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Is Butterbur Good For Allergies

It May Cause Allergic Reactions

What is butterbur good for?

Butterbur belongs in the Asteraceae/Compositae family, which includes ragweed, marigolds, daisies, and chrysanthemums. People with allergies to those plants may also have an allergy to Butterbur. Although there are no documented events of people reacting anaphylactically to Butterbur extracts, it may have caused sensitivity reactions reported in some studies1,,.

The 10 Best Herbs For Allergies

Seasonal allergies are a common occurrence in todays world. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, around 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergies each year, or

Seasonal allergies are a common occurrence in todays world.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, around 50 million people in the United States suffer from allergies each year, or around 15% of the population.

This article looks at the scientific research behind the best herbs for allergies.

This Natural Remedy Will Have You Waving Goodbye To A Sniffly Nose And Aching Heads

This traditional herbal remedy is nicknamed bog rhubarb, because it grows in damp, marshy areas. It was once used in Europe to treat the plague today, it is used for seasonal allergies , colds and flu, and asthma, as well as providing effective relief for migraines.

How Butterbur Works

Butterbur has natural antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and mildly analgesic effects. It works by decreasing the secretion of histamine and leukotrienes by the immune cells, which are the main chemicals that the body releases during an allergic reaction to what it perceives as an invader such as pollen, dust, or animal dander. Butterbur is considered to be as effective as commonly available over-the-counter antihistamines for treating and controlling seasonal allergies such as hay fever. It acts to both mediate the allergic reaction and fight the inflammation in the upper respiratory tract, thereby alleviating allergy symptoms such as stuffy nose, sore throat, runny eyes, blocked ears, and sneezing, but without causing drowsiness. The active compounds it contains, called petasins, stop the inflammation associated with hay fever and may improve the efficacy of conventional inhalant preventive medications for asthma. Although evidence for the effectiveness of butterbur on allergies is small, many natural therapists and herbalists have found it useful for their patients.

How to Use Butterbur

Safety First

Where to Find Butterbur

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How Does It Work

A family of multitasking chemicals in butterbur accounts for this herbs 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, say researchers from the University of Rhode Island.

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Petasin also soothes inflammation, which helps ease allergy symptoms such as swollen nasal passages. Moreover, 2 related compounds called isopetasin and oxopetasin reduce the bodys production of leukotrienes, molecules that cause congestion, excess mucus production and tightened airways in response to triggers such as pollen, according to German researchers reporting in the journal European Neurology in 2004.

Patients’ Characteristics And Flow Through Study

Allergy Secret Alcohol Extract, Tincture, Rosemary, Butterbur ...

A total of 131 patients were initially screened, and 125 were randomised . Participants’ characteristics at entry were similar in the two groups .1). The population was representative of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis who seek treatment in the primary care sector, two thirds of patients being women and one third being smokers. All four main symptoms of the illness were moderately severe or worse in most participants .1). Rhinorrhoea was most commonly reported as moderately severe or worse, with sneezing, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes or nose having similar frequency and severity in both treatment groups. About half of patients thought their condition was worse than in the previous year.

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Strategies For Avoiding Allergens

People who suffer from the seasonal or perennial effects of allergic rhinitis can mitigate their symptoms by avoiding allergens as best they can. However, pollens are everywhere in the outdoor air and can be difficult to avoid. While staying indoors during the height of a season in which a particular type of pollen is present is not practical for most people, limiting exposure can provide at least modest relief. Pollen counts tend to be high on dry, sunny, windy days, and people with allergic rhinitis should stay indoors on those days, if possible. Keeping the windows and doors of houses and cars closed as much as possible during the pollen season also can be helpful, especially if air conditioning or fans are set in re-circulating mode to block the intake of outside air. Showering following outdoor exposure removes pollen that collects on the skin and hair, and may be helpful as well.

