Butterbur. Natural Supplement for Allergy Relief and Overall Wellness

Updated: 11/17/23

If you’re looking for an all-natural supplement to relieve your seasonal allergies or boost your overall wellness, you should consider butterbur. This ancient root extract has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries and is recognized today as a certified nutritional supplement with numerous beneficial qualities. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, butterbur not only can provide relief from the itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing and congestion associated with allergy season but may also hold other benefits such as improved mental focus, reduced stress levels and enhanced digestive health. Read on to learn more about this unusual root and discover the potential benefits of incorporating butterbur into your daily routine.

What is Butterbur?

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus), also known as bog rhubarb, exwort, or umbrella plant, is a perennial shrub that grows up to 2 meters tall. The plant’s large green leaves are reminiscent of a rhubarb plant and can measure up to 70cm in diameter. Butterbur plants bloom from February to April and produce pinkish-white flowers that resemble those of a daisy. Its healing properties are derived from the plant’s roots, which contain active compounds such as petasin and isopetasin.

Butterbur is a plant that grows in Europe, Asia, and North America. It has large leaves and produces small flowers that look like daisies. The roots, leaves, and flowers of the plant have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Butterbur is petasites hybridus, and it’s closely related to the sunflower and ragweed.

One of the most interesting things about butterbur is that it contains compounds called petasins. Petasins shows to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Inflammation is a natural process in the body that helps fight infection and heal wounds, but when it becomes chronic, it can lead to a variety of health issues. By reducing inflammation, petasins can help with conditions such as migraines, allergies, and asthma.

Benefits of Butterbur

If you’re looking for a safe and effective way to reduce muscle spasms and tension headaches, without resorting to opiates or addictive medications, read on to discover the benefits of Butterbur.

Breathe Easy and Say Goodbye to Migraines

Butterbur has been proven to be effective in treating chronic headaches and migraines. It contains a chemical called petasin, which shows to reduce inflammation in blood vessels. This, in turn, reduces pressure on the brain and alleviates migraine headaches. Butterbur is also useful in treating patients with asthma or allergic rhinitis by relaxing the smooth muscle tissues in the bronchioles and throat.

Reduced Inflammation

The petasin in Butterbur, mentioned above, also helps in reducing inflammatory responses in the body; this makes it effective against conditions such as allergies, asthma, and arthritis. Butterbur can also provide pain relief and reduce inflammation throughout the body thanks to its antispasmodic and antihistamine properties.

Eases Muscle Spasms

Butterbur contains magnesium and calcium, which help relax muscle contractions and ease chronic muscle spasms. A clinical study found that Butterbur can help alleviate the symptoms of muscle spasms in individuals with spinal cord injuries. In addition, Butterbur can help reduce muscle pain and stiffness, promoting flexibility, and mobility in the limbs.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Many health issues arise from inflammation in the body. It is rich in flavonoids and antioxidants which can help to reduce inflammation in the body. This makes it an effective solution for ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even as a protective agent against some cancers by reducing cancer-related inflammation in animal studies.

Migraine Relief

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from migraine headaches regularly, butterbur may be just the thing for you. A clinical trial published in Neurology concluded that taking 50-75mg of butterbur twice a day can significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks. This was a confirmation in a meta-analysis by the American Headache Society which published similar results.

Digestive Aid

It has been used for centuries to help with digestive problems. It contains potent antioxidants which help to improve gut health by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. This powerful herb also stimulates the liver and increases bile production, which ultimately aids digestion. In conclusion, it can help to reduce symptoms of nausea, indigestion, and gall bladder problems.

Controlling Urinary Tract Symptoms

For those experiencing bladder issues, particularly related to the prostate gland in men, butterbur supplements can be very beneficial. A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic showed that taking supplements can help to improve urinary tract symptoms.

Reduced Anxiety

It has a soothing effect that can help reduce anxiety levels significantly. Studies have found it effective in relieving anxiety. It’s not only the calming effect that butterbur has, but also its power to support brain health and increase attention and memory retention 

Improves Sleep Quality

Chronic conditions like muscle spasms and headaches can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. However, studies suggest that butterbur can help improve sleep quality by reducing stress, relaxing the body, and easing muscle tension. As mentioned earlier, butterbur also has natural calming properties that can promote better REM sleep.

