Several well controlled trials have now confirmed butterbur leaf extract to be a safe and effective treatment for seasonal allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever.
One study, reported in 2006, tested butterbur in 580 patients with hay fever and found that symptoms had improved in 90% of patients. Tolerability was positively rated by 92% of patients, and both efficacy and improvement in quality of life by 80%.
Nearly half of the patients in this study were given an anti-allergic medication alongside the butterbur, but this combination did not result in a better effect than was attained with with butterbur alone.
The previous year, butterbur extract had been tested in 330 patients against the antihistamine fexofenadine (Telfast) and against a placebo.
No significant difference was found between the effects produced by butterbur and fexofenadine, but both treatments were significantly superior to a placebo in improving symptoms.
The results from these two studies are consistent with observations
documented in previous randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of butterbur extract, which can now be considered an effective alternative treatment for allergic rhinitis.
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First Published in September 2007
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