Jan 19 2015

Butterbur – Migraines


Butterbur: A Natural Remedy For Migraine Headaches

Use Butterbur For Your Headaches

Do you or a loved-one suffer from the effects of migraine headaches? Then you know how devastating they can be to the sufferer and to those around them. Migraine headaches are often so debilitating that they take away the desire to enjoy life. Sometimes people try to live through them because they cannot seem to stop them. Other times people seek medications from their physicians, but these have to be taken all the time to keep the migraines away.

This post focuses on an herb that may be of assistance to the migraine sufferer: It is called Butterbur (Petasites hybridus is its Latin name). The herbal components extracted from the root of the Butterbur plant are commonly used as a preventative for frequent migraine headaches. Butterbur is an effective anti-spasmodic and is used for other maladies such as asthma, allergies, headaches, and spasms. It works by smoothing and relaxing the muscle spasms and blood flow in the head and brain therefore decreasing inflammation.

Butterbur Double Blind Study


Butterbur for migraines

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)

According to Dr. Michael Tierra, O.M.D., in his article on Butterbur, “A double blind migraine study was published in Neurology in 2002. Researchers gave 202 migraine sufferers 100 to 150 mg of butterbur extract or a placebo twice a day. The butterbur suffers had 50% fewer migraines than usual while those taking a placebo experienced only a 26% drop in migraine frequency.”  While we need more clinical studies on herbs such as Butterbur and the like, “50% fewer migraines” is a good start. The benefits of taking Butterbur may not be evident for up to 2-3 months and should be taken until you are free of migraines at which time you can begin to taper off to see if you can stay migraine free. During this “waiting period” you should start adding healthier foods into your diet, exercise, and add stress-busting activities into your daily life.

Butterbur Side effects

The main side effect with Butterbur is that it may cause liver damage in some people when used in its whole unadulterated form. This is due to a component within the plant referred to as pyrolizidine alkaloids (PA’s for short), which can accumulate in the liver and create toxic conditions, especially if the liver is in a weakened state. That is why it is best to seek out a standardized Butterbur herbal that has these PA’s removed from the final product.  You can find Butterbur at your local health food store or on-line in capsule, extract, or loose herb form.

One product that has caught my interest is Dr. Michael Tierra’s MigraComfort produced by Planetary Formulas. They have created this herbal product to be free of harmful PA’s. They come in softgels with 50 mg of Butterbur Root extract. You can buy them in a quanity of 30 or 60 softgels.




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As with all herbs and vitamins, always ask your physician if they will conflict with any medications you currently may be taking.



Butterbur:  http://www.medicinenet.com/butterbur-page2/supplements-vitamins.htm

Butterbur: http://www.planetherbs.com/specific-herbs/butterbur.html


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1 comment

  1. Libby

    I wish it was easier to find these studies on the effectiveness of herbs and other natural products. Thanks for sharing!

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