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Butterbur for Migraines, Allergies and Other Benefits

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Butterbur (Petasites hybridus), which is also known as “European butterbur” in North America, is a perennial herbal shrub that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It can be found growing along rivers, ditches and marshy areas in Asia, Europe and parts of North America.1 Its name was derived from its large leaves, which were traditionally used as a wrapper for butter blocks during warm weather.2

The European butterbur plant is also known as bog rhubarb, sweet colt’s foot, petasites and umbrella plant. It has lilac-pink flowers and leaves that can grow and broaden to as much as 3 feet in diameter.3 Another butterbur variant grows in Japan, known as Fuki or Petasites japonicus. It can be distinguished through its round, dark-green leaves and fat petioles, and thrives in moist, fertile or heavy clay soil.4

Dioscorides, a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist, described butterbur’s medicinal use in 65 A.D.5 The plant was then used against the bubonic plague and for easing fever in the Middle Ages.6 Later on, butterbur was known to help ease muscle spasm after a 1951 study published in the Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Experimental Pathology and Pharmacology journal demonstrated its antispasmodic properties.7

Today, butterbur — particularly its roots, leaves and bulbs — is known as an alternative remedy for various conditions. Keep reading to learn more about the merits of this herb.

What Is Butterbur Mainly Used For?

Petasin, or butterbur extract, is known to help ease headaches and migraine, allergies and spasms of the urogenital and gastrointestinal tract with its anti-inflammatory and spasmolytic properties.8 Butterbur products are usually made with butterbur extract taken from its roots and leaves.9

Butterbur may have culinary uses, too. In Japan, Fuki is added to pickles and stir-fry recipes along with miso,10 a fermented soybean paste used as flavoring in salads, sauces, vegetable dishes and more.11 Fuki stalks have to be rubbed with salt to remove its natural bitterness before it is boiled for several minutes and then plunged into cold water.12

However, unlike other herbs such as rosemary, thyme or parsley, the butterbur herb is not supposed to be eaten raw on a long-term basis because it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs).13 PAs are plant toxins mostly found in medicinal herbs,14 and prolonged exposure to these hepatotoxic chemicals may potentially damage the liver, lungs and blood circulation, and may even lead to cancer.15

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9 Butterbur Benefits

As mentioned above, butterbur was historically used to help ward off the plague and to ease fever.16 Now studies have found that it may be helpful for a number of other conditions, such as:

Migraines and headaches — A 2005 study has found that Petasites extract from butterbur root could significantly reduce migraine attacks, even among children and teenagers, with only a low rate of burping as its side effect.17 In another study on butterbur for migraines, butterbur had the same medicinal effect as music therapy among school-aged participants.18

On the other hand, a study on the efficacy of butterbur for headaches has proven its prophylactic effect through the anti-inflammatory properties present in the extract.19

Allergic rhinitis — Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is commonly determined by symptoms such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, excessive fatigue and coughing. To help relieve these symptoms, butterbur may be used as an effective herbal treatment, with a study from the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery supporting the efficacy and safety of butterbur extract. The researchers noted:20

“The effects of Butterbur Ze339 (carbon dioxide extract from Petasites leaves, standardized to 8 mg petasins per tablet) on seasonal allergic rhinitis have been shown to be significant under methodologically controlled study conditions. In that evaluation of butterbur, we found the treatment advantageous relative to a commonly used antihistamine (cetirizine hydrochloride).”

Another study found that butterbur for allergies works similarly as antihistamine drugs. Only small amounts of allergy-producing substances were found in the participants’ bodies after five days of taking butterbur tablets.21

Asthma — Coralberry is an ornamental plant containing compounds that help relieve bronchial muscle contraction as experienced by asthmatics. Similar to coralberry, butterbur is a natural antihistamine that helps suppress the symptoms of asthma.

Historically, butterbur was also known in ancient Greece as a prophylaxis for its anti-inflammatory and leukotriene inhibitory properties.22 In a 2004 study involving 64 adults and 16 children and adolescents, it was proven to be effective in lessening asthma attacks complementary to their normal asthma medications.23 However, if you are allergic to plants from the ragweed family, I advise you not to take or use butterbur products.

Smooth muscle spasm — Smooth muscle spasm may be a symptom of a number of conditions, such as dehydration, constipation, gastritis and gastroenteritis. In a study, researchers have found that isopetasin and oxopetasan esters in Petasites hybridus have medicinal properties to help suppress these spasms.24 An animal study also found that ethanolic extract in Petasites hybridus may help shrink the size of stomach ulcers.25

Somatoform disorders — Somatic symptom disorder (SSD) often causes stress and anxiety with or without physical explanation. In a 2009 Pythotherapy Research study, it was found that herbal drugs with butterbur root may be an effective treatment for people with somatoform disorders on a short-term basis.26

Obesity — A study involving obesity-prone mice found that the methanol extract containing antioxidants such as polyphenols, glycosides or petaslignolide from butterbur stabilizes cholesterol levels, making it a helpful ingredient in combating obesity and cardiovascular disease as well.27

Common cold — A study in Japan demonstrated Japanese butterbur’s expectorant properties, which can help eliminate an allergic reaction due to cedar pollen dispersal.28

Alzheimer’s disease — A recent study found that Petasites japonicus leaves can effectively mitigate the death of neuronal cell, a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.29

