Make Your Own Allergy Treatment Using Butterbur Root

Edited by Jan Margery Castillo, Eng, Lynn, estrella sacragon and 3 others

What is Butterbur Root?


Butterbur, or Petasites hybridus, is a perennial plant from the daisy family that is bulbous in appearance. It has enormous downy leaves with pink to lilac flowers that grow on large spikes. It is native to Europe and Northern Asia and some parts of Scandinavia. This herbal plant, also known as Langwort, Bog Rhubarb, Umbrella Plant, Flapperdock, Petasites, Purple Butterbur, Blatterdock, Bogshorns, Capdockin and Butter-Dock, grows in marshes, waterways, sandbars or wet meadows. It was given the name butterbur because in the Medieval era, the leaves were used to wrap butter during the hot months.

During the Middle Ages, the leaves and roots were used to treat various illnesses such as coughs, plague and fever. Today, it is commercially prepared and used to treat migraines and allergies. The roots, leaves and flowers are processed for different purposes. Some of the products that use this herbal plant as the main ingredient are Petadolex, Tesalin and Petaforce. These can be bought at pharmacies and other health stores.

Causes of Allergies


An allergy is the overreaction of the immune system toward a harmless substance such as animal dander or pollen. These airborne pollen are usually the cause of the many allergy cases in most countries. Changing seasons are basically the reason there are high levels of pollen. In 2011 and 2012, there was a record-breaking report of pollen numbers across the nation. This is why it is expected that there will be yet another unusual high level of pollen this year. Consequently, there will be a dramatic increase of allergy cases, especially if no precautions are taken.

There are two categories of allergies. One that we can control and the other is uncontrollable.

  1. 1
    Controllable causes of allergies
    Although difficult to control once you have them, there are certain things you can do to avoid them - especially in children. Intervention should be done at an early age, particularly during infancy or childhood.
    1. Nurse your baby. Infants who are breastfed for at least six months are less likely to acquire allergies.
    2. Clean Household. Exposure to bacteria and allergens is a big problem for developing allergies. Maintain a clean household free of molds, mildew and dust - the biggest culprits.
    3. Exposure to second hand smoke. Don't ever smoke around babies, children, asthmatics, and people who don't smoke.
    4. Exposure to pets. If your child develops an allergy to any of your pets, you might have to remove them from you home - the pets, not the children.
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  2. 2
    Uncontrollable causes of allergies
    1. Family history
    2. Exposure to substances - The more a person ages, the more exposure he has to external substances that may cause allergies. Activities that may involve being exposed to outdoor fields may trigger the immune system to become weak, especially if there are airborne pollen on the specific surrounding or area.
    3. Environment - They say that developed countries such as the United States have higher incidences of allergies. Most of the time, households that are too clean and sanitized can also be detrimental. The chemicals used to sanitize homes are strong and could harm the immune system.
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Allergic Rhinitis


This is an allergic inflammation in the nasal airways. An individual usually acquires this from external substances such as allergens, airborne pollen, animal dander and dust. Allergic rhinitis is called Pollinosis, and it is caused by plant pollen and hay fever if it is induced by grass pollen. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are nasal congestion, itching and excessive nasal secretion.

Butterbur Root vs. Conventional Medicine


The good thing about butterbur root is that it is a natural remedy for allergies that does not contain antihistamine. There are no conventional side effects when using butterbur root extract. Even though modern anti-allergy drugs such as Zyrtec and Allegra contain anti-histamines, many patients still report that these drugs make them feel "fuzzy headed" or fatigued. Butterbur root, on the other hand, does not make one feel that way. There is no dizziness, sleepiness or dry mouth effect. Instead, it keeps a person focused and alert.

Certain clinical studies were conducted over the past several years proving the effectiveness of butterbur root. In Germany and Switzerland, a double-blind study which involved 131 patients proved that butterbur is just as effective as Zyrtec at calming allergic rhinitis, particularly nasal allergies. In that study, they found out that none of the drowsiness associated with antihistamines were experienced while using butterbur root extract.

