What other names is Butterbur known by?
Blatterdock, Bog Rhubarb, Bogshorns, Butter Bur, Butterburr, Butter-Dock, Butterfly Dock, Capdockin, Chapelière, Contre-Peste, Exwort, Flapperdock, Feuille de Pétasite, Fleur de Pétasite, Grand Bonnet, Herbe à la Peste, Herbe aux Teigneux, Japanese Butterbur, Japonica Petasites, Langwort, Pestwurz, Pétasite, Pétasite du Japon, Pétasite Hybride, Pétasite Japonaise, Pétasite Officinal, Pétasite Vulgaire, Petasites, Petasites hybridus, Petasites officinalis, Petasitidis Folium, Petasitidis Rhizoma, Petasitidis hybridus, Petasites Japonicus, Petasites Vulgaris, Plague Root, Purple Butterbur, Racine de Pétasite, Rhizome de Pétasite, Tussilago hybrida, Umbrella Leaves.
What is Butterbur?
Butterbur is an herb. People use the leaf, root, and bulb to make medicine. Some butterbur preparations contain chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which can damage the liver
and cause other serious harm. Only butterbur products that are certified and labeled "PA-free" should be used.
Butterbur is used for pain
, upset stomach
, stomach ulcers, migraine
and other headaches
, ongoing cough
, chills, anxiety
, plague, fever
, trouble sleeping (insomnia
), whooping cough
, hay fever
(allergic rhinitis), and for irritable bladder and urinary tract spasms. Butterbur is also used to stimulate the appetite.
Some people apply butterbur to the skin to improve wound
Possibly Effective for...
- Preventing migraine headaches. Taking butterbur by mouth seems to prevent migraine headache. Using a specific extract from the butterbur root over 16 weeks can reduce the number and severity of migraine headaches and the length of time they last. This butterbur extract seems to reduce the number of migraine headaches by almost half. Doses of at least 75 mg twice daily seem to be necessary for best results. Lower doses of 50 mg twice daily may not be effective in adults. There is also some evidence that this butterbur extract can decrease the frequency of migraine headaches in children aged 6-17 years. The butterbur extract researchers used was standardized to 15% petasin and isopetasin (the active ingredients in butterbur) and was free of liver-damaging chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). It was made by Petadolex, Weber&Weber, GmbH & Co. of Germany.
- Hay fever caused by grass pollen. Taking a specific butterbur leaf extract seems to decrease nose discomfort in people with hay fever. Some evidence also suggests that this extract might be as effective as 10 mg per day of cetirizine (Zyrtec) or 180 mg per day of fexofenadine (Allegra). The leaf extract used in the research was made by Tesalin, Ze 339, Zeller AG, was free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), and was standardized to 8 mg total petasin, an active ingredient.
- Mental illnesses that cause physical pain (somatoform disorders). A study found that taking a product containing butterbur, valerian root, lemon balm leaf, and passionflower reduces anxiety and depression in people with physical pain.
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Skin inflammation (dermatitis). Some research found that taking butterbur extract did not reduce skin inflammation caused by allergies.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of butterbur for these uses.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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