Migraine Prevention: Feverfew
Research shows that feverfew is about as effective as migraine prevention medications.
It can also be used during a migraine for immediate relief. However, the research is mixed.
Four reasons why feverfew is a powerful migraine treatment:
1. In a four-month study of 170 migraine patients, completed in 2005, migraine attack frequency was reduced by 40 percent (study link).
Not bad. A strong preventive medication such as topiramate is found to reduce migraine attack frequency by 39 percent, but comes with horrendous side effects (study link).
2. A 2011 study found that a mixture of feverfew and ginger could produce migraine relief (pain free or mild headache) within two hours of experiencing a migraine in 63 percent of patients (study link).
This is a high success rate, but it should be noted that ginger is a more effective acute migraine treatment.
3. Feverfew has been used by modern medicine since the 1980s, when a study found that it reduced migraine frequency and severity (study link).
4. Ancient Greeks used feverfew for fevers and “hot inflammations” (study link).
Here are three studies that question the use of feverfew:
1. In a 2002 study of 147 patients with migraines, a C02 extract of feverfew was not a statistically significant migraine treatment.
However, a subgroup of patients with a high frequency of migraines did have a significant reduction in migraines compared to the placebo (study link).
It’s possible that the C02 extraction made feverfew less effective than natural feverfew.
2. A 2004 review of five studies, with a total of 343 patients, reported that there was insufficient evidence to conclude whether feverfew is superior to a placebo in migraine treatment (study link).
3. A 2015 follow-up study of the review above found that a 2005 study (mentioned previously) provides more robust evidence that feverfew is a possible migraine treatment; however, more studies are needed to confirm this evidence (study link).
The review noted that feverfew is not associated with any major safety concerns.
While more research is needed on feverfew, the 2005 study of 170 migraine sufferers proves that feverfew will help many migraine sufferers.
It is common for very little research to be conducted on natural herbs. They simply don’t make enough money to have the huge placebo-controlled trials that pharmaceutical companies do.
There are also many migraine sufferers who have claimed complete remission from pure feverfew leaves, such as Nature’s Way Feverfew Leaves.
Feverfew is a top migraine treatment. As with any supplements, check with your doctor before using feverfew and make sure to purchase from a reliable company because many supplements are fake (NYT article).