Parthenolide-depleted Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) protects skin from UV irradiation and external aggression

Arch Dermatol Res. 2008 Feb;300(2):69-80. doi: 10.1007/s00403-007-0818-x. Epub 2007 Dec 11.


The skin is under continual assault from a variety of damaging environmental factors such as ultraviolet irradiation and atmospheric pollutants, and as organisms age the cumulative damage exceeds the capacity of endogenous antioxidant defenses resulting in chronic inflammation and premature aging. Botanical extracts such as Feverfew containing naturally occurring antioxidants could replenish the depleted cutaneous stores and perhaps forestall these degenerative changes. A parthenolide-depleted extract of Feverfew (PD-Feverfew), which was free of sensitization potential, was found to possess free radical scavenging activity against a wide range of reactive oxygen species and with greater activity than Vitamin C. In vitro, PD-Feverfew restored cigarette smoke-mediated depletion of cellular thiols, attenuated the formation of UV-induced hydrogen peroxide and reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine release. In vivo, topical PD-Feverfew reduced UV-induced epidermal hyperplasia, DNA damage and apoptosis. In a clinical study PD-Feverfew treatment significantly reduced erythema versus placebo 24 h post-UV exposure. Through the ability to scavenge free radicals, preserve endogenous antioxidant levels, reduce DNA damage and induce DNA repair enzymes, which can help repair damaged DNA, parthenolide-depleted extract of Feverfew may protect skin from the numerous external aggressions encountered daily by the skin and reduce the damage to oxidatively challenged skin.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA Repair
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Erythema / etiology
  • Erythema / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Free Radical Scavengers / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / radiation effects
  • Hyperplasia / etiology
  • Hyperplasia / prevention & control*
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Hairless
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Sesquiterpenes / isolation & purification
  • Sesquiterpenes / metabolism
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / pathology*
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Swine
  • Tanacetum parthenium*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • parthenolide
  • Hydrogen Peroxide