Butterbur recently rose to become one of the best preventative treatments for migraine.
But the recommendation was always given with a caution. Be careful – very careful – about what butterbur product you buy. Butterbur contains toxic compounds known as alkaloids, which may damage your liver or even cause cancer.
Now the toxic elements can be removed – and they were. The product was manufactured in Germany and it underwent very strict testing to ensure that the dangerous compounds had been totally removed.
However, according to a recent report from the New York Headache Center, the manufacturer changed the process of manufacture and did not repeat all the safety procedures. So they believe that the risk is now too high. From the center’s blog:
We no longer recommend butterbur to our patients. … Germany is no longer allowing butterbur to be sold there because the manufacturer changed its purification process and did not repeat all of the required safety studies. Butterbur made in Germany and in the US is still sold in the US, but our FDA does not regulate herbal products and does not require the extensive safety tests that are required in Germany. This is why we no longer recommend butterbur for our patients.
For the time being, you’re probably better off to try other treatments until this mess gets sorted out. Other excellent and well-researched supplements include things like magnesium, feverfew, coenzyme Q10.