New York Times- Patient Thanks Butterbur for Migraine Relief

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In the New York Times piece entitled, Patient Voices: Migraine, six migraine sufferers attest to the agony experienced by migraine sufferers, including how they managed to overcome their debilitating illness.  One, Aviva Goldfarb, tells of her success with butterbur extract.


Migraines are a neurological illness

Migraine headache attacks afflict millions of people with debilitating head pain that makes it to perform everyday tasks.  In addition to throbbing, localized head pain, migraine attacks cause a series of other distressing side effects, such as severe nausea, stomach cramps, visual disturbances, difficulty speaking, and extreme sensitivity to light, sounds, and scents. 

Migraine triggers range by the dozen, in categories such as food, weather, and hormonal fluctuations.  Not surprisingly, many chronic migraine patients have difficulty holding down well-paying jobs, and frequently seek disability assistance.

Migraine sufferer finds relief- finally

In this interview featured in the New York Times, cookbook author Aviva Goldfarb talks about her experience with migraine management, medications, and a popular nutrient for migraines, butterbur extract, which has given her amazing results.
The following is a transcription of a New York Times article, Patient Voices: Migraines

Aviva Goldfarb: Headaches have been a lifelong affliction for me, almost so much that they’ve become a part of my life, but they’ve never been debilitative.  I can pretty much do anything that I really have to do, most of the time, when I have a headache.  It’s just painful.  And my mood would start to sour, or I would be less productive, because my energy would be lower, if I had a headache.

Headache Journaling…

I have a journal here, and I write down every time I have a headache; what I would take, and how long it would last, to see if there were any triggers, and also just to see how many headaches I was having.  So, I started a few years ago, and it turned out that some months, I was having fifteen, eighteen, even twenty headaches a month. (See: 10 Clues your should Include in your Headache Diary Today)


If at first you don’t succeed…

What I’ve learned, is that every time you try something, when you are trying to get rid of headaches, you have to try them for at least a month, though that would mean that that month I would have to try something that usually didn’t work, just to see it through, to see if it was having an effect.  I tried getting rid of wine for a month, and that didn’t do anything; these are some common triggers.  I tried getting rid of sugar for a month.  I tried getting rid of caffeine, and those are pretty much the three loves of my life, so that was hard, but I didn’t have to do them all simultaneously.  None of them had any impact.

My headaches did respond to migraine medication when I took it, and that was good, but the migraine medications had side effects that didn’t make me feel great.  I played around until I found one that I could tolerate, but the problem was, it took six to eight hours to kick in, so it wasn’t ideal.

Butterbur- Isn’t that what Harry Potter is always drinking?


I have now been taking butterbur for, I would say, ten months, or so, and it really has improved my headache situation.  I think it’s cut them by thirty to fifty percent, and when I do get them, they’re not as intense.  So, finally, I found something that does help for me.

People seem to look at me like, Is she for real, can I take her seriously? Butterbur.  I mean, it’s got kind of a funny name; it sounds like Butterball turkey.  I got it at the apothecary, and who knows what an apothecary is, anyways?  But I don’t really care- I can have a sense of humor about it.  

Butterbur for migraines- it’s catching on.

But eventually, maybe this will be something that neurologists all over the country are prescribing, and I think that neurologists in other parts of the world are already prescribing it, so maybe I’ll be on the cutting edge.  -End.


Patient Voices: Migraine – Interactive Feature –