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Anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, analgesic, antiproliferative, antipyretic, antimicrobial

Important Chemical Components:

Sesquiterpene lactones (especially parthenolide), sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes (e.g., pinenes), polyacetylene compounds, essential oil (including the terpenoid camphor and chrysanthenyl acetate in both the aerial and root essential oils; bornyl acetate), flavonoids (including tanetin, quercetin, apigenin, and luteolin), coumarins (e.g., isofraxidin), and melatonin1–4

Origin Classification:

This ingredient is natural. Organic forms exist. There are processed formulations available using feverfew with parthenolide removed. This puts the parthenolide-removed feverfew in a category known as “Active Naturals.”5

Personal Care Category:

Anti-inflammatory, appearance enhancing, soothing, moisturizing

Recommended for the following Baumann Skin Types:



Tanacetum parthenium, an aromatic perennial herb native to the Balkan peninsula and better known as feverfew, belongs to the Asteraceae or Compositae family and has long been used in traditional medicine (Table 66-1).6 The plant (also known by previous botanical names, including Chrysanthemum parthenium, Pyrethrum parthenium, Matricaria pyrethrum, and Matricaria parthenium)1,4,7 is now broadly dispersed throughout the world, primarily the northern hemisphere, and is particularly prolific in Iran and Turkey.2,3,8 The expression “feverfew” is believed to be a corruption of the word “febrifuge,” derived from the Latin febris (fever) and fugure (to drive away) to describe the antipyretic actions of the plant.1,2 Feverfew has long been cultivated for ornamental and medicinal purposes.9 The term “parthenium” is derived from the ancient Greek name for the plant bestowed, according to legend, because the plant was used to save the life of a worker who had fallen from the Parthenon during its 5th century BCE construction.6,10 Modern evidence of the anti-inflammatory properties of feverfew has been accruing over the last several decades and is now considered well established.11

TABLE 66-1Pros and Cons of Feverfew


For over 2,000 years, folk medicine has incorporated feverfew for internal use to regulate menstruation, assist in labor during childbirth, and treat fevers, headaches, and infertility; externally, it has been used as an analgesic.4,6 The first century CE Greek physician Dioscorides recommended feverfew for all inflammatory conditions.6,10 Known as aqhovan in Iran, the roots and rhizomes of feverfew have been used in Iranian traditional medicine to treat gastrointestinal disorders.2 Early European herbalists also used feverfew.9 The Kallaway people of the Andes mountains of South America have used feverfew to treat colic, stomach and kidney pain, as well as morning sickness.4 Native Mexican peoples have, ...

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