Butterbur Found Effective In Treating Migraines: Studies


The Daisy-family Petasites Prove Themselves Effective In Migraine Treatment (1)

Butterbur, Petasites or Sweet Coltsfoot are residents of moist regions like marshes, ditches  and riverbeds and do well in temperate regions in the northern hemisphere. Studies have shown that certain species contain chemicals petasin and isopetasin which occur in high concentrations in the plant’s root and are very effective in treating migraines. 

In my post of April 26th, 2012, titled ‘New Guidelines from American Academy of Neurology On Reduction of Migraine Frequency’ I had outlined how the AAN listed out Butterbur as one of the herbal formulae that they found effective in the management of migraines. (2) 

The organic compound petasin found in butterbur is a combination of the ester of petasol and angelic acid known to stub inflammatory response in the body. It is also a proven muscle relaxant. Moreover, irritable blood vessels that are known to add to the woes of a migraineur are also soothed by petasin and isopetasin by control of blood pressure and spasmodic capillary action. Several German researches have found that incidences of migraines could be reduced by as much as 50% even in long-term patients. (3) 

Here are a list of studies that have expanded on the find: 

  • Evidence-based guideline update: NSAIDs and other complementary treatments for episodic migraine prevention in adults. Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society; AHRQ (US Dept Of Health & Human Services); http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?f=rss&id=36897
  •  The First Placebo-Controlled Trial of a Special Butterbur Root Extract for the Prevention of Migraine: Reanalysis of Efficacy Criteria; European Neurology; Diener HC, Rahlfs VW, Danesch U. Eur Neurol. 2004;51(2):89-97. http://www.petasites.eu/PDF/Eur_Neurol.pdf
  •  An extract of Petasites hybridus is effective in the prophylaxis of migraine. NCBI Resources – PubMed; Grossmann M, Schmidramsl H. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Sep;38(9):430-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11020030
  •  Petasites hybridus root (butterbur) is an effective preventive treatment for migraine.NCBI Resources – PubMed; Lipton RB, Gobel H, Einhaupl KM, Wilks K, Mauskop A. Neurology. 2004 Dec 28;63(12):2240-4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15623680

Butterbur is available as a herbal tea though it is hard to palate because of it’s bitter taste. However, capsules of butterbur may be a better option. Doctors usually recommend 50-75 mg twice daily as effective prophylactic dosage.

It is imperative that you consult a doctor before taking any butterbur preparation. 

Once advised, choose a brand that says ‘PA-Free’ indicative of the removal of toxic chemical pyrolizidine alkaloid which is toxic to the liver. (4)  


  1. Image Credit: Butterbur 628x 323; Spring Allergy Relief; Prevention.com; Web February 2014; http://bit.ly/1nMkgOH
  2. New Guidelines from American Academy of Neurology On Reduction of Migraine Frequency; Migrainingjenny.wordpress.com; Web February 2014; https://migrainingjenny.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/new-guidelines-from-american-academy-of-neurology-on-reduction-of-migraine-frequency/
  3. Butterbur: For Migraines, Allergies, And More; Chiroeco.com; Web February 2014; http://www.chiroeco.com/chiropractic/news/14902/856/butterbur-%20for%20migraines-%20allergies-%20and%20more/
  4. Butterbur In The Treatment Of Migraines; WholesomeOne.com; Web February 2014; http://www.wholesomeone.com/article/butterbur-treatment-migraines

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Finally A Stroke Guideline For Women!


Hemorrhagic Stroke Risk In Women Addressed By AHA/ASA For The First Time (1)

Recent research has shown that migraineurs and especially those who experience aura are at an increased risk of a stroke (brain hemorrhage) or a heart attack during a migraine episode. My post of June 20th, 2013 speaks of this research (on high risk of stroke among the migraining population): http://bit.ly/1iON349

A stroke may be either ischemic or hemorrhagic in nature. A hemorrhagic stroke is the rupturing of an artery in the brain which results in bleeding in the tissues surrounding the rupture and killing the brain cells there which are devoid of blood, oxygen and nutrition. An ischemic stroke occurs when there is an obstruction like cholesterol or clot in the arteries in the brain. These account for almost 90% of all strokes and are less likely to result in fatality if given immediate attention. However, migraineurs are more susceptible to the deadlier hemorrhagic strokes. (2)

[Read WebMD research on how women with migraine with aura may be at increased risk for an additional type of stroke called hemorrhagic stroke here: http://bit.ly/1cmHW6Y ]

Given that women are more susceptible to migraines with aura, the higher risk of getting a stroke is inherent yet there have been no guidelines to date to address stroke issues in women. Finally a guideline has been issued by The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for health professionals to prevent strokes in women. Here are a few of the important recommendation highlights you should know:


“Women are four times more likely to have migraines than men, and they often coincide with hormone swings. Migraines alone don’t raise the risk of stroke, but ones with aura do. Using oral contraceptives and smoking raise this risk even more, so the guidelines urge stopping smoking.” (3)


Women over 75 years of age should be screened for atrial fibrillation as it is an increased stroke risk factor.


Low dose aspirin or calcium supplement therapy is recommended to cut of stroke risk


Preeclampsia is a condition where a pregnant woman experiences both high blood pressure and a significant increase in protein in her urine. Women with preeclampsia are twice as likely to get a stroke and four times as likely to suffer from high blood pressure later in life. In addition, they are to be treated for weight and cholesterol issues as well as smoking.


