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  • Basic Info
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Generic: Butterbur
treats Allergic rhinitis prevention, Migraine prophylaxis, Allergic skin disease, and Asthma

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DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.


Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to Petasites hybridus or other plants from the Asteraceae/ Compositae family such as ragweed, marigolds, daisies, and chrysanthemums.

Side Effects and Warnings

Studies have reported safety and good tolerability of commercially available butterbur products (which are free of potentially carcinogenic pyrrolizidine alkaloid constituents), when used orally in recommended doses short- term. Raw, unprocessed butterbur plant should not be ingested due to the potential hepatotoxicity (liver damaging) of pyrrolizidine alkaloids with long- term use (specifically, concern of veno- occlusive disease). This includes any teas, capsules of raw herb, or unprocessed tinctures or extracts. Use should be limited to commercially available products that are free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. The plant's pyrrolizidine alkaloids are also thought to be carcinogenic (cancer causing), mutagenic, and nephrotoxic (kidney damaging).

When taken by mouth, butterbur may cause headache, drowsiness, fatigue, itchy eyes, eye discoloration, breathing difficulties, skin discoloration or pruritis (severe itching).

Butterbur taken by mouth may also cause sustained constipation, discoloration of stool, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach upset. Butterbur may increase liver enzyme levels.


Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is not recommended in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding due to a lack of safety studies.


Interactions with Drugs

Administration of butterbur with anticholinergics may not be advisable. Numerous drugs and drug classes may interact with anticholinergic agents. Examples include: acetophenenazine, amantadine, amitriptyline, atropine, benztropine, bethanechol, biperiden, brompheniramine, carbinoxamine, chlorpromazine, clemastine, clindinium, clozapine, cyclopentolate, cyproheptadine, dicyclomine, diphenhydramine, dixyrazine, ethopropazine, fenotherol, fluphenazine, haloperidol, homatropine, hyosciamine, ipratropium, loxapine, mesoridazine, methdilazine, methotrimeprazine, olanzapine, oxybutynin, perazine, periciazine, perphenazine, pimozide, pipotiazine, prochlorperazine, procyclidine, promazine, promethazine, propiomazine, quinidine, scopolamine, thiethylperazine, thioridazine, thiothixene, trifluoperazine, triflupromazine, trihexyphenidyl, trimeprazine, triprolidine. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before taking butterbur preparations.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Raw, unprocessed butterbur may contain toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids, although commercially available products should be free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Nonetheless, concomitant use of other agents containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids should be avoided due to the potential for additive toxicity.

Combination use with anticholinergic agents may potentiate therapeutic and adverse effects. Examples of anticholinergic herbs include belladonna, bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara), henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), and Jimson weed (Datura stramonium).

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