For hundreds of years, butterbur — also known as Petasites hybridus — has played an important role in the folklore and wellness traditions of agricultural communities in Europe and North America. This shrub grows in marshy, wet areas across North America, Europe and southwestern Asia, where it's long been valued for its many health benefits. Butterbur gets its name from its large leaves, which were often wrapped around butter to keep it fresh during warm weather. Today, scientific studies lend credence to butterbur's long use in traditional wellness as well as its growing popularity as a supplement.
Research indicates that the roots, stem, foliage and flowers of the butterbur plant contain petasins, a group of sesquiterpene compounds that possess many beneficial properties. Petasins are believed to influence histamines and leukotrienes in the body, supporting butterbur's traditional use in allergy support that promotes respiratory health and clear breathing.**
Research shows the petasins may also block calcium channels, which some scientists believe may help to ease occasional head discomfort.** Other components in the herb, such as isopetasin, and neopetasin, function as spasmolytics, supporting a healthy immune system.** Studies indicate that the herb’s properties may be helpful in encouraging a healthy gastrointestinal system while promoting digestive and urinary tract comfort.**
Butterbur supplements are derived from a combination of the plant's leaves, flowers, stems, rhizomes and roots. Butterbur supplements are available in capsules or tablets, as well as liquid form that can also be applied topically. High-quality butterbur supplements may be standardized to supply a guaranteed minimum level of the herb’s active compounds: petasins.
Butterbur Directions for Use
As with all supplements, consult with your medical provider before adding supplements to your healthcare regimen. When taking this herb for migraine control, the recommended dosage is 50 mg, twice per day. To enhance respiratory system health, the butterbur dosage ranges from 25 to 75 mg twice per day.