Categories: Medicinal plants

6 Benefits of Butterbur herb and side effects

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6 Benefits of Butterbur Herb and side effects.

Seasonal allergies are often accompanied by a flurry of unpleasant symptoms. Sneezing, sniffling and itchy eyes are just some of the annoying side effects that come with the season.

If you’re like most, you’ve probably desperately reached for antihistamines to find quick relief from your allergies only to experience additional symptoms like drowsiness, dry mouth, or nausea.

Fortunately, there are natural allergy remedies, like the herb butterbur, that can help prevent symptoms without the unpleasant side effects.6 Benefits of Butterbur herb


Butterbur herb is good for more than just allergy season. It can be used year-round to relieve inflammation, prevent migraines, reduce asthma symptoms, and even protect the brain and heart from damage.

In the past, it was also used as a traditional treatment to help heal wounds, reduce symptoms of urinary tract infection, and fight fevers.

Available in a convenient capsule form, adding butterbur herb to your medicine cabinet can have a huge impact on your health and may even reduce your need for other medications.

Benefits of Butterbur Herb

1.- treats seasonal allergies

Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever or seasonal allergies, is an allergic response that produces symptoms such as sneezing and itchy eyes.


Although traditional treatment includes medications such as antihistamines, steroids, and decongestants, the herb butterbur can be an effective natural alternative to help reduce symptoms.

In one study, butterbur extract was shown to be significantly more effective in treating hay fever than placebo in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group comparison.

In another study, the effects of butterbur were compared to cetirizine, also known as Zyrtec, a drug used to treat seasonal allergies. Not only was butterbur as effective as cetirizine in improving symptoms, but it also produced fewer negative side effects, such as drowsiness and fatigue.

For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, butterbur can be a great option to help lessen symptoms and avoid the adverse side effects that can occur with traditional medications.

2.- Relieves migraines

If you’ve ever suffered from migraines, you’re probably all too familiar with the long list of migraine symptoms that come with them.

Throbbing pain, sensitivity to light and sound, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting are all common side effects when you have a migraine.

Fortunately, many natural remedies can help lessen symptoms. Butterbur herb extract has been shown to help naturally treat migraines.

In one study, the benefits of butterbur cut migraine frequency by 48 percent over a four-month treatment period. Another trial found similar results, showing that the herb decreased the number of migraines by 47 percent and was significantly more effective than a placebo.


Additional research focused only on children and adolescents who took butterbur and found that migraine frequency was reduced by 63 percent, and 91 percent still felt improvements four months after treatment.

If you suffer from frequent migraines, butterbur can be a great natural remedy to have on hand. You may also want to consider other natural remedies, such as feverfew, which have been shown to provide migraine relief as well.

3.- Reduces asthma symptoms

Asthma is a common problem throughout the world, affecting approximately 300 million people and accounting for 250,000 premature deaths each year.

Some evidence shows that the benefits of butterbur herb could be used in combination with traditional treatment to help improve asthma symptoms.

One study measured the effects of butterbur in 80 participants with asthma for four months. Not only did the severity, duration, and number of asthma attacks decrease, but symptoms also improved, and 40 percent of participants reduced their use of asthma medications.

An animal study also showed that butterbur has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat asthma.

Using butterbur, alone or with other asthma treatments, might help reduce asthma symptoms and severity while reducing the number of asthma attacks.

4.- Protects the brain

Interestingly, there is some evidence showing that butterbur might help keep your brain healthy and protect against oxidative damage.


Oxidative damage is caused by the buildup of damaging free radicals, compounds that form as a result of factors such as stress, pollution, and a poor diet. If antioxidants don’t neutralize free radicals, they can cause cell damage and even lead to chronic disease.

An animal study showed that the herb butterbur has a protective effect on the brain. It was able to prevent damage to the brain even after a neurotoxin was administered.


The herb butterbur also contains a plant compound called kaempferol, which is also found in foods such as broccoli,  Brussels sprouts, spinach, apples, and green tea. Kaempferol boasts a long list of health benefits and has even been shown to prevent oxidative damage to the brain.

Compounds found in butterbur may help keep your brain healthy and prevent degenerative brain disorders such as dementia and  Alzheimer’s disease.

5.- Promotes heart health

The herb butterbur is full of health-promoting compounds and antioxidants that can help improve your heart health and reduce certain risk factors for heart disease.

In an animal study, butterbur supplementation was shown to decrease total cholesterol,  bad LDL cholesterol, and oxidative stress in mice. Another animal study also found that it improved cholesterol concentrations and even reduced body weight and fat accumulation.

The kaempferol found in this herb may also benefit heart health. Several studies have shown that it can protect against heart damage caused by heart attacks.

6.- Reduces inflammation

Although inflammation is a normal response of the immune system, more and more emerging research shows that chronic inflammation may be at the root of many diseases. Inflammation is thought to contribute to diseases like obesity, cancer,  diabetes,  and heart disease.


The herb butterbur contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to prevent the buildup of inflammatory cells in the body. Kaempferol, one of the components found in butterbur, also contains anti-inflammatory properties.

An animal study showed that kaempferol reduced levels of inflammatory markers and reduced oxidative stress in mice.

According to these studies, pairing butterbur with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle may help decrease inflammation and prevent chronic disease.

How To Use Butterbur Herb

The herb butterbur is most commonly found as a supplement in capsule form and is widely available at most natural health stores, drug stores, and online retailers.

It is also found in some natural medicines, such as Petadolex. Petadolex is a medicine containing butterbur that is used to promote blood flow and prevent migraines.

Most studies show that butterbur is most effective when given in doses of 50 to 75 milligrams twice daily. You may want to start with a smaller amount and gradually increase your intake to assess tolerance.

Be aware that some butterbur-containing products may also contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), a type of chemical that can cause liver damage and other adverse side effects. If you have liver problems, avoid raw butterbur and look for butterbur-free products to avoid this harmful chemical.

Also, be sure to look for a trusted brand with minimal ingredients to ensure you’re getting the best quality possible.


The butterbur plant in dried form or extract can also be used to make an allergy-fighting tea.

Butterbur Herb Side Effects and Precautions

Although generally safe and well-tolerated, some people may want to avoid butterbur.

Some people may be allergic to this herb. Butterfly allergies are more common in those who are also sensitive to other plants in the same family, such as ragweed, daisies, marigolds, and chrysanthemums. If you experience symptoms such as hives, itching, or swelling of the throat, you should stop using immediately and talk to your doctor.

If you are pregnant or nursing, the use of butterbur is not recommended as its effects have not yet been studied. Also, although it is safe and effective for children, it should only be given to children under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

You should also make sure to only use products labeled certified PA-free to avoid liver damage and other negative effects. Consuming raw, unprocessed butterbur is not recommended for those with liver problems in particular, as these harmful chemicals have not been removed.

Common side effects of butterbur include headache,  diarrhea, fatigue, belching, and itchy eyes.

As always, if you experience negative side effects, you may want to lower the dosage or discontinue use and consult with your doctor.

Final Thoughts on Butterbur Herb Benefits

The butterbur herb has a long history of being used as a medicinal herb, treating everything from the plague to fevers and wounds.


Several recent studies have shown that it can effectively treat migraines, reduce seasonal allergy symptoms, protect the heart and brain, relieve inflammation, and lessen the severity of asthma.

It’s easy to add butterbur into your daily routine whether you’re using a supplement once or twice a day or brewing an occasional cup of butterbur tea.

Use alone or with other natural remedies in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle to help improve certain conditions and move toward better health.


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