Phytother Res 1997;11(7):508-511.
  • Pfaffenrath V, Fischer M, Friede M, and et al. Clinical dose-response study for the investigation of efficacy and tolerability of Tanacetum parthenium in migraine prophylaxis. Deutscher Schmerzkongress; October 20-24, 1999, Munich, Germany. 1999;
  • Silberstein, S. D. Preventive treatment of headaches. Curr Opin Neurol. 2005;18(3):289-292. View abstract.
  • Sun-Edelstein, C. and Mauskop, A. Foods and supplements in the management of migraine headaches. Clin J Pain 2009;25(5):446-452. View abstract.
  • Waller, P. C. and Ramsay, L. E. Efficacy of feverfew as prophylactic treatment of migraine. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 10-19-1985;291(6502):1128. View abstract.
  • Awang DV. Parthenocide: demise of a facile theory of feverfew activity. J Herbs Spices Med Plants 1998;5:95-8.
  • Awang DVC. Prescribing therapeutic feverfew (Tancetum pathrnium (L.) Schultz Bip., syn. Chrysanthemumparthenium (L.) Bernh). Int Med 1998;1:11-3.
  • Barsby R, Salan U, Knight DW, Hoult JR. Irreversible inhibition of vascular reactivity by feverfew. Lancet 1991;338:1015. View abstract.
  • Barsby RW, Salan U, Knight DW, Hoult JR. Feverfew extracts and parthenolide irreversibly inhibit vascular responses of the rabbit aorta. J Pharm Pharmacol 1992;44:737-40. View abstract.
  • Biggs MJ, Johnson ES, Persaud NP, Ratcliffe DM. Platelet aggregation in patients using feverfew for migraine. Lancet 1982;2:776. View abstract.
  • Brun J, Claustrat B, Saddier P, Chazot G. Nocturnal melatonin excretion is decreased in patients with migraine without aura attacks associated with menses. Cephalalgia 1995;15:136-9. View abstract.
  • 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. View abstract.
  • Cady RK, Schreiber CP, Beach ME, et al. Gelstat Migraine (sublingually administered feverfew and ginger compound) for acute treatment of migraine when administered during the mild pain phase. Med Sci Monit. 2005;11:I65-69. View abstract.
  • Collier HO, Butt NM, McDonald-Gibson WJ, Saeed SA. Extract of feverfew inhibits prostaglandin biosynthesis. Lancet 1980;2:922-3. View abstract.
  • de Weerdt GJ, Bootsman HPR, Hendriks H. Herbal medicines in migraine prevention. Randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of a feverfew preparation. Phytomedicine 1996;3:225-30.
  • 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. Cephalalgia 2005;25:1031-41. View abstract.
  • Ernst E, Pittler MH. The efficacy and safety of feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium L.): an update of a systematic review. Public Health Nutr 2000;3:509-14. View abstract.
  • Ferro EC, Biagini AP, da Silva ÍE, Silva ML, Silva JR. The combined effect of acupuncture and Tanacetum parthenium on quality of life in women with headache: randomised study. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec;30(4):252-7. View abstract.
  • Foster S. Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium, botanical series #310. Austin, TX: Am Botanical Council, 1996.
  • Groenewegen WA, Heptinstall S. A comparison of the effects of an extract of feverfew and parthenolide, a component of feverfew, on human platelet activity in-vitro. J Pharm Pharmacol 1990;42:553-7. View abstract.
  • Heptinstall S, Groenewegen WA, Spangenberg P, Loesche W. Extracts of feverfew may inhibit platelet behaviour via neutralization of sulphydryl groups. J Pharm Pharmacol 1987;39:459-65. View abstract.
  • Heptinstall S, Groenewegen WA, Spangenberg P, Losche W. Inhibition of platelet behaviour by feverfew: a mechanism of action involving sulphydryl groups. Folia Haematol Int Mag Klin Morphol Blutforsch 1988;115:447-9. View abstract.
  • Heptinstall S, White A, Williamson L, Mitchell JR. Extracts of feverfew inhibit granule secretion in blood platelets and polymorphonuclear leucocytes. Lancet 1985;1:1071-4. View abstract.
  • Holland S, Silberstein SD, Freitag F, et al. Evidence-based guideline update: NSAIDs and other complementary treatments for episodic migraine prevention in adults: Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society. Neurology 2012;78:1346-53. View abstract.
  • Hwang D, Fischer NH, Jang BC, et al. Inhibition of the expression of inducible cyclooxygenase and proinflammatory cytokines by sesquiterpene lactones in macrophages correlates with the inhibition of MAP kinases. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1996;226:810-8.. View abstract.
  • Jain NK, Kulkarni SK. Antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of Tanacetum parthenium L. extract in mice and rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1999;68:251-9. View abstract.
  • 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. View abstract.
  • Kuritzky A, Elhacham Y, Yerushalmi Z, et al. Feverfew in the treatment of migraine: its effect on serotonin uptake and platelet activity. Neurology 1994;44(Suppl 2):A201. (Abstract 293P)
  • Lamminpaa A, Estlander T, Jolanki R, Kanerva L. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis caused by decorative plants. Contact Dermatitis 1996;34:330-5. View abstract.