People who suffer either seasonal or perennial rhinitis are generally advised to avoid as best they can environmental pollutants, pesticides, car exhaust, cigarette smoke, perfumes, and new carpetingall of which can trigger allergic responses and worsen ongoing allergies. Drinking pure filtered water is wise, as is using hypoallergenic products when they are available.

Is Butterbur Safe To Use

Butterbur is safe to use, as there is no evidence of butterbur having any major, moderate or minor reaction to any known drug. However, to be on the safe side, it is advisable to consult the doctor in case of any ongoing medications for any other symptoms. You are adviced against self-diagnosing and self-treating yourself.

  • Butterbur may also be used in treating migraines, stomach ulcers, hay fever, whooping cough, insomnia, ongoing cough, plague, chills, anxiety, and other headaches. Some people also apply butterbur to their wounds in order to increase the healing process faster.

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Scottish Study Confirms Butterburs Efficacy

At roughly the same time that Dr. Schapowal and his colleagues were studying butterburs efficacy compared to Allegra® in Switzerland, another research team was evaluating and comparing the two at the University of Dundee in Scotland.

In that trial, 16 patients suffering from symptoms caused by allergic reaction to dust mites received one week of therapy with 100 mg of butterbur daily, 180 mg of fexofenadine daily, or placebo. The study purposely was conducted outside Scotlands pollen seasons in order to eliminate potentially confounding environmental allergens.

Following one week of treatment, both objective and subjective measurements showed that butterbur and fexofenadine significantly improved symptoms of rhinitis compared to placebo. Butterbur performed slightly better than fexo-fenadine in a test of the patients response to a spray that triggered nasal congestion.

We were able to demonstrate significant improvement in the total nasal symptom score with both butterbur and fexofenadine compared to placebo, wrote study author Dr. Daniel K. Lee. Our results demonstrated that both butterbur and fexofenadine were equally effective, compared to placebo, in attenuating the nasal response to challenge in addition to improving nasal symptoms in patients with perennial allergic rhinitis.8

Is Butterbur An Antihistamine

Butterbur for Allergies

Background: Butterbur or Petasites hybridus is an herbal remedy that exhibits antihistamine and antileukotriene activity and has been shown to attenuate the response to adenosine monophosphate challenge in patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma.

Is butterbur safe to take daily?

Doses of at least 75 mg twice daily seem to be necessary for best results. Lower doses of 50 mg twice daily may not be effective in adults. There is also some evidence that this butterbur extract can decrease the frequency of migraine headaches in children aged 6-17 years.

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Dont Take The Raw Herb Use Standardized Extracts

The raw herb itself contains potentially toxic compounds known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Studies on animals and human liver cell cultures show that taking the raw herb in massively high doses for long periods of time may cause liver damage and cancer.

The good news is that the raw herb is rarely used, and commercially available butterbur supplements such as Petadolex®, Petaforce®, and Tesalin® do not contain any of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids, and are standardized to the active ingredient, petasin. Additionally, there have been no documented events of standardized extracts causing liver failure or cancer.

How Much Butterbur Should I Take For Allergies

For hay fever : Up to 6 tablets of a specific butterbur leaf extract called Ze 339 , has been taken daily in up to three divided doses for 1-2 weeks.

Can ginger cure allergies?

1. Ginger. Many of the unpleasant allergy symptoms come from inflammatory issues, like swelling and irritation in the nasal passages, eyes, and throat. Ginger can help reduce these symptoms naturally.

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What Is Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is a diagnosis where your nose gets irritated by something youre allergic to, such as pollen, which causes sneezing and other symptoms.

Allergic rhinitis is also known as seasonal allergies, pollinosis, and hay fever.

Allergy symptoms typically include sneezing, runny or blocked nose, itchy skin, watering eyes, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing.

Allergies can be triggered by a variety of airborne allergens, including:

  • pollen

Standard treatment for allergies includes avoiding allergens or taking medicine .