There was another double-blind study involving 330 people who were given either butterbur extract (one Tablet three times daily), Allegra, or a placebo. It was reported that butterbur and Allegra were equally effective, and both remedies were more effective than placebo.

Prepare Your Own Butterbur Root Allergy Treatment

The root of a butterbur is very powerful and is most commonly the part of the plant used medicinally. The flowers and leaves are also processed, but the roots have the strongest constituents that are effective on allergies. Several dietary supplements are available in pharmacies that contain butterbur extract. Some tablets even act as a tonic and stimulant for the body.

How to Prepare Butterbur Tea

It's easy enough to purchase remedies that contain butterbur at the health food store, the curative properties of butterbur root are best extracted when you make your own. Here are some tips when preparing your own allergy remedy using butterbur root.

  1. 1
    Depending on your choice or on the availability, you may use a fresh or dry butterbur root
    If you are using dried root, skip to step three.  
    1. Fresh. Using a strainer, rinse it thoroughly to remove the dirt or any particles that may pass through the strainer. Use cold water to clean the roots.
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  2. 2
    Soak the root to extract the core medicinal properties of the herbal plant
    Soak 1 teaspoon of dry butterbur root in 250 ml of cold water for 12 hours. Fresh roots can be soaked for a shorter time, depending on your desired potency.
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  3. 3
    After soaking, boil the roots in a pot of water
    Use a glass or stainless steel pot.
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  4. 4
    Turn the heat down and simmer for three to five minutes
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  5. 5
    Strain the tea into a cup using a plastic mesh strainer
    A coffee strainer may also be used to ensure that root particles are removed. Do not use any metal tools/strainers when working with herbs, unless it's stainless steel.
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  6. 6
    Serve and enjoy the tea with your preferred sweetener
    It's recommended to use raw honey since it has many healing properties on it's own.
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  7. 7
    Drink the tea up to three times a day
    It is not recommended to drink butterbur root tea for a long period of time though. A period of two to four weeks is enough because it might cause some complications - especially with the liver.
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Watch Out for Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids

You can also use butterbur root extract when making tea. There is a wide selection of available supplemental tablets and capsules on the market to choose from. If you choose to use butterbur extract, pay attention to the ingredient list on the product. There is an element in the plant called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, or PA, which is bad for the liver. It could cause problems to the liver. Check labels first to see if it's PA free.

Questions and Answers

How much butterbur tea should I drink?

Since it is organic, it won't hurt to consume a lot. It won't harm your body. A glass or two should be average but more than that is also OK. However, keep in mind that even when you drink a lot of tea, you still should forget drinking plain water for your daily hydration.

This is not accurate. Too many people assume because it's organic, or herbal, or natural, it can't hurt you. Too much butterbur tea can cause serious issues with the liver. This not only includes too much in a day, but also taking it for too long - even if it's just one cup a day. Take as directed above - way above, for 2 - 4 weeks. Take a month off, and the you can repeat.

Butterbur root has pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). Is it possible to remove PA at home?

I bought Butterbur root cut. However, it is not saying if it is PA free. I am not sure if we should give it to our 6 year-old daughter to control her asthma. Please suggest. I have tried: Natural remedies such as ginger. I think it was caused by: Humidity and allergy.

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I have organic butterbur root. May I crush it and use the powder for allergies? If so, how much should I use?

I have been using butterbur extract 75mg (in a capsule) 4x a day for allergies. It has worked well for me, but I would like to make my own. I have tried: I was using benadryl, but the cognitive slow down and the sleepiness led me to try a more natural route. I have been using Nettle leaf capsules (435 mg) 4 x day, with butter bur extract capsules (75 mg) 4 x daily. I have purchased nettle leaf powder and am using that instead of the capsules. I purchased butterbur root instead of powder and would like to know if I can still use it for allergies.

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Article Info

Categories : Butterbur Roots Usage & Benefits

Recent edits by: Nuance, lg1in, estrella sacragon

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