Many of my patients are getting relief from migraine headaches from an unexpected source—a plant in the daisy family.
New research shows that the plant—called butterbur (Petasites hybridus)—is an incredibly effective treatment for these painful headaches. Butterbur has been used for centuries to treat fevers, coughs and digestive ailments. Find out what this plant, grown in the North temperate zone, an area including North America, Europe and parts of Asia, can do for you...
In a landmark study published in Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers found that frequency of migraine headaches was reduced by 48% in migraine sufferers who took 75 mg of butterbur twice daily...by 36% in those who took 50 mg twice daily...and by 26% in a placebo group.
It is not known exactly why butterbur is so effective for all types of migraine, although it could be because of its unique anti-inflammatory compounds petasin and isopetasin. Inflammation causes blood vessel constriction and dilation abnormalities, which result in migraine pain.
Butterbur is an effective alternative to migraine medications. These medications can cause fatigue, liver toxicity and increased risk for heart attack. Butterbur in its natural state contains substances toxic to the liver, known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids. However, the standardized extract of butterbur (which I recommend) has this toxin removed. Petadolex is the name of the proprietary ingredient (petasin and isopetasin with pyrrolizidine alkaloids removed). It is sold by many companies, including Enzymatic Therapy (800-783-2286, www.EnzymaticTherapy.com).
Butterbur is most effective for migraine prevention, but it also can help reduce the severity of a migraine once it starts. To reduce pain after a migraine has started, take 50 mg of Petadolex three times daily with meals. For migraine prevention, take 50 mg of Petadolex three times daily with meals for one month, then twice daily after that. Petadolex can be taken short- or long-term. Side effects: Butterbur is typically well tolerated, but side effects may include digestive upset, headache and fatigue. Stop taking butterbur if any of these side effects are severe.
Mark A. Stengler, NMD, is a naturopathic medical doctor and leading authority on the practice of alternative and integrated medicine. Dr. Stengler is author of the Bottom Line Natural Healing newsletter, author of The Natural Physician’s Healing Therapies (Bottom Line Books), founder and medical director of the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine in Encinitas, California, and adjunct associate clinical professor at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. www.DrStengler.com