Such women who are pregnant and suffer from high blood pressure (>=160/110 mmHg) should be given medication for high blood pressure. Those who are expectant are to be treated for readings in the range of 150-159 mmHg/100-109 mmHg. (4)


  1. Image Credit: Brain Hemorrhage; Sanitarian.net; Web February 2014; http://www.sanitarian.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Brain-Haemorrage.jpg
  2. Study Shows Increased Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke for Migraines With Aura; WebMD.com; Web February 2014; http://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20100824/migraines-with-aura-may-raise-stroke-risk
  3. Guidelines For Stroke Prevention In Women Issued; Forbes.com; Web February 2014; http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2014/02/09/guidelines-for-stroke-prevention-in-women-issued/2/
  4. Stroke prevention in women: guidelines set for the first time; Medical News Today; Web February 2014; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/272351.php

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Corydalis Can Stub Pain Before Full-Blown Migraine Attack



Corydalis (Chinese Poppy) Has The Power To Kill Migraine Pain (1)

Another natural alternative to stubbing migraine pain in the bud is the plant corydalis. It is also known as Chinese Poppy and is a popular analgesic used in the Chinese medicine system.

In the January 28th show of Dr. Oz Show, the doctor said that corydalis is both natural and a cheap option to treat migraine pains. In addition, corydalis does not come with any side effects! He suggests a dosage of 3 – 9 grams (six capsules) of twice or thrice a day would help treat chronic and migraine pains. (2)

As per acupuncturist Dr. Hsu corydalis contains very potent pain killing chemical called dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB) which is known to thwart pains from migraines, menstrual cramps, back pain and rheumatism. Corydalis works by causing the release of dopamine into our bloodstream thus giving us a feeling of well-being. However, it is not addictive in nature as is common with chemicals that work the central nervous system.

Research has also been conducted by the University of California when the scientists were searching for compounds in corydalis that seemed likely to function in a manner similar to morphine.

As per lead researcher at the University Olivier Civelli, “We landed on DHCB but rapidly found that it acts not through the morphine receptor but through other receptors, in particular one that binds dopamine.” Some of the earlier studies have indicated that the dopamine D2 receptor plays a critical role in pain sensations. (3)


  1. Image Credit: Corydalis; Medical Daily; Web February 2014; http://bit.ly/1nGMHAq
  2. Dr. Oz details natural painkillers to relieve migraines and back pain; Examiner.com; Web February 2014; http://www.examiner.com/article/dr-oz-details-natural-painkillers-to-relieve-migraines-and-back-pain
  3. Traditional Chinese medicine proves effective for chronic pain; Tracktec.in; Web February 2014; http://www.tracktec.in/2014/01/traditional-chinese-medicine-proves-effective-for-chronic-pain.html

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Stop To Smell The ‘Lavender’: Being Pain-Free


Therapeutic Grade Lavender Essential Oil Proves More Effective Than Drugs In Treating Migraines (1)

Since real cures for migraines have not been found yet, migraineurs often make do with taking drugs on a long-term basis that tackle some but not all of the symptoms associated with a migraine episode. So the injections, patches, magnetic stimulators, pills, nasal delivery techniques address pain mitigation or at most one other symptom migraineurs experience during their intense episodes. As migraineurs are usually in for the long haul, their drug intake is also long term as is their experience with unnecessary medication side effects and that is why a lot of us start to explore natural options.

Lavender has long been used in the management of anxiety in natural, holistic and traditional medicines. For the first the first time the effect of therapeutic grade lavender oil was studied in the treatment of migraine pains. The study conducted by the Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Mashad University of Medical Sciences, Mashad, Iran. The report of the study was published in the online version of PubMed’s April 2012 issue. Abstract of the research details may be accessed (2)

A total of 47 participants who had been clinically diagnosed with migraine were studied. They were divided in two groups randomly – the case group and the control group.

The case group was instructed to apply 2-3 drops of therapeutic grade essential oil on their upper lip at the onset of migraine pain. They were to inhale the emanating vapours for 15 minutes and grade the severity of their migraine pain at intervals of 30 minutes for the next 2 hours.

The control group was given the very same instructions except that they were provided scented paraffin to apply to their upper lips for inhalation of vapours. Neither of the groups knew what they were being given in the unlabelled bottles.

The lavender group not only reported a 71% improvement in the severity of their symptoms, they also reported significantly fewer migraines than the placebo group. In other words, lavender helped migraine sufferers about three quarters of the time. (3)

Compared to the efficacy rates of high dose Tylenol at 50%, 57% for Ibuprofen and 59% for Imitrex, lavender oil scores beautifully over pharmaceutical drugs and comes with negligible side-effects if any at all compared to the drugs.

Lavender headache pillows stuffed with dried lavender petals and buds, lavender puches that may be embedded into scarves or tied to handkerchiefs may also be used to manage migraines. Other versatile ways of using lavender to counter migraines may be learnt at the Lavender Bee Farm website. (4)


  1. Image Credit: Lavender Bee Stock Photo; “Lavender Bee” by Simon Howden; Free Digital Photos; Web January 2014; http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Flowers_g74-Lavender_Bee_p42074.html
  2. RESEARCH ABSTRACT: Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial; NBI Resources – Pub Med; Web January 2014; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517298
  3. Essential Lavender Oil: A Natural Solution for Migraines and Anxiety; Conscious Life News; Web January 2014; http://consciouslifenews.com/essential-lavender-oil-natural-solution-migraines-anxiety/#
  4. Lavender Therapy for Migraine Headaches; Lavender Bee FARM; Web Jaunuary 2014; http://www.lavenderbeefarm.com/headache.shtml

FOR VIDEO: Lavender for Migraine Headaches; Nutrition Facts; Web January 2014; http://nutritionfacts.org/video/lavender-for-migraine-headaches/

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