Its large, soft leaves once used to wrap butter, butterbur’s (Petasites hybridus) herbal extract has recently been found by Swiss and German researchers to be as effective as the antihistamine drug, fexofenadine (brand name: Allegra), in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis or hay fever. The trial, one of the largest of its kind, incorporated 330 patients divided into three groups:

  • those given butterbur tablets standardized to 8 mg petasin three times per day
  • those given fexofenadine 180 mg once per day (the manufacturer’s recommended dose)
  • those given a placebo


Those in the butterbur and fexofenadine groups had a decrease in symptoms of roughly 40%; while symptoms of those in the placebo group were only lowered by 4%. An additional benefit of butterbur —it did not cause drowsiness—is a major side effect of most antihistamine drugs. This provides evidence that a standardized extract of butterbur can offer a safe alternative to those sensitive to antihistamine drugs.

In addition to allergy relief, butterbur has long been used for the symptomatic relief and prevention of migraines. A clinical trial reported last year in the journal, Neurology, confirmed this by showing the regular use of butterbur lowered migraine attacks 50%! Clinically, we also know that butterbur can sharply reduce the intensity of migraines when they do occur.

Because butterbur in its natural form contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids— molecules that can cause liver damage—Enzymatic Therapy removes these alkaloids from Petadolex to assure its safety. The NEEDS Wellness Team recommends this brand because it is clinically proven to be safe and effective.

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