Feverfew Home Page

(Tanacetum parthenium
printed as
Chrysanthemum Parthenium) Pers.
Click on graphic for larger image

Botanical: Chrysanthemum Parthenium (BERNH.)
Family: N.O. Compositae

  • Description
  • Cultivation
  • Medicinal Action and Uses
  • Preparations
  • Other Species

—Synonyms—Pyrethrum Parthenium (Sm.). Featherfew. Featherfoil. Flirtwort. Bachelor’s Buttons.
—Part Used—Herb.

—Description—Feverfew (a corruption of Febrifuge, from its tonic and fever-dispelling properties) is a composite plant growing in every hedgerow, with numerous, small, daisy-like heads of yellow flowers with outer white rays, the central yellow florets being arranged on a nearly flat receptacle, not conical as in the chamomiles. The stem is finely furrowed and hairy, about 2 feet high; the leaves alternate, downy with short hairs, or nearly smooth-about 4 1/2 inches long and 2 inches broad – bipinnatifid, with serrate margins, the leaf-stalk being flattened above and convex beneath. It is not to be confounded with other wild chamomile-like allied species, which mostly have more feathery leaves and somewhat large flowers; the stem also is upright, whereas that of the true garden Chamomile is procumbent. The delicate green leaves are conspicuous even in mild winter. The whole plant has a strong and bitter smell, and is particularly disliked by bees. A double variety is cultivated in gardens for ornamental purposes, and its flower-heads are sometimes substituted for the double Chamomile.

Country people have long been accustomed to make curative uses of this herb, which grows abundantly throughout England. Gerard tells us that it may be used both in drinks, and bound on the wrists is of singular virtue against the ague.

Pyrethrum is derived from the Greek pur (fire), in allusion to the hot taste of the root.

—Cultivation—Feverfew is a perennial, and herbaceous in habit. When once planted it gives year after year an abundant supply of blossoms with only the merest degree of attention. Planting may be done in autumn, but the best time is about the end of April. Any ordinary good soil is suitable, but better results are obtained when well-drained, and of a stiff, loamy character, enriched with good manure. Weeding should be done by hand, the plants when first put out being small might be injured by hoeing.

There are three methods of propagation: by seed, by division of roots and by cuttings. If grown by seed, it should be sown in February or March, thinned out to 2 to 3 inches between the plants, and planted out early in June to permanent quarters, allowing a foot or more between the plants and 2 feet between the rows, selecting, if possible, a showery day for the operation. They will establish themselves quickly. To propagate by division, lift the plants in March, or whenever the roots are in an active condition, and with a sharp spade, divide them into three or five fairly large pieces. Cuttings should be made from the young shoots that start from the base of the plant, and should be taken with a heel of the old plant attached, which will greatly assist their rooting. They may be inserted at any time from October to May. The foliage must be shortened to about 3 inches, when the cuttings will be ready for insertion in a bed of light, sandy soil, in the open. Plant very firmly, surface the bed with sand, and water in well. Shade is necessary while the cuttings are rooting.

Keep a good watch at all times for snails, slugs and black fly. For the latter pest, try peppering the plants; for the others use soot, ashes or lime. Toads will keep a garden free of slugs.

‘A few pots placed on their sides may be dotted about the garden, and it will be found that the toads will sit in these when they are not hunting around for their prey. The creatures are not at all likely to leave the garden, seeing that if the supply of slugs runs short they will turn their attention to all kinds of insects.’ (S. L. B.)

