If you've ever had your head feel like it's about to explode due to migraine pain, you know how debilitating it can be. Migraines are a type of headache
that manifest through extremely painful throbbing and pulsing. Along with head pain, migraines can have other effects on your body, possibly causing you to vomit or become very sensitive to light and sound. While there is a wide variety of migraine treatments, they vary in effectiveness from person to person. If you've visited your doctor for a migraine diagnosis and head checkup, have tried most common treatment methods and still haven't experienced positive results, then you may want to give butterbur a try.
An Introduction to Butterbur
Derived from the shrub Petasites hybridus
, butterbur is typically found in Asia, Europe and certain areas of North America. Butterbur is found to grow along rivers, damp forests and in wet soil, and its leaves have long been incorporated into supplements and used as a natural treatment for combating allergies
and migraines, among other ailments. According to Russell H. Greenfield, MD
, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill School of Medicine, butterbur may be able to prevent migraine pain by stabilizing irritable blood vessels and contributing anti-inflammatory properties with the chemicals isopetasin and petasin.
As the NYU Langone Medical Center reports
, there have been several studies that significantly illustrate the effectiveness of butterbur as a natural migraine treatment, particularly two double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. In the first study, the group of people who experienced at least three migraines per month experienced a significant reduction in the number of days with migraine pain after taking 50 mg of butterbur extract or a placebo twice daily for three months. The second study also showed a drastic decrease in migraine frequency in the three groups tested: one group that took 75 mg of butterbur twice daily, another that took 50 mg of butterbur twice daily, and the last group which took a placebo. However, the group which received the higher dose of butterbur exhibited the most improvement.
How to Use Butterbur
The important thing to realize when taking a butterbur supplement for migraine treatment is that it can be effective only when used as a preventative
measure; there is no evidence to suggest that butterbur can help after
a migraine occurs, according to University of California Berkeley Wellness
. The typical dosage of butterbur is 50-75 mg twice daily over a period of 12-16 weeks, but check with your doctor to make sure that is an appropriate length of treatment for you. Butterbur should only be given to children if they are being supervised by a licensed healthcare practitioner. Before you buy your bottle, it is imperative to ensure you use only a supplement that is certified “PA-free,” signifying the removal of pyrollizide alkaloids—potentially carcinogenic toxins that may also damage your liver. Never consume raw butterbur plant, as it contains these pyrollizide alkaloids and can be harmful to your health.
Before You Buy
As with any herbal supplement
, check with your doctor before you use butterbur to ensure it won't cause any interactions with other supplements or medications you might be taking, or exacerbate any additional health conditions you may have. Like all supplements and medications, butterbur may cause side effects but is generally well-tolerated. It can cause belching, itchy eyes, fatigue, asthma and drowsiness. In addition, butterbur can cause adverse reactions in those who are allergic to daisies, ragweed and similar plants. If you have never been checked out by a licensed healthcare practitioner for a proper migraine diagnosis, it's critical you do so before attempting to self-treat with butterbur, as migraines may sometimes be a sign of another illness.
Migraines can literally be a pain, so preventing and treating them is essential in maintaining your health. Check out our selection of butterbur and other health-enhancing products at eVitamins, and let us know if butterbur works for you. We hope you have a healthy and pain-free day!