Widespread pain reliever profile of a flower extract of Tanacetum parthenium

Phytomedicine. 2015 Jul 15;22(7-8):752-8. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2015.05.006. Epub 2015 May 27.


Background: Tanacetum parthenium L., commonly called Feverfew, is known for anti-inflammatory and anti-migraine properties.

Purpose: Aimed to individuate new therapeutical strategies to control acute and persistent pain induced by different origins we tested two hydroalcoholic extracts obtained from Feverfew flowers and leaves, respectively.

Study design: Extracts were characterized according to the European Pharmacopoeia monograph. Both the extracts were tested after acute per os administration in the dose range 30-1000 mg kg(-1). The anti-nociceptive properties were evaluated by the Writhing test in mice.

Results: The number of abdominal contractions was dose dependently reduced by the flower extract. It reduced mechanical hypersensitivity (Paw pressure test) related to the acute inflammatory phase induced by carrageenan similarly to diclofenac and ibuprofen. In the osteoarthritis model induced by intra articular injection of monoiodoacetate (MIA) the flower extract significantly increased the pain threshold peaking 30 min after treatment. Moreover, it was effective in the chronic constriction injury model of neuropathic pain showing activity similar to the anti-epileptic drug gabapentin. The flower extract activity was confirmed in rat models of chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain. The mechanical hypersensitivity induced by repeated treatments with the anticancer drug oxaliplatin and with the antiviral dideoxycytidine was significantly reduced after a single injection of Feverfew flower extract. The leaf extract showed lesser efficacy and potency and it was devoid of any effect in carrageenan-, MIA- and chemotherapy-induced pain.

Conclusion: The present Feverfew flower extract behaves as a potent pain reliever in acute, inflammatory, articular and neuropathic pain. It appears as a natural strategy potentially suitable for the treatment of different kinds of pain.

Keywords: Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy; Feverfew; Neuropathic pain; Osteoarthritis; Pain; Parthenolide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Flowers / chemistry*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Tanacetum parthenium / chemistry*


  • Analgesics
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Plant Extracts