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Untitled-2Butterbur has been used as a folk medicine for over 2,000 years. It is a perennial shrub that is native to North America, Europe, and Southeastern Asia, and is usually found along rivers and streams and in damp forests and marshy areas. Since the middle of the 20th century, western science has taken interest in Butterbur as a remedy for couch, seasonal allergies, asthma and allergic skin conditions without the drowsiness and other side effects associated with taking antihistamine. The usage of Butterbur that has displayed the most promise, however, is in the prevention of migraine headaches. Although butterbur has proven medicinal properties, it is considered a natural product in the United States and the United Kingdom, and is available as an herbal supplement. In Germany, however, butterbur requires a doctor’s prescription.

Butterbur was used by the ancient Greeks to treat asthma. In Medieaval Europe, infusions of butterbur roots or leaves were a remedy for treating coughs, hoarseness, bronchial infections, and urinary tract complaints and to expel intestinal worms. It was given to lower fever and calm intestinal ailments.

Petasin and isopetasin are the active ingredients that are believed to have calcium-blocking properties similar to magnesium and drugs such as diltiazem and amlopine. All of which are used to prevent migraine. This works by reducing spams in small arteries in the body and brain. It also has anti-inflammatory effects that inhibit leukotrienes, which are inflammatory substances potentially involved in the development of migraines.


A 1993 and 1995 study concluded there were statistical improvements on patients using butterbur than the placebo group.  




Migraine Frequency Without Treatment

Migraine Frequency After Third Month of Treatment











In 2004 study was repeated with larger doses of administered. This was a double blind randomized clinical trail of butterbur extract. 202 migraine sufferers participated. The participants experienced two to seven migraines attacks a month. Three groups were formed:  
        Group A received 75 mg of butterbur extract twice a day
        Group B received 50 mg of butterbur extract twice a day
        Group C received placebo

After 4 months 68% of the subjects received in group A obtained at least a 50% reduction in migraine frequency. Group B had a 32% decrease. Greater results were found towards the end of the study. As with most natural remedies 3 to 6 months of use is typically required to reach maximum impact.

Native to the Northern Hemisphere, the vast majority of the world’s supply is wild-harvested in eatern Europe and sold as herbal supplements.
    Extract: A consistent amount of the main active compounds is desirable. Look for products that guarantee a minimum if 7.5 mg of petasin and isopetasin. When purchasing butterbur products, be sure to choose a brand labeled PA-Free. This means the product was processed to remove potentially harmful or toxic chemicals found in the butterbur plant known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). The special butterbur extract is prepared by having all liver-toxic alkaloids removed.

The dosage fro butterbur extract is usually 50 or 75 mg twice a day. For children ages 10 to 12 25mg twice a day. Infrequent side effects with butterbur include stomach pain, nausea and burping.

Common Names: Butterbur
Latin Name: Petasites hybridus
Parts Used: Leaves, rhizomes
Therapeutic Use: Migraine Headaches, seasonal allergies

Dr. Gregory Jean-Pierre of Upper Cervical Institute of Florida in Boca Raton, FL is an Upper Cervical Chiropractor trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). His upper cervical clinic focuses on helping women with migraines. He is uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems. More information can be found on their website at or follow on Facebook at

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