SCIENTIFIC NAME(S): Petasites Hybridus

COMMON NAME(S): Butterbur, fuki

Butterbur, also called Horsehoof, Donnhove, and Coughwort, is a traditional herbal remedy employed around the world in the treatment of coughs and respiratory problems.


Butterbur's genus name Petasites is derived from the Latin word Petasus, meaning "hat." Some were said to have worn the leaves in this manner. In 1652, herbalist Nicholas Culpeper documented the use of butterbur root to treat plague and fevers by axtucing sweat. Traditionally, the antispasmolytic actions of the plant have been used to treat asthma, cough, and GI disorders

Botany :- Butterbur is a perennial shrub, cultivated throughout Europe and North and West Asia, which can grow to 3 feet tall. It prefers damp areas, such as near rivers and streams. Its distinctive pink-lilac flowers grow on large spikes at the stem ends. The leaves are large and heart-shaped and used along with the root of the plant. Microscopic analysis of butterbur's pollen grains has been reported as well as examination of epidermal cells and stomata parts. Anatomical and morphological features of the plant's leaves also have been described.

Uses of Butterbur

Butterbur has traditionally been used for its antispasmodic and analgesic properties to aid in treatment of asthma, cough, and gastrointestinal disorders. It has also been used for urinary tract disorders, bronchial ailments, cramping, and migraines.

Side Effects of Butterbur

Side effects have not been reported, but butterbur's pyrrolizidine alkaloids have damaged organs and caused cancer in animals; limit use. Do not use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Side effects have not been reported, but butterbur's pyrrolizidine alkaloids are known to damage organs, primarily the liver, and cause cancer in animals. Daily doses of these alkaloids should not exceed 1 mcg, and duration of use should not exceed 4 to 6 weeks per year. Use of the plant root during pregnancy or breastfeeding is contraindicated. Enzyme immunoassay for assessing toxic potential of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids from butterbur has been reported.

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