Petasites Hybridus – European Medicinal Plant With A Long History
The name “petasites” comes from Dioscurides (1st century), to whom the leaves resembled a wide-brimmed hat (“petasos” in Greek). In ancient Greece, the plant was used for inflammations, ulcers and wounds.
In the Middle Ages, the plant was used against the Black Death due to its diaphoretic effect.
|Scientific name||Petasites hybridus. Belongs to the composite plant family|
|Habitat||Northern and central parts of Europe, North America, parts of Asia|
|Flowering period||March to May|
|Harvest time||Spring and autumn|
|Healing properties||Pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, sedative|
Petasites should not be taken during pregnancy or breast-feeding as its effects in such cases have not been studied.
|Unique feature||Petasites is researched internationally.|
The Petasites hybridus plant is found in northern and central parts of Europe, North America, and parts of Asia. The plant thrives in areas of moisture, river banks, wet lowlands, and woodlands are its preferred habitats.
Between the months of March and May, butterbur plants form striking red spadices from flowers.
At this point, the leaves can grow up to the considerable size of 60 centimeters - so large that hikers and herdsmen used them as sun protection. Even the plant’s scientific name reminds us of this: the Greek word “petasos” was an early word for a shepherd’s hat.
What parts of the butterbur (Petasites hybridus) plant contain the healing powers was discovered by humans early on. As the name says: primarily in the roots, but in pharmaceutical manufacturing the leaves are also used for hay fever treatments.
Only when modern science took a closer look at the healing plant the high therapeutic potential of butterbur became truly apparent.
As a result, the plant is among the most heavily studied healing plants today. Multiple studies concerning migraine prevention were conducted with a patented special extract (Petadolex capsules).
Regular administration significantly reduced migraine attacks.
Thanks to modern, complex extraction methods a drawback of the remedy could be removed. In its natural state the butterbur contains substances (Pyrrolizidinalkaloide) with a possibly toxic impact to the liver. Thanks to modern, innovative processes these are removed from the brand drugs.
Many of the traditional old-time applications of butterbur (Petasites hybridus) - for example with renal colic, asthma, urinary incontinence and menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) - require further clinical study.
Proven however is the efficacy of butterbur with migraine (preventative), headaches, hay fever and related asthmatic symptoms.
Whosoever wants to reduce their migraine attacks with butterbur, as recommended in specialist medical guidelines, needs to be mindful to select an effective herbal extract. Occasionally, there is confusion with homeopathic preparations butterbur preparations, which contain the active substance only in the smallest trace amounts (example: homeopathic D6 corresponds to a dilution of 1:1,000,000) and would not lead to the desired effect with migraine.