Butterbur plants are scientifically known as Petasites and belong to a family of flowering plants. Butterbur, also known as coltsfoot, grows throughout the year and has an underground rhizome with its leaves and flowers lying above the ground. It flowers during the late winter or spring season with green or whitish flowers. In this article, we will learn about ten incredible health benefits of Butterbur plant.
Butterbur is usually of Asian origin and is common in countries like China, Japan, Korea. Leaves, roots, and bulbs of this plant are often used for medicinal purposes but sometimes it can be very harmful because of certain compounds i.e. pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), which can cause cancer. Never consume any sort of butterbur supplement or extract that is not labeled as “PA-Free”. According to NIH, PA-free butterbur extracts are safe and can be used.1
Before going to tell you about the incredible health benefits of Butterbur, we will tell you what this plant contains. Butterbur contains compounds like
- Petasin – this compound has the ability to reduce inflammation.
- Isopetasin – this substance can lower inflammation as well as can cause vasodilation.
- Flavonoids – Flavonoids are excellent antioxidants.
- Petatwalide B and Bakkenolide B – they have similar functions as that of Isopetasin.
One can find butterbur extracts in the market in various forms such as capsules, tinctures, gels, and powder. Let’s take a look at some of the health benefits of this flowering plant, which has been used as a source of medicine for ages.
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Incredible Health Benefits of Butterbur
One of the major uses of butterbur is in the treatment of migraines. Migraines have responded in a very positive way to this treatment. It is not known how this shrub can treat migraines but it is one of the very effective and harmless treatments of the migraine. A study has also affirmed its efficacy.2 Butterbur can lower the severity as well as the frequency of the migraine attacks.3
2. Relieves Allergies
Allergies are very common, nearly 30-40% of Americans suffer from allergies. Various methods of controlling these allergies are present across the globe, one of these methods is the usage of butterbur in allergies. A human study has shown positive results and it is found that butterbur extracts can effectively suppress allergies, possibly by inhibiting the leukotrienes receptor.4
3. Skin Protective
Butterbur extracts contain various types of flavonoids which cause activation of the HSP70 which protects the skin cells from damage and cell death caused by Ultraviolet Radiations.5
4. Prevents Cancer
Flavonoids, in the butterbur extracts, set in motion an event of molecular activation. This activation of different molecules causes various antioxidants to synthesize in the body. One of those antioxidants is Biliverdin along with many other bile pigments. Researches have shown that bile pigments are antioxidants as well as anti-mutagenic which can lower the risk of cancer.
5. Effective Against Hay Fever
Hay Fever, an allergic illness caused by the enhanced activity of leukotrienes and eosinophils in the nose, is a common illness across the globe. Butterbur is found very effective against this illness.7 Researches have revealed that butterbur extract is as effective as anti-histaminic drugs.8,9
Studies have shown that butterbur, when given along with other asthma medications, caused an improvement and better outcome.10 This is because of the substances present in the butterbur which can cause dilation of the airways as well as can control inflammation. But this role of butterbur is not well-appreciated because of the low numbers of evidence in its support.
7. Somatoform Disorder
Somatoform disorder is a condition in which a person suffers from symptoms that do not have any organic cause and are only the play of mind. Butterbur can treat such symptoms effectively and has long been used for this purpose.
8. Lowers Cholesterol
Butterbur is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to lower LDL-Cholesterol levels in mice but the evidence for this action in humans is lacking.
Butterbur contains petasin and isopetasin, these compounds have a widening effect on blood vessels are thought to lower blood pressure because of this effect. A study on mice has shown a significant drop in blood pressure when butterbur extracts are used in them.11,12
10. Prevents UTIs
People believe that butterbur extracts can treat Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) as well as can prevent UTIs. But no evidence exists to support this idea.
All the above discussion reveals that butterbur can be very beneficial and effective against daily life problems like migraines and allergies but it should be kept in mind that it contains cancer-causing agent which should not be consumed. Always use that butterbur extract that is “PA-Free.” Besides, Butterbur can have different sorts of side effects, so one should use it very carefully.