Health Benefits of Butterbur Are Sure to Butter You Up

With seasonal allergies kicking in, one of the first things everyone wants to reach for is a bottle of antihistamines to rid themselves of the unpleasant symptoms of drowsiness, itchiness, and nausea. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural remedies to help combat seasonal allergies and butterbur happens to be one of them.

Whether you are struggling with allergies, inflammation, migraines, or trying to improve your mental health, butterbur is proven to be a jack of all trades.

Botanical Name and Family of Butterbur

This type of shrub is botanically known as Petasites hybridus and is a perennial flowering plant of the Asteraceae daisy family. Butterbur is related to the dandelion, safflower, milk thistle, marigold, and artichoke, and can vary in different colors of white, pink, or green flowers.

What Is Butterbur?

Health Benefits of Butterbur Are Sure to Butter You Up

Butterbur is an herb native to Japan, China, and Korea. It is also found in North America and Europe. This herb grows well in moist areas such as ditches, marshes, and riverbanks.

Butterbur is a common herb in several herbal preparations. It is important to use only Butterbur products that are labeled as pyrrolizidine alkaloid (PA) free because these alkaloids are known to cause toxic effects, including liver damage.

Active Ingredients Found in Butterbur

Butterbur contains sesquiterpene compounds such as

  • Petasitene
  • Albene
  • Petasitene
  • Pethybrene

Health Benefits of Butterbur

Butterbur is used to treat digestive problems such as stomach upset and ulcers. Aside from treating indigestion, butterbur has also been proven to help treat these following ailments:

Externally, butterbur has been used to heal superficial wounds. Research shows this herb to be effective in reducing nasal discomfort in people with hay fever and in lowering depression and anxiety for those struggling with pain.

Different Ways to Consume Butterbur

The roots, leaves, and bulb of this butterbur are all used to reap its benefits. If you would like to make your own butterbur tea, this is all you will need:


  • 1 teaspoon of dried butterbur root
  • Water
  • Raw honey (optional)


  1. Soak dried butterbur root in a cup of water overnight.
  2. Add roots to a pot of water and bring it to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer.
  4. Strain tea into a cup.
  5. Enjoy!

Side Effects of Butterbur

Butterbur is usually safe for consumption, but keep in mind that some butterbur products containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) are highly toxic, so only PA-free products must be used.

Overconsumption of this plant has the potential to cause complications in some people, this herb may cause mild headaches, diarrhea, fatigue, itchy eyes, asthma, drowsiness and/or an allergic reaction, which is why you should always make sure to speak to your doctor before consumption.

Quick FAQ

What is butterbur used for?

Butterbur is used to help combat a variety of ailments like migraines, indigestion, anxiety and even insomnia.


Lipton RB, Göbel H, Einhäupl KM, Wilks K, Mauskop A. Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology. 2004 Dec 28;63(12):2240-4. PubMed PMID: 15623680.

Saritas Y, von Reuss SH, König WA. Sesquiterpene constituents in Petasites hybridus. Phytochemistry. 2002 Apr;59(8):795-803. PubMed PMID: 11937157.