The season of frustration is upon us. As trees and flowers blossom, the allergy medication commercials appear on the television and Kleenex gets used up to a far greater degree. There is a solid alternative to allergy drugs in the herbal aisles of your local pharmacy or health store. Well, it might be in the aisles. Butterbur is only slowing entering the mainstream for reasons unclear.
Because this herbal remedy is the ultimate natural allergy fighter. Butterbur could be the best option for fighting seasonal allergies and, in particular, hay fever. The plant, vwhich originates in Europe and the U.K., has some strange pseudonyms as well: langwort, umbrella plant, bog rhubarb, flapperdock, blatterdock, capdockin, bogshorns, and butterdock. The roots and leaves of this red-flowered herb are used as medicine. Butterbur is an anti- inflammatory, meaning that it could help treat and prevent conditions that cause swelling and inflammation in the body (the list of these is awfully long). It also exerts an antispasmodic effect, which means that it could prevent cramps or spasms in the stomach, intestines and bladder.
But mostly it could be great for allergies. Several studies in the past couple of years have alluded to this, including one in the prestigious “British Medical Journal,” which found that butterbur treated allergies to the same degree as more expensive medication. Another found that butterbur extract led to “significantly superior” results, prompting researchers to say that the herb’s effect on allergies is “clear.”
Perhaps the best evidence ever comes from Germany and Switzerland, where researchers found that butterbur definitely acts the same way as antihistamine medications. They took 330 patients and indisputably discovered that the extract called “Butterbur Ze339” treated allergic symptoms as well as a conventional antihistamine without causing any of the drowsiness often felt with drugs such as “Claritin” or”Tavist.” The typical herbal dose is 50 mg twice daily with meals.
Sometimes being a herb and not a drug works against these natural medications. It’s tough for mainstream medicine — and consequently doctors and patients — to believe that it can work. People invariably stick with the drugs. But if a herb works as well as a drug with no side effects, it deserves a little attention. A natural treatment amid all the chemical cures is an amazing thing. And here is proof: butterbur works for allergies. Check it out, and hopefully your local store stocks it. If not, they will be soon.