Parthenolide (PTL) is a multifunctional naturally occurring compound, isolated from Mexican Indian asteraceae family plants and has been widely used in native folk medical practices, including treatment of inflammation, stomach ache, tooth ache, menstrual irregularities, fever, rheumatoid arthritis and migraines due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Sesquiterpene lactones are secondary metabolites found in asteraceae family plants. PTL is the principal component of sesquiterpene lactones present in medical plants such as feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium). PTL contains an α-methylene-γ-lactone ring and an epoxide, both of which are able to interact readily with nucleophilic sites of biological molecules.
These functional groups can react with nucleophiles, especially with cysteine thiol groups in a Michael addition reaction. Being the primary bioactive component of feverfew, PTL is used as prophylactic treatment for migraine having positive therapeutic effects in clinical trials. PTL has anti-leishmaniasis properties too. Pareek et al. reported that feverfew has been used for psoriasis, allergies, asthma, tinnitus, dizziness and vomiting . PTL has also been reported to improve endotoxic shock and prevent inflammation in immune glomerulonephritis.