Posted by Nicole on March 10, 2020
Butterbur is an herb which has come to the attention of medical researchers, doctors, and patients worldwide over recent years. Studies show that it may be a powerful preventative treatment for head pain and that it might also be useful in combating seasonal allergies.
As described here, butterbur contains petasin and isopetasin, both of which curb inflammation and swelling while also fighting smooth muscle tissue spasms. These mechanisms may explain its potential effectiveness in preventing migraines and in controlling allergy symptoms.
But there is a concern with many butterbur products on the market, and that is that they may be contaminated with compounds called “Pyrrolizidine alkaloids,” or “PAs.”
What Are PAs?
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are toxic compounds which are present in butterbur which has not been properly processed.
If you consume butterbur which contains PAs, you are endangering the health of multiple organs, namely your liver and lungs. PAs also can adversely affect blood circulation. Moreover, they may be carcinogenic.
Obviously, these are all very serious potential adverse effects. As a result, it is critical to avoid consuming PAs.
Just how big a concern are PAs? They are a lot more common than you might imagine.
Neurology Times writes, “In a recent review of 21 commercial butterbur products, 7 of the 21 products (33%) contained PAs. In addition, only 7 (33%) showed an amount of petasins consistent with each product’s labeling.”
So, if you shop for a product at random without doing your research, you could hypothetically have a 1 in 3 chance of winding up with a product which is dangerously contaminated with PAs. That is a chance which you do not want to take.
How Can You find Butterbur Which is PA-Free?
When butterbur is correctly and thoroughly processed, no PAs remain in the finished product which ends up in your medicine cabinet. PA-free butterbur products are not hazardous to organ or circulatory health, nor are they carcinogenic.
That means that there are safe butterbur products on the market. You just need to be extra mindful when you are shopping to make sure that you are getting properly processed butterbur.
Only buy a butterbur supplement if it is certified PA-free. If you contact the seller, they should be able to tell you about the testing which their products have been subjected to and the results.
With PA-free butterbur, you do not need to worry about the health of your liver, lungs and circulatory system. But you can enjoy the anti-inflammatory benefits of this powerful herb.
Conclusion: PA-Free Butterbur Can Help You Safely Fight Allergies and Head Pain
You now know a bit more about butterbur both in terms of its potential health benefits and its drawbacks if it is contaminated with PAs.
While PA-contaminated butterbur products are widespread on the market, there are certified PA-free butterbur supplements out there which you can try for allergies and head pain.
Just make sure that you are conducting thorough research into any brand and product you are considering. That way you can stay safe while fighting head pain and allergies.