Also indexed as:Arctic Butterbur, Bog Rhubarb, Butter Dock, Pestilence Wort, Petasites frigidus, Petasites hybridus, Purple Butterbur, Western Coltsfoot
© Martin Wall
Common names:Arctic Butterbur, Bog Rhubarb, Butter Dock, Pestilence Wort, Purple Butterbur, Western Coltsfoot
Botanical names:Petasites frigidus, Petasites hybridus
Parts Used & Where Grown
Butterbur, or Petasites hydridus, is found in colder, northern regions of Russia and Europe. A species native to the northern United States and much of Canada is Petasites frigidus. All parts of either plant are used, including root, rhizome, leaves, and flowers. Both species are easily confused with their close cousin, Eastern coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), a plant that looks the same and has similar properties and hazards.
Caution: Due to reports of liver toxicity, butterbur products are being voluntarily withdrawn from markets in the United Kingdom. Based on these reports, butterbur should not be used unless a doctor determines that the potential benefits outweigh the risks. People taking butterbur should be monitored by the doctor for adverse effects.
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This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Traditionally the entire plant was used as a demulcent to soothe a dry, spasmodic cough.1 It was primarily made into a tea, and used only for short periods of time. Using the herb as a tea may have helped reduce the liver's exposure to butterbur's toxic compounds, as they are not normally water soluble.
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