Butterbur is an herb that grows along rivers, ditches, and marshy areas in Europe and parts of Asia and North America and is found in the daisy family Asteraceae in the genus Petasites, people use the leaf, root, and bulb to make medicine. Butterbur has been traditionally used as an antispasmodic and analgesic (pain reliever), specifically for conditions afflicting the stomach, bile ducts, and duodenum (part of small intestine). Butterbur is believed to help strengthen digestion and improve obstructed bile flow. Butterbur has also been given for inflammation of the urinary tract and cramps. Butterbur was used historically use to treat asthma, and initial human research suggests possible benefits. However, additional study is needed to make a firm recommendation.
Butterbur can be taken in several different forms. It can be eaten, given as a powder, in pill form, in tea or as a tincture. Studies show that Butterbur is currently most effective for the treatment of headaches and inflammation, severity of migraines and hay fever. It is important to note that Butterbur has not been proven to treat all allergies, only seasonal allergies which include itchy eyes and noses, sneezing, runny noses and nasal congestion.
Butterbur is generally used a health tonic to strengthen the heart and kidneys. Other traditional medical uses of Butterbur include treatment of urinary tract disorders, spasms, cough, gastrointestinal problems and cramping. Butterbur use can cause gastrointestinal disturbance to sensitive people. Butterbur use can also affect the production of testosterone in the body.
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.