Butterbur extract, from the root
of the butterbur shrub, was originally used in Europe in the Middle Ages to
treat plague and fevers. Although we don't completely understand the benefits
of butterbur, people frequently use it to treat coughs, asthma, headaches, and
stomach ulcers. The scientific name for butterbur is Petasites hybridus.
What is butterbur used for?
People commonly use
butterbur to treat coughs, asthma, hay fever, and stomach ulcers. Butterbur extract may prevent migraine
headaches.1 Doctors do not know exactly how butterbur
Migraine triggers can include foods, beverages, activities and exercise, medications, stress, sleep deprivation, hunger, odors, hormones, and other changes.
To help determine what triggers your migraines, print the list below. Then check the list for potential migraine triggers when you get the first signs of an attack. After a few weeks or months, review the checklist to see if you can find a pattern for your migraine triggers. While triggers can be tricky to determine, chances are that the items...
Butterbur is considered a dietary supplement
in the United States and is available under the brand name Petadolex.
Is butterbur safe?
When used properly, butterbur
extract is safe and well-tolerated. But it is not safe to use all formulas of
butterbur extract, since the plant contains cancer-causing substances. Make
sure you only use butterbur that has had the cancer-causing ingredients
removed. Talk to your doctor before you take butterbur, and ask him or her to
examine the specific brand you intend to use.
Side effects may
include mild upset stomach and gas. Experts do not recommend butterbur extract
for young children or women who are pregnant or nursing.
Lipton RB, et al. (2004). Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for
migraine. Neurology, 63(12): 2240-2244.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Marc S. Micozzi, MD, PhD - Complementary and Alternative Medicine
June 29, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this