All-natural Supplement

Many people want to live a more natural lifestyle, which makes butterbur an excellent choice for those who are looking to use natural supplements. It is derived from a natural plant source and is free of synthetic chemicals. As a result, it’s one of the safest herbs for both adults and children.

butterbur benefits

Side Effects of Butterbur

Liver Damage

One of the most concerning side effects of butterbur is liver damage. The plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can be toxic and cause damage to the liver. In some studies, it shows that taking butterbur supplements for extended periods of time can increase the risk of liver damage. Furthermore, some supplements may not be properly purified, which means that they may contain higher levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider before taking butterbur, especially if you have a history of liver disease.

GI Disturbances

Another common side effect of butterbur is gastrointestinal disturbances. Taking butterbur supplements can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These side effects are not very severe, but they can be inconvenient, especially if you are using butterbur to treat your migraines or allergies. Nevertheless, if you notice any persistent or worsening symptoms, you should stop taking butterbur and speak to your healthcare provider.

Drowsiness and Headaches

Consumption of it can lead to drowsiness or sedation, which can be a problem if you’re planning to drive, operate heavy machinery or perform mentally-demanding tasks. Other common side effects include headaches, which can range from mild to severe. If you experience these symptoms, consult your doctor to determine the right course of action.

Allergic Reactions

Some people may have an allergic reaction to butterbur, especially if they are allergic to other plants in the daisy family, such as ragweed, marigolds, or dandelions. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching, hives, swelling, coughing or difficulty breathing. In severe cases, an allergic reaction can also cause anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition. It is important to seek emergency medical care if you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction after taking butterbur.

Drug Interactions

It may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners, antihistamines, antidepressants, and pain relievers. Taking butterbur supplements and these medications together can increase the risk of side effects and complications. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking butterbur if you are currently taking any prescription medications or if you have a history of any medical conditions.

Other Possible Side Effects

Other side effects include tremors, blurred vision, and constipation. Although these side effects are not as serious as those mentioned above, they can still impact your daily routine.

Can Butterbur Cause Hair Loss

it is important to note that the link between butterbur and hair loss is not fully understood yet. The mechanism by which butterbur may cause hair loss is not clear, but some theories suggest that it could be due to its effects on hormones or the immune system. In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, it was found that people who took butterbur supplements experienced a decline in levels of sex hormones, which are known to be involved in hair growth. This decline could potentially affect the hair follicles and lead to hair loss.

How to Use Butterbur for Allergies

Studies have shown that butterbur is highly effective at combating allergies because it contains several compounds such as petasin and isopetasin. These compounds have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that help to reduce inflammation, coughing, sneezing and others. Butterbur can improve quality of life for people who experience allergies by reducing the symptoms and alleviating allergic reactions.

It can be taken in different forms such as capsules, tablets, tea, tincture or syrup. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, people may take up to 1,000 milligrams divided into 2-3 doses per day. However, it is critical to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consult with a healthcare provider before using this natural supplement to ensure proper precautions.


The recommended dosage for butterbur is 50-75 mg twice a day. Make sure to choose a butterbur supplement that has a label of “PA-free” to avoid a specific toxin.

Before taking butterbur, it’s important to talk to your doctor, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have liver disease. It shows to be safe for most people, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Also, you should not take butterbur if you’re allergic to plants such as ragweed, marigolds, daisies, or chrysanthemums.

The Bottom Line

Recent medical trials have proven it to be an effective preventative treatment for migraines. It offers relief from seasonal allergies, reduces inflammation and can lessen asthma symptoms. It also benefits heart and cognitive health.

Suppose you’re looking for an effective way to reduce muscle spasms and tension headaches without the side effects or addiction that come with traditional medications. In that case, Butterbur is an excellent option to consider. It is a natural, safe, and an alternative to over-the-counter painkillers and muscle relaxants. It has several benefits beyond reducing muscle spasms and tension headaches, including better respiratory and sleep health, making it a potent herb worth incorporating into your daily routine.

Because the herb comes in capsule form, it couldn’t be easier to add butterbur to your daily routine. You can take itr on its own or combine it with other herbs to see a marked improvement in many health conditions.

**The statements in this article have not been evaluated by the FDA. Supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent diseases- instead, they help maintain your long-term health.

Author: James D