—Medicinal Action and Uses—Aperient, carminative, bitter. As a stimulant it is usefulas an emmenagogue. Is also employed in hysterical complaints, nervousness and lowness of spirits, and is a general tonic. The cold infusion is made from 1 OZ. of the herb to a pint of boiling water, allowed to cool, and taken frequently in doses of half a teacupful.

A decoction with sugar or honey is said to be good for coughs, wheezing and difficult breathing. The herb, bruised and heated, or fried with a little wine and oil, has been employed as a warm external application for wind and colic.

A tincture made from Feverfew and applied locally immediately relieves the pain and swelling caused by bites of insects and vermin. It is said that if two teaspoonfuls of tincture are mixed with 1/2 pint of cold water, and all parts of the body likely to be exposed to the bites of insects are freely sponged with it, they will remain unassailable. A tincture of the leaves of the true Chamomile and of the German Chamomile will have the same effect.

Planted round dwellings, it is said to purify the atmosphere and ward off disease.

An infusion of the flowers, made with boiling water and allowed to become cold, will allay any distressing sensitiveness to pain in a highly nervous subject, and will afford relief to the face-ache or earache of a dyspeptic or rheumatic person.

—Preparations—Fluid extract: dose, 1 to 2 drachms.


—Other Species—
SWEET FEVERFEW (Chrysanthemum Suaveolens) and C. maritima, found by the seashore, especially in the north, with leaves broader, more fleshy, succulent and smaller flowerheads than the Common Feverfew.

Purchase from Richters Seeds
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) Seeds
White Pompon Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium ‘White Pompon’) Seeds
White Stars Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium ‘White Stars’) Seeds
Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) Plants

Common Name Index

Bear in mind “A Modern Herbal” was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900’s. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

© Copyright Protected 1995-2018

Fabulous Feverfew

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 1, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)

Feverfew has been written about for its medicinal uses since 1597. It has been a staple in English gardens for centuries. Widely known for its relief of headache and vertigo, this plant is also used to help prevent blood clots, as an anti-inflamatory for the relief of arthritis, for the relief of some types of menstrual problems and as a digestive aid. Always consult a physician before taking any herbal remedy.

Feverfew is a perennial herb native to southeast Asia and Europe. In more recent times it has become naturalized in North and South America and Australia. Plant feverfew among aphid loving perennials and annuals since it is known to repel these unwanted insects. It is said to have insecticidal properties and a solution of feverfew dabbed on the skin will repel biting insects. The crushed leaves are also known to deter moths.

Why Feverfew? This versatile plant grows from between 9 inches and 2 feet, making it a good border plant and it does extremely well in containers. Last year I let it grow in some half whiskey barrels, popped in a few extra blanket flowers I had, and the result was beautiful. It will grow in full sun or full shade and in the poorest of soils. I have even had it grow up between the cracks of asphalt paving. It makes a wonderful, bright filler between annuals and perennials. It can even be grown on rocky slopes and walls!

Feverfew self seeds readily, yet has a weak root system and pulls easily, making it easy to control. In some areas it is considered a noxious weed. Yet, I like it as a good filler in borders and along paths. After blooming, the flowers turn brown, but if you cut the plant back by half it will bloom again, giving flowers until frost. I never tire of its pretty little flowers. They resemble a cross between a chrysanthemum and a daisy. Feverfew survives my zone 5a winters. In the spring, when the snow has melted, the plants are still there, semi-green. I just trim back the previous years growth to roughly 3 inches.

Propagation is simple. Stem cuttings can be stuck in the ground, or in pots, in the spring and early summer. Since it self seeds so easily, there is always an abundance of young plants to be moved. They transplant easily. Mature plants can be divided as well, although, if done on a sunny day they may wilt, they bounce back readily. Seeds can be winter sown, or started early in a greenhouse or on a windowsill..

This is one of my most requested perennials. Almost everyone that stops to look at my gardens wants a few of these plants. They do not require any special attention making them perfect in any garden. Drought-tolerant, they would be a nice addition to any garden in an area where watering restrictions occur. They come in single or double varieties, both equally beautiful.

Consider ffeverfew the next time you are shopping for a new perennial. These attractive, versatile, easy to grow plants are often overlooked. They are one of my favourites, maybe they will become one of yours as well.

Photo credits go to, bemidjigreen and poppysue. The last one is mine….