When it comes to avoiding allergens, below are some helpful tips:

  • Stay indoors on dry, windy days. The best time to go outside is after a good rain, which helps clear pollen from the air.
  • Avoid lawn mowing, weed pulling, and other gardening chores that stir up allergens.
  • Remove clothes youve worn outside and shower to rinse pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Dont hang laundry outside pollen can stick to sheets and towels.

As far as standard medical treatment for allergies, the list of standard over-the-counter allergy medicines includes:

  • Allegra
  • Xyzal
  • Zyrtec

Antihistamines work by blocking the effects of a substance called histamine in your body. Histamine is typically released when your body detects something that it identifies as harmful, such as an allergen like pollen.

Histamine causes blood vessels to expand and the skin to swell, which helps protect the body. However, this leads to a host of symptoms that we associate with allergens

Why Is Butterbur For Allergies Considered Effective

NOW Foods Butterbur with Feverfew 75mg 60 Veg Caps

Butterbur is a plant extract which finds its use in alternative medicine. The extract is taken from the leaves, roots or bulb of the plant. Butterbur is known to have many impressive health benefits. The health benefits of butterbur include

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea

The best way to avoid allergies is to avoid the allergens that cause the overreaction. Though it may sound easy, it may not be as easy. For example, it is always not possible to avoid going outdoors. In cases as such, one with dust allergy should wear a mask and keep medicine handy for worst-case scenarios. Keeping an anti-allergy action plan is important to avoid deterioration of the condition.

Any individual may be affected by an allergic reaction no matter how cautious the person is. It is therefore wise to have the allergen test and detect what are the allergens that cause allergic reactions and have a plan of action ready to treat the condition. Keeping an allergic plan of action ready is beneficial since you could be susceptible to varied allergic reactions.

Butterbur for allergies is an important option or rather an important natural remedy because of the healing properties that it has. However, ensure that use butterbur for allergies only consulting a doctor or a medical professional.

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How To Use Butterbur

Butterbur is most commonly found as a supplement in capsule form, and its widely available in most natural health stores, pharmacies and online retailers.

It is also found in some natural medications, such as Petadolex. Petadolex is a medicine containing butterbur that is used to promote blood flow and prevent migraines.

Most studies show that butterbur is most effective when administered at a dosage of 5075 milligrams twice a day. You may want to begin with a smaller amount and gradually increase your intake to assess tolerance.

Keep in mind that some products containing butterbur may also contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids , a type of chemical that can cause damage to the liver as well as other adverse side effects. If you have liver problems, avoid raw butterbur and look for butterbur PA-free products to avoid this harmful chemical.

Additionally, make sure to look for a reputable brand with minimal added ingredients to ensure youre getting the best possible quality.

The butterbur plant in dried or extract form can also be used to make an allergy-fighting tea.

Here is a recipe for butterbur tea that you can try:

Butterber Tea

  • 1 teaspoon dried butterbur root
  • Water
  • Raw honey, stevia, or maple syrup


  • Soak dried root in 1 cup of cold water for 1012 hours. This helps bring out the concentrated medicinal properties of the root.
  • Add dried roots to a pot of water and bring to a boil.
  • Once water is boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 35 minutes.
  • What The Studies Show

    If you are currently taking an antihistamine but hate the side effects butterbur may be as effective. There is a study on butterbur and cetirizine. The study showed similar improvements with both cetirizine and butterbur. Both were tolerated well. Also, cetirizine is classified as a nondrowsy medication for allergies but 2/3 of the side effects reported were related to drowsiness from cetirizine.

    If you want extra help sleeping medication like cetirizine may be helpful. But many people find the effects last into the next day or make it difficult to wake up.

    In this study butterbur taken morning and night was as effective as fexofenadine. Fexofenadine and butterbur were compared to a placebo. Both were equally effective at relieving nasal allergy symptoms compared to the placebo.

