Individuals with allergies who struggle to find relief may soon be in luck, since German researchers have recently discovered that an extract derived from the butterbur plant may help alleviate allergy symptoms like hay fever more effectively than antihistamines.
Hay fever occurs when a person breathes in an allergen and subsequently experiences swelling, itching and excess mucus production, according to the National Institutes of Health.
While antihistamines have been the go-to treatment for many doctors, this new finding may provide hope for a natural alternative therapy, since the extract Ze 339, also known as petasol butenoate complex, was shown to be both fast and effective.
Additionally, antihistamines only treat acute symptoms, but Ze 339 could reach even further.
"Our data indicate that the extract also has a preventive effect, which must be investigated further," said co-author Carsten Schmidt-Weber, head of the Center of Allergy and Environment in Munich.
The extract has already been approved as a treatment in Switzerland, but the authors noted that further research must be done before it can be considered a safe drug in the U.S.