(NaturalNews) Several research studies have recently been conducted to explore the health benefits of butterbur, a whole food from the Earth, and to verify whether it may be used as a reliable treatment for seasonal allergies. As hypothesized, the results obtained by scientists are very encouraging and reveal that taking butterbur regularly will generate results that rival antihistamine medications. The secret lies in the active substances contained in the herb, namely petasin and isopetasin, which have been shown to reduce smooth muscle spasms and to possess anti-inflammatory properties.
Butterbur (the colloquial term for Petasites) designates a group of plants that are widely spread across Europe, as well as some parts of North America and Asia. They are known to have been used historically as a cure for pain, inflammation, and skin sores in various traditional medicines, including Greek and Native American.
Seasonal allergies annually cause significant discomfort for over 35 million Americans, and people are looking for ways to mitigate their various symptoms, which include wheezing, runny nose, sneezing, or even itchy, red and watery eyes. Many people turn to established remedies, such as antihistamine medication, oral decongestants, steroid sprays or desensitization. An increasing number of allergy sufferers are interested in pursuing natural or herbal solutions to their allergies, however. As Dr. Mary Hardy, head of integrative medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, claims, "using nature-based products can be a very useful way to handle mild allergies and a useful adjunct for more significant allergies, and there are many types of treatments you can safely try."
While studies documenting the full range of benefits (or effects) in using butterbur are still in their preliminary phase, Dr. Hardy advises that the herb has generated impressive results in trials so far. In fact, a group of Swiss scientists have revealed that using a small amount of the natural butterbur four times a day may prove as effective as taking any other established antihistamine drug, without any of the chemically induced side effects, such as drowsiness, dizziness and gastrointestinal problems.
In corroboration with the Swiss findings, an acclaimed study conducted by British researchers has shown that butterbur is quite effective in alleviating the symptoms associated with grass allergy. Furthermore, in an ample trial supervised by a team of German and Swiss researchers, two groups of test subjects were treated separately with butterbur and cetrizine (a popular antihistamine used in the treatment of allergies, hay fever and urticaria). After two weeks time, the two groups had evolved similarly as far as their allergy symptoms were concerned, showing notable physical, as well as emotional, improvement.
While there was initially some concern about the possible liver toxicity of several compounds found in the herb (namely pyrrolizidine alkaloids), when processed for widespread consumption in tablet form, those chemicals are eliminated.
Raw Michelle is a natural health blogger and researcher, sharing her passions with others, using the Internet as her medium. She discusses topics in a straight forward way in hopes to help people from all walks of life achieve optimal health and well-being. She has authored and published hundreds of articles on topics such as the raw food diet and green living in general. In 2010, Michelle created RawFoodHealthWatch.com, to share with people her approach to the raw food diet and detoxification.