    There is one disadvantage, to get relief equal to that of allergy medication butterbur is usually taken more often. Typically, it is taken morning and night but another dose can be taken in the middle of the day to help relieve symptoms.

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    Selection Preparation & Storage

    Butterbur is sold in a variety of formulations, including capsules, softgels, powders, tinctures, and teas. There are a number of patented extract forms of butterbur, including Petadolex, which contains no less than 15% petasins. The same formulation has been used in many migraine trials.

    Again, only those products labeled or certified as PA-free should be used to avoid the potentially harmful chemicals found naturally in the butterbur plant but removed during processing.

    Seasonal Allergies From The Inside Out

    Butterbur for Migraines (Petasites Hybridus) – Butterbur Supplement Benefits | National Nutrition

    If your seasonal allergies are causing you to spend more time indoors than out, you may be tempted to try an air filtration system, which many say can remove irritating dust and pollens from your personal space, and in the process improve seasonal allergies. But according to a recent report from the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, while these sometimes-costly units may clear the air, once an allergy is in progress they don’t appear to have much impact on symptoms.

    What may work somewhat better, however, is donning a paper dust filter mask when outdoors in high pollen conditions.

    In addition to whatever natural treatments you try on your own, you may also find significant relief visiting a practitioner of the ancient Chinese medical practice known as acupuncture. Based on the idea that stimulating points outside the body can change or initiate reactions inside, in this case treatment is thought to affect the immune system, where allergic reactions begin.

    In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 — without side effects. A second study of some 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments.

    “Acupuncture can be particularly useful if you are suffering from multiple allergies, since it works to quiet the areas of the immune system that are overstimulated by exposure to multiple irritating factors,” Dillard tells WebMD.

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    Special Precautions & Warnings


    Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking butterbur by mouth is LIKELY UNSAFE while pregnant or breast-feeding. Butterbur preparations containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids might cause birth defects and liver damage. Not enough is known about the safety of using butterbur products that do not contain PAs during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Don’t use it.

    Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Butterbur may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking butterbur.

    Liver disease: There is some concern that butterbur might make liver disease worse. Don’t take it.

    Side Effects Of Butterbur

    The most serious butterbur side effect is liver toxicity, which has the potential to cause liver failure and death. Some chemicals in the roots of butterbur, known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids or PAs, are known to be toxic to humans. They can damage the liver and lungs, and cause problems with blood circulation. PAs have been shown to cause cancer in animals, but no link between PAs and cancer in humans has been found thus far.

    It may be safe to take butterbur extract for a short time if the pyrrolizidine alkaloids have been removed. However, its important to note that even products labeled as PA-freeeven certified as PA-freeshould be used with caution. There have been some reports of liver damage among people who have used butterbur products claiming to be PA-free. This has led researchers to believe that not all claims of PA-free butterbur products are accurate.

    PA-free butterbur extract is generally considered safe, though it may have mild side effectssome of which are symptoms of the conditions the supplement is meant to treat. Butterbur side effects can include:

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    Report Problems To The Food And Drug Administration

    You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

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    Aydin, A. A., Zerbes, V., Parlar, H., and Letzel, T. The medical plant butterbur : analytical and physiological view. J Pharm Biomed.Anal. 3-5-2013 75:220-229. View abstract.

    Bickel, D., Roder, T., Bestmann, H. J., and Brune, K. Identification and characterization of inhibitors of peptido-leukotriene-synthesis from Petasites hybridus. Planta Med. 1994 60:318-322. View abstract.

    Brune, K., Bickel, D., and Peskar, B. A. Gastro-protective effects by extracts of Petasites hybridus: the role of inhibition of peptido-leukotriene synthesis. Planta Med. 1993 59:494-496. View abstract.

    Debrunner, B. and Meier, B. Petasites hybridus: a tool for interdisciplinary research in phytotherapy. Pharm.Acta Helv. 1998 72:359-362. View abstract.

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