Can Butterbur Be A Solution for Migraines?In a dreamworld migraineurs would not have migraines at all.  If you can’t cure your migraine headache, cutting down the number of migraine attacks they get would of cause be a great improvement. If it could be done with butterbur, and without synthetic pharmacologicals, it would be even better.


If you suffer from migraines, take a look and meet butterbur (Petasites hybridus).  Butterbur is a shrub native to southwestern Asia, Europe, and northern Africa.  It is not what’s above ground that makes it interesting though, it’s the root.  Several studies have shown that daily doses of extract of butterbur root reduced the frequency of migraine episodes by approximately 50% in almost 80% of the participants.

Butterbur is used in Europe and Asia, but only in the last decade have American doctors looked at it as a viable herbal preventative for migraineurs.  Double blind, placebo-controlled studies conducted in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 all confirmed the herb’s efficacy.

Migraine frequency reduction ranged from 37% – 62% among study participants, with almost no side effects.  The only side effect reported was minor gastrointestinal upset, and that was in a small portion of both the herb and placebo groups.  Butterbur is currently considered to be safe, as of this writing, to take with other migraine medications.  A healthcare professional should always be included in the decision to add herbal products to any treatment regimen.

Crude butterbur contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs).  These alkaloids are known to be toxic in humans, particularly to the liver.  When choosing butterbur, make sure the product is labeled PA-free.

The amount of alkaloids in butterbur root is minimal, less than 0.01% concentration.  Most butterbur treatment regimens recommend taking the supplement for a maximum of for to six months.  If migraine frequency increases, it is safe to take again for another 4-6 months, but at least a month needs to separate each course of treatment.