Butterbur tea has been used since ancient times to treat ailments ranging from fever, allergies and headaches, to inflammation and anxiety. Butterbur is a flowering plant and a relative of the common daisy. Butterbur tea is made from its roots, and can be fresh or dried.
Step 1: Prepare the Butterbur Root
Whether using fresh or dried butterbur root, it is important to first rinse the root to remove any dirt or other small particles that might pass through the strainer. Rinse in cold water.
Step 2: Soak the Root
For one cup of butterbur tea, soak one teaspoon of the root in 8oz of cold water for 12 hours. Fresh root does not have to soak as long as dry root, depending on the desired potency of the tea. Soaking the root insures full extraction of the compounds that give this tea its medicinal benefits.
Step 3: Boil the Tea
In a small saucepan, bring the butterbur tea to a boil. For maximum potency, cover the pan and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
Step 4: Strain into a Cup
Place a small wire mesh strainer over a tea cup and pour the tea through the strainer. Discard the butterbur root. If root particles pass through the strainer, line it with a coffee filter and re-strain the tea.
Step 5: Add Amendments and Serve
Butterbur tea can be served hot or iced. It can be enjoyed just as it is or amended. Raw honey is the recommended sweetener, as it also has several medicinal properties; however, butterbur tea can be sweetened with agave syrup, sugar, or sugar substitutes. If milk is the preferred amendment, add it to the teacup first and slowly poor the hot tea into the milk. If the milk heats up too fast it will curdle.
Butterbur tea is a medicinal tea. A physician should be consulted before consumption to check for any drug interactions or contraindications. Butterbur contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are linked to liver damage. Consuming large quantities of this tea can damage the liver. Butterbur tea should not be consumed by pregnant or nursing women. Those who have allergies to ragweed and certain pollens may also develop an allergy to butterbur. Do not use over long periods of time.
Butterbur tonics and extracts that have been stripped of toxic alkaloids can be purchased from some health food companies. Check all labels for alkaloid levels before consuming.