A plant that is native to Europe, Northern Africa and parts of Asia, scientific name of Petasites hybridus and commonly called Butterbur, is making great waves in the migraine relief and treatment arena. Traditionally the leaves and flowers of this herb have been used as a folk remedy to treat headaches, asthma, allergies and abdominal cramping.
Over the last decade, it has come to the notice of Western doctors and trials have been undertaken on an extract of the Butterbar root – to discover it’s efficacy for treating migraine headaches.
Pharmeceutical drugs and medications are frequently taken to help prevent migraine symptoms, but apart from the side effects of these prophylaxic treatments, they do not address the cause and they do not provide any form of cure – only relief from migraine symptoms. In fact some of the common migraine treatments that are frequently prescribed for migraineurs are anti-depressants, and can even be highly addictive. Stopping taking any addictive drug can produce severe withdrawal symptoms.
Using Butterbur For Migraines:
This is where the introduction of Butterbur for migraines is making a real difference. Professionals in the US are recognising that it is an effective treatment for migraine headaches. It is reported to reduce actual symptoms of migraine and also to prevent migraine attacks from happening. The best part is people using butterbur for migraines have noticed no adverse side effects apart from infrequent and mild stomach upsets.
Trials suggest that Butterbur works by calming spasms in some muscle tissues and by reducing inflammation of blood vessel walls. The studies have given evidence that taking the extract of the Butterbur root once a day – reduced the frequency and occurrence of migraines by up to 50 % in at least 80% of the participants in the studies, which is very impressive.
In contrast to the toxic side effects of long term use of pharmaceutical drugs, the Butterbur plant will be a welcome addition to any migraine sufferer’s arsenal.
New Guidelines For Preventing Migraines:
The American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society have published new guidelines regarding the prevention of migraines. Interestingly enough, these updated guidelines endorse the use of a number of alternative therapy options to help stave off migraine headaches.
The botanical supplement that received the most attention in the new guidelines is Petadolex, which is the herb butterbur. Studies have shown that 75 mg of Petadolex taken twice daily can reduce the frequency, duration and intensity of migraine headaches by close to 50 percent, which is comparable to many of the prescription medications used to prevent migraines.
Butterbur seems to work by reducing spasms in arteries in the brain; it also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Butterbur is also effective in reducing allergy symptoms, so if you have both migraine headaches and allergies, butterbur would be a good choice for you.
Taking Butterbur For Migraines:
The recommended adult dosage is 50-100 mg twice daily to reduce migraine headache symptoms and to prevent future migraine headaches. You should take it for a long enough time to be able to observe its efficacy for you personally. A three month trial is suggested for assessment. The most commonly recommended protocol of using Butterbur for migraines is to take it for a maximum of four to six months. After a break of at least a month you may take it again for another four to six months if your migraine frequency increases, but there should be a month’s break between each course.
Butterbur For Migraines – Warning:
Like a lot of natural and herbal remedies, caution needs to be taken when using Butterbur for migraines. It contains Pyrrolizidine alkaloids in it’s natural state, and these alkaloids are toxic and particularly harmful to the human liver. Make sure any Butterbur you take is labeled as being PA-free, which means the toxic element has been removed. However, the amount of the toxic alkaloids contained in the Butterbur root is rather small, with the concentration being less than 0.01%.
Butterbur Side Effects:
Butterbur can have side effects, however these are mild when compared to drugs for migraines. The reported side effects in the study participants were indigestion, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, with the most commonly reported being burping. There were complaints of minor stomach upsets, however this was reported in both the control group who were taking a placebo, and the participants who were taking the actual Butterbur preparation.
Butterbur extract should be avoided by people who are allergic to daisy, marigold, chrysanthemum or ragweed. It should not be taken by people who have any form of liver or kidney disease, or by women who are pregnant. It is also considered to be not suitable for children to take.
Butterbur does not interfere with any other migraine medication you may be taking, but it is not a migraine relief home remedy that you should take without advice and instructions. As always you should consult a professional practitioner prior to taking Butterbur for migraines, and indeed this warning includes any herbal supplement.