Taking Butterbur for Allergies

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Seasonal allergies can make life difficult to enjoy. Side effects of allergy medication can make you feel drowsy all day. If you are looking for a natural remedy for allergies try taking butterbur for allergies. The studies on butterbur show it could be as effective as taking allergy medication with fewer side effects. butterbur plan

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How Butterbur Helps Allergies

Butterbur extract contains petasins. Petasins could help with allergies by inhibiting leukotriene production. Leukotrienes cause inflammation and constricting of the airway muscles. It can also cause the body to produce excess mucus and fluid.

Butterbur could help your body not to overreact to harmless things such as pollen.

Butterbur could be effective in treating allergies with respiratory symptoms such as:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Asthma
  • Coughing and sneezing

Other uses of butterbur include:

  • Urinary tract spasms
  • Migraine headaches
  • Chronic cough
  • Fever
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

Many of these uses don’t have good studies backing the claims and evidence is mostly anecdotal.

What The Studies Show

If you are currently taking an antihistamine but hate the side effects butterbur may be as effective. There is a study on butterbur and cetirizine. The study showed similar improvements with both cetirizine and butterbur. Both were tolerated well. Also, cetirizine is classified as a nondrowsy medication for allergies but 2/3 of the side effects reported were related to drowsiness from cetirizine.

If you want extra help sleeping medication like cetirizine may be helpful. But many people find the effects last into the next day or make it difficult to wake up.

In this study butterbur taken morning and night was as effective as fexofenadine. Fexofenadine and butterbur were compared to a placebo. Both were equally effective at relieving nasal allergy symptoms compared to the placebo.

There is one disadvantage, to get relief equal to that of allergy medication butterbur is usually taken more often. Typically, it is taken morning and night but another dose can be taken in the middle of the day to help relieve symptoms.

How Much Butterbur Should You Take

It is always best to take the smallest dose that is effective. A typical dose is about 50mg. When taking butterbur for allergies you want to make it contains 7.5-8mg of petasins.

Depending on your symptoms you may need to take it 2-3 times a day. There was a study based on doses. The study found improved relief with taking a dose of 3 times a day versus 2 times a day.

Some take butterbur up to 4 times a day for a few weeks and then start to decrease the dose after symptoms improve.

I take NOW brand of butterbur but it also has feverfew. Feverfew could help with migraines. I suffer from mild allergies and occasional migraines. My husband has severe allergies. We both take this when needed and have had no side effects.

I don’t take it regularly only for a few weeks at a time when I am having issues with allergies or headaches. My husband has taken it pretty regularly for several years.

Side Effects

Side effects tend to be mild but everyone reacts differently. Possible side effects include:

  • Allergic reactions to the supplement
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness

These side effects tend to be mild but if they cause problems simply stop taking butterbur.


When picking out your butterbur supplement make sure to find one that is PA (pyrrolizidine alkaloids) free. PA could be linked to liver damage. Even some brands that state PA-free could contain PA.

As with any supplement it is best to take it only as needed and give yourself breaks.

The NIH states that PA-free butterbur is generally well tolerated for up to 16 weeks.

Buttersburs effects have not been studied on pregnant or breastfeeding women. If pregnant or breastfeeding do not take butterbur with PA it can cause complications or birth defects.

Other Natural Allergy Relief Options

If you need additional help for severe allergies, check out 5 important vitamins for allergies. Problems with sinus pressure and pain? Try quercetin and bromelain. Quercetin and bromelain can do wonders for sinus headaches.

Another useful supplement is stinging nettle. Some people use this as a tea or supplement. Others make it in a concentrated infusion and drink it daily for allergies and all the nutrients it provides. I use it as a tea, it has a mild taste and I enjoy it. My husband takes it as a supplement for allergies.

Many of these supplements you can take together. Often you can see results within a few days or weeks. You may be able to start cutting back on over-the-counter allergy medication.


Butterbur can be a great option for allergies. It can be as effective as over-the-counter allergy medications.

Make sure to find a PA-free version from a trusted brand.

You can take it morning, night, and even a dose during the day if needed.

It can be taken typically be taken with other supplements.

There have been several studies on butterbur that show it could be effective for allergies.

Disclaimer –  Medical advice is not provided in this article. Consult a healthcare provider before adding any supplements or making lifestyle changes.

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