4 Butterbur Benefits (Migraines, Allergies) + Side Effects

Butterbur is an effective treatment for migraine headaches that can potentially help with other conditions, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and asthma. Preliminary research suggests It may even protect the brain from oxidative stress. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of this plant, and why you need to choose the supplement wisely.

What Is Butterbur?

Butterbur (any of the plants of the Petasites genus), also known as coltsfoot, is a flowering plant native to Asia, Europe, and North America. It has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to treat a wide range of ailments from high blood pressure (hypertension) and asthma to tumors. It was even used to treat plague and fever during the Middle Ages [1, 2].

There are several types of butterbur, though the most well-studied are Petasites japonicus, also called giant butterbur, and Petasites hybridus. Though related, the two are distinct species and may have different properties.

Petasites japonicus is eaten as a vegetable in Eastern Asia and also used in traditional medicine. Petasites hybridus is native to Europe, where it is not considered a culinary plant but is still used medicinally [3, 4, 5].

Petasites plants have to be processed in the laboratory to ensure they are safe to consume. One of these extracts is referred to as Butterbur Ze339 or Ze339 [6].

It is most commonly used for migraine and allergy relief and has been the subject of multiple clinical trials suggesting that it is an effective treatment for both conditions, in addition to containing beneficial chemicals that may reduce inflammation, oxidation, and pain [7, 8, 9, 10].


This plant contains:

Mechanism of Action

The anti-inflammatory properties of butterbur are conferred mainly by molecules called petasins, which act to limit the body’s production of inflammatory molecules such as: