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Butterbur is an herb used in both Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Note that butterbur (Petasites hybridus, P Japonicus) is often lumped in with the species Tussilago farfara, aka coltsfoot, which is a common name that is often used interchangeably by both plants. They are two different herbs, so be sure to check the botanical name to make sure you are using the correct plant.

In the Middle Ages, butterbur was used to fight the plague. It was dried as a powder and mixed with wine to prevent plague and other virulent diseases.

Here are a few key uses for butterbur:

  • It reduces the duration and intensity of migraines.
  • It eases the symptoms of seasonal allergies such as coughs, itchy eyes, and congestion.
  • It is used in TCM to eliminate Toxins, including worms.
  • It is used as a cardiotonic to support heart health.
  • Butterbur seeds have historically been used in love potions and divination.

Be aware, you do not want to eat butterbur raw. Like comfrey and coltsfoot, butterbur contains PA alkaloids (Pyrrolizidine alkaloids) that can seriously harm the liver. Also be sure commercial products containing butterbur are labeled PA-Free and are therefore safe to use.

Find out more about Butterbur (Kuan Dong).

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