For many centuries the Butterbur plant (Petasites hybridus) was traditionally used as a herbal remedy for conditions like pain, fever and spasms. Already the Greek physician Dioscurides used butterbur leaves to treat skin ulcers. Today, butterbur is mainly used for migraine prevention, but also for treating headaches and asthma. Pharmacologically active substances of butterbur are sesquiterpenes like petasin and isopetasin. The butterbur plant also contains liver-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are removed by a special patented treatment and only marketed under the name Petadolex®.
This special butterbur extract has anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties as demonstrated in pharmacological and experimental systems: it regulates calcium channels and inhibits the synthesis of the enzymes lipoxygenase and cyclooxygenase.
Efficacy and tolerability of the special butterbur root extract was demonstrated in two randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trials with more than 300 adult patients and in one open trial in 108 children and adolescents.