People can now stop their migraine with a plant instead of treating it with traditional pain medications. Butterbur or Petasites hybridus is a plant that grows in marshy areas in Europe, Asia and parts of North America. The leaves, bulb and root of the buttery plant can be used to make medications. It can be used to treat migraines, pain, stomach ulcers, coughs, anxiety and chills. Migraines are caused by blood vessels that can become irritated and spasm. Dr. Asher Ali, a doctor at the Yale Stress Center, said that the plant is able to stop blood vessels from opening up and can have anti-inflammatory properties.
The plant itself can be harmful if it is not taken in the correct form. Butterbur contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids also known as PAs that can damage the liver, blood circulation, lungs and cause cancer. The buttery plant can be found as an extract and should say it is PA free, which means it does not contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
The extract was first studied in 2004 to see if it could stop a person’s migraine and was published by the company Lipton. The study examined 245 migraine sufferers with and without aura. It was run in both the United States and Germany. Patients were either given 75 milligrams of the extract, 50 milligrams of it or a placebo twice a day for four months. Participants of the study reported having 58 percent decrease of migraine attacks when they took 75 milligrams two times a day. The result was statistically significant when it was compared to the 28 percent decrease of migraine attacks from patients who took the placebo. The percentage of patients who responded to outside treatment was 71 percent after they took the butterbur. The extract was also tested in two double-blind studies to see if it could treat migraines.
One study examined 60 women and men who had at least three migraines a month. The participants were told not to take any over-the-counter medications to treat their migraines for four weeks. After the four weeks were over, the study participants were told at random to take either 50 milligrams of butterbur extract or a placebo twice a day for three months. The results of the test were positive and that the total number of days participants had migraines were lowered in the group that took butterbur when compared to the group that took a placebo. Three out of four participants who took butterbur reported seeing improvements when compared to one out of four participants in the placebo group. None of the participants in either group had any side effects.
A second study that was run by a different group of researches studied 202 people who had migraines. The participants had either 50 milligrams of the extract twice a day, 75 milligrams twice a day or a placebo for three months. Over the three months, participants in all three groups reported that the frequency of their migraine attacks decreased. The group that was given the highest dose of the extract had greater improvement then the group that took a placebo. The lower dose of the butterbur extract was not as effective as the placebo.
Butterbur, when used in the correct form, can be used to stop a migraine. The buttery plant is able to close the open blood vessels that cause migraines and decrease inflammation. It was also used in three different studies that examined the effect on people with migraines. The results showed that participants who took the extract had relief from their migraines. The butterbur plant should only be used in extract form to prevent damage to a person’s body. The extract can cause side effects such as burping, itchy eyes, asthma, drowsiness, diarrhea and upset stomach.
By Jordan Bonte