Butterbar in the frequency of migraine headaches.





Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Migraine
Professional Data: Migraine


As anyone who has experienced one knows, there is absolutely nothing like a migraine headache. A migraine headache can be debilitating for hours and sometimes for days. The migraine headache is considered a vascular headache, although the precise mechanism and cause remain unknown. There are several known triggers, some of which include food allergies, blood sugar disturbances, stress load, mechanical injury, and hormonal fluctuations. Treating a migraine means working with these triggers.

Peak intensity of migraine pain typically occurs within an hour of onset. Pain is usually on one side, but can occur anywhere on the face or head, most often in the temple. Typical migraine headaches are of moderate to severe intensity and are often described as pounding, pulsating, or throbbing. Activities of daily living are often affected as physical activity may worsen headache pain. Patients often seek a quiet, dark place to rest. Headaches may last from 4 to 72 hours and patients typically suffer from post-headache exhaustion, scalp tenderness, and recurrence of headache with sudden head movements.

A recent study investigated the potential effectiveness of an herb called Butterbar (Petasites hybridus) in the treatment of migraines. Participants in this study received an extract of 75 or 50mg twice a day, or placebo twice a day. Researchers recruited 245 individuals who were between the ages of 18 and 65, and who had 2 to 6 migraine attacks per month over the past three months. Treatment with placebo or Butterbar continued for 4 months. The results showed that those receiving 75mg of Petasites twice daily, had a 48% decrease in attacks. Those receiving 50 mg twice daily had a decrease of 36% and those receiving placebo had a 26% decrease. At months 1, 2, & 3, the results also showed improvement in the Butterbar group compared to the placebo group. The authors concluded that, “Petasites extract 75 mg bid is more effective than placebo and is well tolerated as a preventive therapy for migraine.”1


1. Lipton RB, et al. Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine. Neurology. Dec 2004; 63:2240-2244.