For centuries, the leafy shrub known as butterbur has been gathered and used to support natural healing and wellness. In fact, it was one of the most sought after remedies to treat the symptoms of the plague in the Middle Ages. Natural health practitioners in the modern age still recommend the use of butterbur extract to support respiratory health, ease seasonal nasal discomfort and temporarily minimize headache pain. Read on to learn more about the potential benefits of this extract, as well as butterbur side effects you should be aware of before integrating it into your own supplement routine.
What is Butterbur Extract?
Butterbur or Petasites hybridus is a moderately-sized shrub that thrives in wet, moist climates across the northern regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Its large green leaves were once used to preserve butter throughout the warm summer months, earning it its most common name, butterbur. Depending on the region, butterbur is also commonly referred to as bog rhubarb, bladderdock, bogshorns, and plague weed.
Butterbur extract comes from the root, rhizomes, and leaves of the butterbur plant and has been well studied in the treatment of many health ailments such as asthma, migraines, bladder health, and hay fever. One of the reasons butterbur is considered a medicinal plant is because it contains a specific sesquiterpenoid called petasine, which relaxes blood vessels and supports healthy blood flow.
According to the University of Michigan, butterbur may be beneficial for people with migraines specifically, because “butterbur extracts have consistently been shown to reduce symptoms in people with migraines more effectively than placebo.”
Potential Butterbur Side Effects
Although butterbur can be potentially beneficial for a number of conditions, there are some butterbur side effects, such as liver toxicity, that you need to be aware of before taking a butterbur supplement. Butterbur naturally contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids or PAs, which have been shown to harm the liver and result in serious illness. Because of this, is not recommended to eat the plant in any unprocessed form such as teas.
However, there are many safe and processed butterbur products on the market that are free from PAs and safe for supplement use, just be sure to check any butterbur products before consumption to ensure that they are certified PA free.
Butterbur is typically well tolerated but has been shown to cause side effects such as headache, itchy eyes, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, fatigue, and drowsiness. Butterbur may also cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to plants like chrysanthemums, ragweed, marigolds, and daisies. Butterbur should only be given to children under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
Try These Butterbur Products For Yourself
If you’re ready to try butterbur, Natural Healthy Concepts is well stocked with a variety of supplements for your convenience.
For natural support and prevention in the fight against migraines, check out Petadolex from Integrative Therapeutics. Each 60 mg capsule supports healthy blood vessel relaxation in the brain, which may minimize the frequency of headaches.
For headache support on the go, check out Petadolex Fast-Acting softgels from Enzymatic therapy. Each herbal supplement contains pure, toxin-free butterbur for supporting natural migraine and headache pain relief.
If you’re looking to use butterbur to support bladder health, try Original Continence with Flowtrol from Solaray. This supplement contains cranberry extract as well as other herbal ingredients designed to smooth and relax muscle tissues and support normalized bladder strength and control.
Do you have any questions about butterbur side effects? Have you experienced the potential benefits of butterbur in your own health journey? If so, feel free to share your questions and thoughts for our team in the comments section below.