  • Feverfew grows naturally throughout Europe and North and South America.
  • Historically, people have used feverfew for fevers, headaches, constipation, diarrhea, difficulty in labor, and dizziness.
  • Today, people use feverfew as a dietary supplement for migraine headache prevention, problems with menstruation, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus (ringing or roaring sounds in the ears), dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and for intestinal parasites. Topically, people use it as a skin cleanser to reduce or prevent skin infections and for toothaches.
  • The dried leaves—and sometimes flowers and stems—of feverfew are made into capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts, and teas.

How Much Do We Know?

  • Only a few studies have looked into feverfew’s use for migraine headache. There’s little or no evidence about feverfew for any other health conditions.

What Have We Learned?

  • Some research suggests that feverfew may help to prevent migraine headaches, but results have been mixed. However, evidence-based guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society suggest that a feverfew extract may be effective and should be considered for migraine prevention.
  • There’s not enough evidence to know if feverfew helps other conditions.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • No serious side effects have been reported from feverfew. Side effects can include nausea, digestive problems, and bloating; if the fresh leaves are chewed, sores and irritation of the mouth may occur.
  • People who take feverfew for a long time and then stop taking it may have difficulty sleeping, headaches, anxiety, and stiff and painful muscles.
  • Do not take feverfew while pregnant because it may affect uterine contractions.
  • Handling the plant may cause skin irritation.

Keep in Mind

  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Harvesting Feverfew Herbs: How To Harvest Feverfew Plants

Although not as well known as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, feverfew has been harvested since the time of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians for a myriad of health complaints. The harvesting of feverfew herb seeds and leaves by these early societies was thought to cure everything from inflammation, migraines, insect bites, bronchial diseases and, of course, fevers. Today, it is once again becoming a staple in many perennial herb gardens. If one of these gardens is yours, read on to find out how and when to harvest feverfew leaves and seeds.

Feverfew Plant Harvesting

A member of the Asteraceae family along with its cousin’s sunflowers and dandelions, feverfew has dense clusters of daisy-like flowers. These blooms perch atop stalks over the bushy, dense foliage of the plant. Feverfew, native to southeastern Europe, has alternate yellowish-green, haired leaves that, when crushed, emit a bitter aroma. Established plants attain a height of between 9-24 inches.

Its Latin name Tanacetum parthenium is partially derived from the Greek “parthenium,” meaning “girl” and alluding to another of its uses – to soothe menstrual complaints. Feverfew has an almost ridiculous number of common names including:

  • ague plant
  • bachelor’s button
  • devil daisy
  • featherfew
  • featherfoil
  • feather fully
  • flirtwort
  • maid’s weed
  • midsummer daisy
  • matricarialn
  • Missouri snakeroot
  • nosebleed
  • prairie dock
  • rainfarn
  • vetter-voo
  • wild chamomile

When to Harvest Feverfew Leaves

Feverfew plant harvesting will take place in the plant’s second year when the flowers are in full bloom, around mid-July. Harvesting feverfew herbs when in full bloom will produce a higher yield than an earlier harvest. Take care not to take more than 1/3 of the plant when harvesting.

Of course, if you’re harvesting feverfew seeds, allow the plant to bloom completely and then gather the seeds.

How to Harvest Feverfew

Prior to cutting back feverfew, spray the plant down the evening before. Cut the stems, leaving 4 inches so the plant can regrow for a second harvest later in the season. Remember, don’t cut more than 1/3 of the plant or it might die.

Lay the leaves flat out on a screen to dry and then store in an airtight container or tie feverfew in a bundle and allow to dry hanging upside down in a dark, ventilated and dry area. You can also dry feverfew in an oven at 140 degrees F. (40 C.).

If you are using feverfew fresh, it’s best to cut it as you need it. Feverfew is good for migraines and PMS symptoms. Supposedly, chewing a leaf at the first sign of symptoms will rapidly ease them.

A word of caution: feverfew tastes quite noxious. If you don’t have the stomach (taste buds) for it, you might try inserting it into a sandwich to mask the flavor. Also, don’t eat too many fresh leaves, as they cause blistering of the mouth. Feverfew loses some of its potency when dried.


Feverfew tea has long been a folk medicine for not only bringing down a fever, but also to relieve the symptoms of a migraine headache. Feverfew is easy to grow in most regions of the United States, and the leaves can be used for tea either in the fresh or dried state. Feverfew can be grown at home or is available in most health food stores or herbal medicine shops.

Chop or tear the leaves of fresh feverfew into small pieces.

Place 1 tsp. of leaves into a tea ball. Set the tea ball into a drinking cup.

