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How Effective Is Feverfew for Migraines?

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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Studies have shown that feverfew for migraines is effective in relieving the intensity of migraines and is considered safe. Migraine headaches can cause throbbing, excruciating, one-sided head pain and are more common in women than in men. It is thought that migraines are the result of fluctuating hormones, and by the time women reach menopause, the incidence of migraines dramatically decreases.

Taking feverfew for migraines also helps reduce inflammation because it is said to have aspirin-like properties. This anti-inflammatory benefit extends well beyond treating migraine headaches and may also help those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Since feverfew preparations are not considered drugs, they are not subject to government testing standards in the way that medications are. Therefore, it is imperative that a health care professional be consulted before beginning treatment with feverfew for migraines.

The standard feverfew dosage for migraine headaches between 100 mg and 300 mg, which can be taken up to four times per day. Feverfew for migraines can react negatively when combined with other medications, such as blood thinners. Taking feverfew in conjunction with aspirin or other anticoagulants may elevate the risk of abnormal bleeding. Also, feverfew might also interact with certain drugs that are metabolized by the liver. The health care provider should be told of prescription medications that are currently being taken.

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Although taking feverfew for migraines is usually well-tolerated, side effects can occur. Common side effects from taking feverfew include abdominal or stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and gas. Anxiety, vomiting, and oral ulcers also can occur. Users may also experience swelling of tongue, mouth, and lips. People who have known allergies to yarrow, chamomile or ragweed may also have allergies to feverfew, and therefore should avoid taking it.

People who have been taking feverfew for more than a week should not abruptly discontinue taking it. Doing so can cause rebound migraine headaches, joint pain, muscle stiffness, and nervousness. In addition, pregnant women, those who are breast feeding, and children younger than two should also avoid taking feverfew. If an individual who is taking feverfew is undergoing surgery, he should inform his health care provider because these supplements could interact with the anesthesia and may also cause an increase in bleeding.

It is not recommended that those suffering from migraine headaches rely solely on herbal remedies to bring relief. Migraine headaches are a serious medical condition and need to be medically evaluated so that the health care provider can recommend effective treatments and pursue further diagnostic testing if warranted. Migraine headaches might also be associated with serious neurological conditions that need to be ruled out before an effective treatment plan can be put forth.

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