Butterbur is a herb that comes from the butterbur plant (Petasites Hybridus), a perennial shrub that grows abundantly in many parts of North American, Europe, and Asia. It’s mostly found in marshy, wet, and damp soil, and along streams and rivers.
Butterbur has been traditionally used to treat plague, migraines, ulcers, asthma, allergies, wounds, and many skin infections. It’s best use, according to many trials and studies, is for allergy and migraine sufferers. Earlier, people used its roots for treatment, but with high levels of some potentially toxic ingredients, now its leaves are used in supplements.
How Butterbur works for controlling migraine attacks?
Butterbur contains substances isopetasin and petasin. They have properties that help reduce inflammation and spasms. These actions help in preventing migraines and also reduce many migraine related headaches.
Research on Butterbur and Migraine Headaches
In one 2003 study it was found that Butterbur works much better in relieving migraine headaches than an inactive placebo treatment. It was a 4 month study and I’m providing a breakdown of the patients involved. These migrainuers said they experienced less migraine attacks and the attack frequency reduced by:
- 37 percent with Butterbur 45 mg
- 48 percent with Butterbur 70 mg
- 27 percent with Placebo
Butterbur formulations available on the market
Butterbur is available as:
- Tinctures (it’s an alcoholic extract of plant leaves)
Butterbur Side effects and Precautions
Butterbur is a natural migraine remedy and is not a pharmaceutical drug, therefore, available data is limited on how well it works in a human body and its possible side effects. Currently there is no information on its effects if used for more than 15 weeks. Many studies found that all those who take Butterbur may experience some side effects. They are:
- Upset stomach
- Hair loss
- Skin or eye discoloration
- Depression or neurological disorders
- Skin and allergic reactions
- Itchy eyes
- Difficulty breathing or exhaling
- Halitosis, bad breath
- Discolored stool
- Possible increase in some liver enzymes
- Some users may experience a condition (reversible cholestatic hepatits) where bile fails to flow in a proper way from the liver due to blockage or swelling
Before using any natural remedy, it’s best to consult your doctor. Sometimes butterbur can interact with anything else you might be taking. Doctor will also be able to tell if it has dangerous impact on some health condition you have.
You must avoid Butterbur:
- If you’re consuming some agents that contains identical active ingredients as Butterbur, such as gravel root, borage and ragwort
- If you’ve plan to become pregnant, you’re pregnant, or nursing, avoid Butterbur
- If you’re on medications in the antispasmodic/anticholinergics class, which are used to relieve spasms or cramps in the stomach, bladder, and intestines.
- If you’ve congestive heart failure, liver disease, are on blood sugar lowering medications, barbiturates, or blood thinners.
- If you’re allergic to any plants in the Asteraceae/Compositae or P. hybridus family.
I hope this information will help some of my readers across the globe.