7 Crazy Good Health Benefits  of
Butterbur

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March 24, 2016

By Ariadne Weinberg, Featured Columnist









Butterbur. The first time I heard the name, it sounded like a
kind of knight in shining armor. Knight Butterbur, of the
round table. Although butterbur has noble qualities, it is
actually simply a lovely little purple-ish plant, 4 inches to a
foot high, residing in marshes and bogs. It goes by other
nicknames too, including bog rhubarb, bogshorn, langwort,
and umbrella leaves. Its official name, however, actually has
to do with the fact that they used to wrap butter in its leaves
during warm weather in order to keep it cool. It was the
mini-fridge of yesteryear.

Its Latin name, "petasites petasus", is actually derived from
Greek and refers to a broad-brimmed hat that shepherds
used to wear.

Butterbur currently calls North Asia, Europe, and North
America home. Because it is native to Asia, it is considered an
“invasive species” on the other two continents.

However, this invading little bog rhubarb has been quite
beneficial to the humans in its adopted environment. In the
middle ages, butterbur root (also known as "petasites
hybridus") was used to alleviate infections and fevers, as
well as unsuccessfully used to treat the Black Death, which
killed upwards of 60% of Europe's population.

Later, butterbur was used successfully to treat cough,
congestion, and asthma. Butterbur has been historically
utilized as a dried powdered root mixed with wine to treat
the plague, fevers, and coughs.

In herb lore and folk medicine, the plant apparently had the
power to treat ulcerated or wounded skin.

Later, that benefit was discovered to be mostly false, but
current studies show that butterbur is still a potent force for
several modern ailments.

We have scoured scientific studies to collect the list  the
following Top 7 proven health benefits of butterbur:






























1.      
Treat Your Allergies without Falling Asleep

If you don’t want to sneeze or be stuffed up, its often good
to take allergy medications.

However, some of these medications can make you feel tired.

In 2002, Dr. Andreas Schapowal and researchers from The
Petasites Study Group  of the Allergy Clinic in Lanquart,
Switzerland, compared the treatments of traditional allergy
medicine with butterbur extract.

They observed a group of 125 hay fever (seasonal allergic
rhinitis) sufferers, all of whom had experienced allergies for
two or more years.

The first group of 61 patients was treated with one tablet of
butterbur extract (8 mg of the active ingredient, petasin),
four times per day.

The second group of 64 patients was treated with 10 mg of
cetirizine (the active ingredient in the medication Zyrtec),
one time per day. All 125 patients improved, according to
clinical examination.

Surprisingly, butterbur scored as well as cetirizine in
alleviating all symptoms. Additionally, the drowsiness and
fatigue experienced in 2/3rds of cetirizine users was non-
existent in those that took the butterbur extract.



2.      
Reduce Asthma Symptoms

Butterbur extract to the rescue again. Petadolex, taken from
the root of the plant, was analyzed by Dr. Ulrich.C. Danesch
at the University of Heidelberg, Germany in 2004.

For two months, 64 adults and 16 children took this extract,
followed by 2 months where its intake was optional. Other
asthma medication was permitted with it during the study.

At the end of the experiment, Dr. Danesch noted that the
duration and severity of the attacks decreased and
symptoms improved.

Furthermore, more than 40% of patients using asthma
medication at the start of the study reduced the intake of it
by the end of the study.

Dr. Danesch concluded were that butterbur is a safe and
effective treatment for asthma, allowing asthma-sufferers to
reduce symptoms as well as to reduce their dependence on
traditional medications.

Both asthma and bronchitis symptoms were reduced by
butterbur, because, as the study noted, butterbur probably
inhibits inflammation-causing leukotrienes. (Read more
about
natural remedies that reduce asthma attacks.)



3.      
Lower High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

If you are one of those people with high blood pressure, you
are probably hoping to find a way to slow down anxiety and
heartbeat and improve your health.

In 2001, GJ Wang from the National Research Institute of
Chinese Medicine observed the hypotensive effectiveness of
S-Petasin, extracted from petasites formosanus. They
discovered that it was completely effective, giving us a new
option for slowing down an over-accelerated body.  ( Read
more about
foods that lower your blood pressure.)



4.      
Reduce the Frequency of Migraines by 50%       

If you’ve ever experienced the intense pain, nausea, and
sometimes blackouts of
migraines, you know that it’s not
something you’d like to make into a regular activity. If it
were possible to totally eliminate migraines, it would be even
better.

Luckily, in 2000, a study from Dr. M. Grossman Schmidramsl
from the Municipal Hospital, in München-Harlaching,
Germany revealed that there is a way to significantly reduce
them: our friend, the bog rhubarb.

The study tested 60 adult patients, 33 of whom took 50 mg
of standardized butterbur two times daily, and 27 of whom
took a placebo.

At the onset of the experiment, patients suffered an average
of 3.3 migraines per month. After four weeks, those
supplemented with butterbur averaged only 1.8. And after
eight weeks, only 1.3, a 61% decrease.

By the end of the month, the number of headache days
experienced had dropped by 50%, from 3.4 to 1.7.



5.      
Lower Anxiety and Depression with Butterbur

How could something called “bogshorn” not cheer you up?
But for those dealing with real clinical symptoms, butterbur
has been shown to have great potential.

In 2009, 182 patients with somatoform disorders (mental
illness that causes bodily symptoms, including pain) were
tested by J. Melzer and researchers at the University hospital
in Zurich, Switzerland.  Two of the clinical parameters tested
were
depression and anxiety.

The researchers examined three different treatments: the
first was a mix of butterbur root, valerian root,
passionflower herb, and lemon balm; the second was a mix
of just valerian root, passionflower herb, and lemon balm;
and the third was a placebo.

The first mixture, containing the butterbur, proved to be
significantly superior in treating symptoms of anxiety and
depression.


6.      
Treat Gastro-intestinal Disorders

Butterbur has been used since the Middle Ages to treat
stomach problems.

Today, research has shown that it can still be effective. In
1993, Dr. K. Brune, from the University of Erlangen-
Numberg, looked at an ethanoic extract of petasites hybridus
(butterbur’s official name).

Dr. Brune found that butterbur blocked ethanol-induced
gastric damage and reduced ulcerations in the small intestine
caused by indomethacin. If your stomach is feeling really
bad, consult your doctor to see if any medicine containing
butterbur is available.



7.      
Go the Bathroom Less

If you feel like you are always running to the bathroom in
the middle of activities, here lies a possible cure.

Butterbur has the special power to relax your "detrusor
muscle", reducing pressure on it and therefore the
urge to
urinate. H.W. Bauer and U. Danesch (from the University of
Essen, Germany) conducted a study in 1995 where they
examined 24 women with overactive bladders.

The test subjects were given butterbur for eight weeks.
After only three weeks, 17 of them reported significant
reduction in the frequency of urination. While before they
needed to go to the bathroom every 30 to 90 minutes, after
three weeks, they only had to go every 90 to 150 minutes.

Controversy About Butterbur

There has been some controversy regarding butterbur,
saying that it is carcinogenic and hepatoxic (bad for the
liver).

Most studies have found that if you don’t use the plant
directly and find medication without pyrrolizidine alkaloids,
you should be fine. Make sure to look for products that are
labeled PA-free, and even after you find these, check the
dosage carefully.  











































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Butterbur helps reduce reliance on
asthma medications in 40% of
patients.