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Poke Berry for Arthritis? Butterbur for Migraines? Herbal Remedies Come Back


Herbal remedies are making a real come back and not just among us former hippies.

Butterbur, for example, is being viewed at the UPMC Center for Integrative Medicine in Shadyside, PA as a potential adjunct treatment for migraine headaches. That is, it is used in combination with other treatments.

There are published double-blind (scientific) studies which show butterbur extract can be effective in helping prevent or easing the intensity of migraine attacks.

Butterbur (petasites hybridus) is a shrub found in Europe and the U.S. and both leaf and root extracts contain compounds which have been used to treat asthma and migraine headaches.

See various studies listed at, an archive of medical journal articles maintained by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Search term: butterbur migraine

A report published in Neurology. 2004 Dec 28;63(12):2240-4 concludes, "CONCLUSIONS: Petasites extract 75 mg bid is more effective than placebo and is well tolerated as a preventive therapy for migraine. Petasites 50 mg PO bid was not significantly more effective than placebo on the primary study endpoints."

Translated into English, a 75 mg dose does work, although lower doses don't.

This study was done at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY.

Please consult your regular physician before relying on any herbal remedy if only because there may be interactions with other medicine you are taking or other reasons not to use the herbal remedy - the UPMC Integrative Medicine Center uses a combination of treatments combining Eastern and Western medicine.

On October 25, 2010, KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, PA carried a story on an herbalist in West Virginia who has been compounding herbal mixtures for years.

Among other herbal remedies she discussed was the use of Poke Berry in treating her own arthritis.

(KDKA radio 1020 was the first commercial radio station in the U.S.)

A transcript of the broadcast KDKA-TV report can be found at:

Please note that this story is also copied on the

Both links are included because at the time this is being written the KDKA site wasn't responding but the story did run on air. (Please note, the site server may just have been busy - the alternative link is included for reader convenience.)

John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through NewsBlaze.

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