Butterbur is a plant extract used in alternative remedies. But what are its health benefits and are there any risks involved in using it?
Butterbur comes from a shrub that grows in Europe, Asia, and parts of North America, and is available as a natural remedy in many health food stores and pharmacies. It is most commonly used to treat migraines and hay fever, although it has a number of other potential uses.
This article explores the different uses and health benefits of butterbur. It also looks at the risks and considerations when taking this herbal supplement.
Contents of this article:
What is butterbur?
The proper name for the butterbur plant is petasites hybridus. It grows best in wet marshland, damp forest soil, or on riverbanks.
The name butterbur is thought to come from the fact that its large leaves were traditionally used to wrap butter and stop it from melting in summer.
Butterbur extract is taken from the leaf, roots, or bulb of the plant.
The use of butterbur to treat ailments can be traced back to the Middle Ages when it was used to fight the plague. Over the centuries it has been used to treat a range of conditions, including:
Today it is most commonly used to treat:
Uses of butterbur
This section explores the modern day uses of butterbur and the scientific evidence available to support them.
The most popular use of butterbur is in the treatment of migraines and headaches. Scientific research shows that this use is well-founded.
A 2011 review found butterbur to be a safe and effective treatment for migraines, especially at high doses.
Researchers noted that the exact way butterbur works to relieve migraines is unknown. However, they believe it has to do with the anti-inflammatory effects of the active components.
A 2012 review conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society found that butterbur is effective for migraine prevention.
The review recommends that butterbur should be offered to people who experience migraines to reduce the frequency and severity of their attacks.