Oxidative stress — Another study published in 2005 highlighted butterbur’s neuroprotective effect in mice. The combination of rough aster or Eurybia radula and butterbur extract was able to maintain the balance of free radicals and antioxidants in the mice’s brains.30

Butterbur for Pets

Pets, most especially dogs and cats, can also be susceptible to seasonal allergies. Their symptoms are often characterized by skin irritation and inflammation. Here are some signs of allergy in pets:31

  • Excessive scratching
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive licking of feet
  • Open sores
  • Rubbing of body against furniture or carpet
  • Excessive head shaking

One way of mitigating a pet’s allergy is through using natural antihistamines. Butterbur may help reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies for pets because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

How to Take Butterbur as a Natural Remedy

Butterbur supplements, tinctures and tea are available and are made from the roots, leaves and stems of the plant. Make sure that you choose capsules that are labeled PA-free to help avoid liver damage.32 If you intend to use butterbur products, always seek your health care provider’s advice first.

For pets, butterbur can come in powder form and combined with other herbs, such as stinging nettle leaves and cat’s claw, which may also help relieve pet allergies.

Growing Butterbur at Home

With leaves that can spread by as much as 3 feet in diameter, space may become a problem if you plan to grow butterbur in your garden. As an invasive rhizome, it has a tendency to grow horizontally underground, so it’s best to put up a fence to control it. Select a spacious area for butterbur plants to expand freely.

Butterbur could grow in any type of soil, as long as it is damp. These plants don’t need too much sunlight, as it will dry out the leaves. When this happens, wait for the plant to return to its normal appearance under partial or full shade.

To prevent slugs from invading butterbur plants, place a bowl of beer near the plant, which will attract and drown these pests. You can also lay a board near the plant where the slugs would rather settle.33

More Butterbur Studies Are Needed to Prove Its Efficacy for Other Conditions

Studies highlighted butterbur’s anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease symptoms of migraine and antispasmodic properties that help relieve muscle spasms, especially in the gastrointestinal tract.34

Though it is considered an alternative remedy to migraine and headache disorders alongside  magnesium, riboflavin, melatonin and feverfew,35 more evidence regarding butterbur’s efficacy needs to be presented. Some studies made use of root extract while some have used its leaf extract, leaving a discrepancy on the formulations used, since butterbur roots contain more alkaloids than its leaves.36

As there is not enough data on the effectiveness of butterbur in chronic cough, insomnia, anxiety, wounds, pain and urinary tract spasms, I do not advise taking butterbur products for these conditions.37

Possible Side Effects of Butterbur to Watch Out For

If you are allergic to plants like ragweed, marigold, daisy, or chrysanthemum, you should avoid the use or intake of butterbur as it also comes from the Compositae family.38 Be sure to visit a doctor first and discuss your intention of using butterbur supplements or products to avoid allergy symptoms such as itching, swelling of throat and hives.

There are not many supporting studies on the effects of butterbur on pregnant or breastfeeding women, so I don’t advise taking or using butterbur products if you fall under these groups.39

Raw, unprocessed butterbur must be avoided because it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), as mentioned above. Other butterbur side effects include:40,41,42,43,44

You should also be aware that taking butterbur with the following drugs45 may trigger a reaction:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Etodolac
  • Morphine hydrochloride
  • Tramadol
  • Naproxen
  • Loratadine
  • Ketoprofen

Butterbur for Long-Term Use

Though a number of studies have concluded that butterbur may be helpful in combating symptoms of asthma and seasonal allergies, its efficacy during long-term use still hasn’t been determined due to lack of data. Published studies done on both humans and animals made use of butterbur extract for treatments and lasted up to 16 weeks only.46 If you intend to use butterbur long-term, it is important to consult your health care provider first.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Butterbur

Q: Where can I buy butterbur?

A: Butterbur products are available in health stores or online, and are sold as supplements, powders, cream and liquid extracts. Before using or taking butterbur products, consult your doctor for assistance.

Q: Is butterbur safe?

A: Some side effects related to butterbur include drowsiness, diarrhea, itchy eyes, difficulty in breathing and allergies. As a member of the Asteraceae/Compositae family along with ragweed, marigold, daisy and chrysanthemum,47 taking or using butterbur products may cause allergic reactions if you are sensitive to these plants.

Also, butterbur extract contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that may be toxic to the liver, so be sure to choose butterbur products that are certified PA-free.48 If you have an existing liver condition, you should not take or use butterbur.49

Q: What is butterbur extract used for?

A: A number of studies suggest that butterbur may be helpful in alleviating conditions such as headache, asthma, allergies, and gastrointestinal diseases.

Q: Is butterbur good for headaches?

A: Yes. Published data suggests that the anti-inflammatory properties of Petasites extract from butterbur may be effective against headaches.

Q: Where does butterbur grow?

A: Butterbur plants are found in marshy areas, typically along rivers and ditches in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia.50 The Japanese variant (Petasites japonicas) can mainly be found in China, Korea and Japan.51

Q: Can butterbur cause diarrhea?

A: Based on a published study, diarrhea is one possible side effect of butterbur intake.52

Q: Does butterbur help with allergies?

A: Yes. Butterbur has antihistamine properties that may help mitigate the symptoms of seasonal allergies.53 But if you are allergic to ragweed, avoid butterbur products as it comes from the same family.

Q: Is butterbur good for migraines?

A: Yes. Butterbur’s anti-inflammatory effects are known to help ease the symptoms brought about by migraine.54

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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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