Petasites hybridus plant extract,
known as butterbur, has been used for years to prevent
migraineheadaches. Studies show it is effective at
reducing the frequency of migraines.1
Experts are not sure what causes migraines or how butterbur helps to prevent them. But some
research suggests that it may prevent swelling and relieve pressure on the
blood vessels. Another theory is that it may affect calcium channels, which
experts also believe may be related to migraines. More research is needed to
find out how butterbur helps prevent migraines.
In some people, certain foods and drinks -- or components they contain -- can trigger a migraine. One well-accepted migraine trigger is tyramine.
Tyramine is a substance found naturally in some foods. It's especially found in aged and fermented foods, such as:
Some types of beer
Also, foods high in protein may contain more tyramine if:
They have been stored for a long time
They have not been kept cold enough
Butterbur is available as a supplement (tablet or capsule). It is marketed under the brand name Petadolex. It is important
to find butterbur that has been standardized (which means you receive the same
amount of active ingredient in every dose) with guaranteed potency. Do not
consume butterbur from the plant itself because it has toxic properties, which
are removed in the standardized supplement.
Some people may
experience stomach upset, including gas, when they take butterbur. It is not
recommended for young children or for women who are pregnant or
Be sure to tell your doctor before you take
butterbur. Like any drug, it can interact with other medicines you are
taking or affect your health in ways you may not be aware of.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this