Health A-Z, Natural Home Remedies

Butterbur – The Plant That Combats Migraines, Headaches & Allergies

When you are plagued by migraines and headaches, the easiest solution seems to be pain relief medication. But the problem is that these drugs don’t treat the underlying cause, instead, they can make it worse
By taking pain relievers you are putting yourself at risk of experiencing: 

  • Hair loss
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Shakiness
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Impotence
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Unsteadiness
  • Visual changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Lowered blood pressure

And these are just a few of the most common side effects.
So, if you want a natural remedy that can relieve migraines, headaches, and seasonal allergies, then continue reading.

The Lesser-Known Solution

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is an herb most commonly used medicinally to prevent migraines and treat respiratory allergies, such as hay fever.

Though conventional antihistamines are effective at suppressing allergy symptoms, they can cause drowsiness and interact with other drugs, so some prefer to go a natural route.

In a 2002 Swiss study, nasal airflow increased nearly 100% in people who took this herb to treat congestion due to hay fever – part of why even some doctors recommend it over other remedies.

The big question: does butterbur work?

Around the world, about 1 in 12 men and 1 in 7 women experience the pulsing, throbbing pain of migraine headaches.

For more than half, these big headaches return with frightening regularity.

Related: What Do Your Headaches Say About Your Health?

How to use this herb?

To put a stop to recurring migraines or clear congestion due to respiratory allergies such as to pollen, mold or pet hair, I would recommend butterbur supplements containing standardized levels of the active ingredient petasin.

You should follow the dosing directions for the individual product, but in general, a good adult dose is 100 to 150 milligrams of this herb a day that provides 15 to 32 milligrams of petasin.

Only buy butterbur extracts labeled ‘PA-free.’ This means that harmful toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which raise risk for liver damage and even cancer, have been removed.

Butterbur is related to ragweed, so avoid this herb if you’re allergic to ragweed, marigolds, daisies or chrysanthemums.

How does it work?

A family of multitasking chemicals in butterbur accounts for this herb’s ability to dry up seasonal allergy symptoms and stop strong headaches before they start.

This includes a compound called petasin that helps relax smooth muscle, such as the muscle in artery walls, which can help prevent the blood vessel constrictions that lead to migraine pain.

Moreover, in a Swiss study of 580 allergy sufferers, 90% enjoyed symptom relief while taking this herb for 2 weeks during allergy season. And 8 in 10 said the herb made everyday life easier as a result.

Related: Anti-Allergy Beverages – Natural Remedies You Need

So, are you willing to try it out?

Do you know other natural remedies that can relieve you of migraines or allergies?

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below.

To your health!


  1. Lipton, R. B., et al. “Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine.” Neurology 63.12 (2004): 2240-2244.
  2. Käufeler, Robert, et al. “Efficacy and safety of butterbur herbal extract Ze 339 in seasonal allergic rhinitis: postmarketing surveillance study.” Advances in therapy 23.2 (2006): 373-384.
  3. Lewis, D. O., and M. D. Keister. “Is butterbur an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis?.” Journal of Evidence-Based Practice 20.11 (2017): 15.
  4. Chaturvedi, Mridula, and Abhishek Kumar Chaturvedi. “Conservative management of allergic respiratory illness in the light of Ayurveda & Plant Biotechnology: A literary review.” Indian Journal of Research in Pharmacy and Biotechnology 5.1 (2017): 9.

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