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the tea ball.

Allow the tea to steep for five minutes.

Remove the tea ball, and drink while the tea is still warm.


  • You can also use the flowers to make the tea, but more research has been done on the use of leaves.

  • Feverfew grows in most any type of soil, but prefers a loamy and dry environment. Freeze the seeds for one week before planting. Harvest only the top 6 to 8 inches of the plant.

  • Feverfew is also available in tinctures, syrups, capsules and tablets at most health food stores.

  • The fresh leaves of feverfew can be eaten in moderation to serve the same purpose as the tea.

  • Feverfew has also shown promise for use as an antispasmodic.

  • Folk remedies have claimed that feverfew is good for relieving the suffering of arthritis, but studies have not confirmed this belief.

Using everything in your garden at the right time, in an exciting way, is always a challenge. That’s why I’m enjoying this new book by Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis, owners of the landscape design firm Homestead Design Collective in San Francisco. Called “Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants”, the book has a plethora of ideas for using what’s in your garden—or even backyard—throughout the year. There are projects for fragrances, floral arrangements, beauty products, and even cocktails. It’s really useful.

I especially love this recipe for dried feverfew tea bundles with rosemary and mint. Not only are the bundles beautiful while drying, but you can never have too much dried herbal tea in the house! Feverfew is packed with vitamin A and C as well as iron and niacin. As the name suggests, it can be used to relieve fevers. It also helps dull headaches and calm anxiety. Rosemary and mint, meanwhile, add that refreshing, cooling flavor you want in a warm-weather tea. You could easily ice this recipe on an especially hot day, too. XXJKE

What is feverfew?

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is a perennial plant belonging to the daisy family which grows in much of Europe, North America and Canada. It has been used in herbal remedies for centuries.

Can feverfew help with migraine?

Feverfew is used as a preventive (or prophylactic) treatment for migraine. A number of people have reported that after taking feverfew their migraine attacks have gradually become less frequent and in a few cases have stopped altogether, but evidence regarding benefit is conflicting.

When the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) reviewed all treatments for migraine (in 2012 and 2016), they did not recommend Feverfew as a migraine preventive. They found that the studies looking at its effect were of low quality and had serious limitations, which meant they could did not find evidence required to make a recommendation.

Does feverfew have any side effects?

Feverfew should not be taken during pregnancy as it can cause contractions. As feverfew is similar to aspirin and other NSAIDs such as ibruprofen, it is probably best not to take both at the same time. As with aspirin feverfew should not be taken if you are breast feeding.

Some people find that feverfew can cause mouth ulcers and minor skin irritations. There have been no reported effects on heart rate, blood pressure or weight.

If you decide to stop taking feverfew it is best to decrease the amount you take gradually to phase it out slowly. Some people who have suddenly stopped taking it after several years have experienced a return of their previous level of migraines along with other symptoms such as nausea, anxiety and insomnia. This is known as “feverfew rebound syndrome”.

As with any herbal remedy, it is advisable to consult your own doctor or herbalist before starting treatment.

Useful contacts if you would like to know more about Feverfew

  • Association of Master Herbalists
  • European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association
  • International Register of Consultant Herbalists and Homeopaths
  • National Institute of Medical Herbalists
  • Unified Register of Consultant Herbalists

Feverfew, or Chrysanthemum parthenium, is a perennial herb with tiny, off-white flowers. You can dry and use the flowers to make tea, or dry or freeze the leaves to add to food. Feverfew has been sought after for its medicinal uses since ancient times. The plant has been used to reduce pain associated with migraines and insect bites. Feverfew has also been used for asthma, bronchitis, delirium tremens (withdrawal from alcoholism), rheumatoid arthritis, colds and fever (of course). Harvesting and preserving feverfew is quite simple.

Hose down the feverfew plants the evening before you plan to harvest them. A gentle spray of water will help to clean the plants.

Cut the feverfew when the flowers are in full bloom. Harvesting feverfew at full bloom produces a slightly higher herb yield than harvesting during early bloom. Cut no more than one-third of the plant so that the entire plant doesn’t die.

Tie the feverfew bundle at its stems with some twine and hang the bundle upside down to dry it. Feverfew will dry out best in a dark, airy and dry place.

Rapid dry the feverfew at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or field dry it at 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Field drying is simply hanging the feverfew upside down in a warm, dry room, and is usually your most practical choice.

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