Butterbur is a shrub that has been used to prevent and treat various ailments and conditions dating back to the Middle Ages. Butterbur supplements available commercially contain extracts from the root, stem, or leaves of the plant. Raw, unprocessed butterbur products like teas should not be used as they contain harmful substances.
In their guidelines for migraine prevention, the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society concluded that butterbur is effective and should be offered to patients with migraine to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.
Always consult with your doctor before taking butterbur or any supplement for migraines. Generally, adults with migraines may take 50-75 mg orally 2 times a day for 4 months and doses are frequently different for children, which should only be given under direct supervision of a health professional.
Common side effects of butterbur include belching, mild digestive tract issues, diarrhea, fatigue, headache, itchy eyes, and drowsiness. Raw butterbur can cause liver damage and cancer. It is not clear whether or not using butterbur for a prolonged period of time is safe. Butterbur may also cause allergic reactions.