Principal Proposed Uses
Other Proposed Uses
Butterbur can be found growing along rivers, ditches, and marshy areas in northern Asia, Europe, and parts of North America. It sends up stalks of reddish flowers very early in spring, before producing very large heart-shaped leaves with a furry gray underside. Once the leaves appear, butterbur somewhat resembles rhubarb—one of its common names is bog rhubarb. It is also sometimes referred to as "umbrella leaves" due to the size of its foliage. Other more or less descriptive common names abound, including blatterdock, bogshorns, butter-dock, butterly dock, capdockin, flapperdock, and langwort.Butterbur is often described as possessing an unpleasant smell, but being malodorous has not protected it from harvesting by humans. The plant has a long history of use as an anti-spasmodic, thought to be effective for such conditions as stomach cramps, whooping cough, and asthma.Externally, butterbur has been applied as a poultice over wounds or skin ulcerations.