Long before medicines were chemically manufactured, most of the remedies and medicines were provided by mother nature. Butterbur, scientifically known as Petasites hypridus is one such medicinal herb that has been used for centuries for the treatment of allergies and headaches. It contains a bitter tasting chemical compound known as petasin, which is considered to be responsible for the herb’s pain relieving properties. Native to Asia, Europe and North America, butterbur grows well in riverbanks, marshes, ditches etc. Although it is mainly used as an analgesic, butterbur is also found to have anti-inflammatory, diuretic, anti-spasmodic and cardio-protective effects. Every part of the butterbur plant is useful. The roots, stems, leaves and flowers all have various medicinal uses.
Here are some of the most important uses of butterbur that can come in handy when you are looking for natural remedies to treat various health problems:
Butterbur for treating allergies
Studies have revealed that butterbur may be as effective as some of the leading allergy medications available in the market nowadays. This is a great news for people suffering from allergies as they can get relief from allergies without having to endure any of the side effects that are usually caused by many of the antihistamine drugs. Butterbur may thus be used as an effective replacement for pharmaceuticals in the treatment of seasonal allergies. Petasin, an active ingredient in butterbur inhibits the synthesis of leukotrienes and histamines that are responsible for allergic reaction in people suffering from allergic rhinitis.
[Read more about home remedies for allergies]
Butterbur has anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation is the biological response of your body to dangerous and harmful stimuli, such as irritants, pathogens or damaged cells. Most of the diseases that we succumb to are caused as a result of inflammation. Butterbur, being a potent anti-inflammatory agent can help reduce inflammation effectively. The active compounds in this herb work by blocking the action of leukotrienes that cause inflammation in the body. The anti-inflammatory properties of butterbur may thus be helpful in reducing inflammatory conditions like arthritis, acne, heart diseases etc.
[bctt tweet=”The leaves of butterbur were used to wrap butter during the warm weather and hence the name – butterbur”]
Butterbur fights migraines
Butterbur has been used for a long time as a remedy for migraines and headaches. According to studies, this herb is helpful in reducing the intensity as well as the frequency of migraines. Although the exact action of butterbur in relieving headaches is unknown, researchers believe that it reduces inflammation and relieves the pressure on the blood vessels. Yet another theory is that butterbur may affect the calcium channels that may be associated with causing migraines. Moreover, the compounds petasin and isopetasin found in butterbur help reduce inflammation and spasms, which in turn may help prevent and reduce migraine headaches. Both the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society recommends the use of butterbur extract in the control and prevention of migraine.
[Read more about 18 ways to treat migraine at home]
Butterbur for asthma patients
Butterbur is found to be useful for people suffering from asthma. Studies reveal that asthma patients who were given butterbur suffered shorter, less frequent and less severe asthma attacks. In addition to this, most of these patients were able to breathe better and reduce their intake of asthma medications. The anti-inflammatory and bronchodilating properties of butterbur are believed to contribute to the herb’s ability to provide relief from asthma. Butterbur also inhibits the constriction of the smooth muscles that line the respiratory passages, thus helping to breathe easier.
Butterbur for respiratory problems
In addition to treating asthma, butterbur is also found to be effective in treating other respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, pharyngitis, common cold and cough. It works as an expectorant, which is very helpful with coughs. Butterbur has the ability to loosen mucous and phlegm and stimulate their expulsion from the body. The anti-inflammatory effects of the herb helps in providing relief from cold by soothing the inflamed nasal membrane. Supplementation of butterbur leaf extract daily has been found to help soothe nasal itching in people suffering from hay fever.
[Read more about natural food for common cold]
Butterbur for mental problems
In addition to the various benefits butterbur offers to the body, it is also found to be beneficial to the mind. According to a study, the use of a product that contains a combination of butterbur, passionflower, valerian root and lemon balm was found to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression in individuals suffering from physical pain.
Butterbur is a remedy for insomnia
The leaves of butterbur has a wonderful aroma that relaxes and calms the mind and helps induce sleep. So if you are suffering from insomnia, butterbur is a great remedy that helps you relax and sleep better.
[Read more about natural food for insomnia]
How to make butterbur tea – Butterbur tea is a natural remedy for treating various ailments such as headache, allergies, fever, inflammation, anxiety and stress. The preparation of this tea is quite simple. You can use fresh or dried butterbur root for this purpose. First of all, rinse the root well and get rid of all the dirt that is on its surface. If you are using dry roots, then soak a teaspoon of dry butterbur root in 250 ml of cold water for about 12 hours. This is done to extract the medicinal properties of the root. Boil this tea and then simmer for about five minutes. Strain the tea and enjoy the drink. You can add honey or sugar to sweeten the drink. This tea could be taken two or three times a day to reap its wonderful benefits. However, prolonged use is not recommended as it may sometimes cause side effects.
Butterbur is available in the form of pills, powder, tea or tincture. Standardized butterbur extract is now readily available as a dietary supplement. Butterbur has been used for thousands of years for treating various conditions ranging from gastric problems to seasonal allergies. Despite its wide range of benefits, a few studies have confirmed that butterbur contains toxic compounds known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can affect the liver and cause serious damage. So if you are thinking about taking butterbur supplements, make sure that you buy products that are free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Butterbur extract continues to be a topic of research and study as scientists believe that it has the potential to be used as a treatment for several more medical conditions and symptoms.