Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 300, Issue 2, pp 69–80 | Cite as

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

  • Katharine Martin
  • Runa Sur
  • Frank Liebel
  • Neena Tierney
  • Peter Lyte
  • Michelle Garay
  • Thierry Oddos
  • Mike Anthonavage
  • Stan Shapiro
  • Michael Southall
Original Paper


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.


Feverfew Flavonoids Oxidative stress Parthenolide Reactive oxygen species Inflammation 



Reactive oxygen species


Ultraviolet A


Ultraviolet B



We would like to acknowledge Devon Grote, Dara Miller and Judy Pinto for their technical contributions, and Claude Saliou for the helpful discussions on antioxidants. We would like to thank Dr. Lynne B. Harrison for guidance and discussion on the clinical erythema studies.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharine Martin
    • 1
  • Runa Sur
    • 1
  • Frank Liebel
    • 1
  • Neena Tierney
    • 1
  • Peter Lyte
    • 1
  • Michelle Garay
    • 1
  • Thierry Oddos
    • 2
  • Mike Anthonavage
    • 1
  • Stan Shapiro
    • 1
  • Michael Southall
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Johnson & Johnson Skin Research CenterCPPW, a unit of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.SkillmanUSA
  2. 2.Johnson & Johnson Skin Research CenterCPPW, a unit of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.Val de ReuilFrance
  3. 3.Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Personal Products WorldwideSkillmanUSA

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