Petasites japonicus

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Giant butterbur
Adult fuki
Petasites japonicus.jpg
Fuki shoot
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Petasites
Species: P. japonicus
Binomial name
Petasites japonicus
Butterbur, (fuki), raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 59 kJ (14 kcal)
3.61 g
0.04 g
0.39 g
Vitamins Quantity %DV
Thiamine (B1)
0.02 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.02 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.2 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.032 mg
Vitamin B6
0.096 mg
Folate (B9)
10 μg
Vitamin C
31.5 mg
Minerals Quantity %DV
103 mg
0.1 mg
13 mg
0.274 mg
12 mg
655 mg
7 mg
0.16 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Petasites japonicus, also known as butterbur, giant butterbur, great butterbur and sweet-coltsfoot, is an herbaceous perennial plant in the family Asteraceae.[1] It exists in China, Japan, Korea and Sakhalin. But also exists many places in Europe, too. It is especially commonly found around Swiss alps.[citation needed] It has also been introduced to southern British Columbia by Japanese immigrants.[2]


The traditional preparation method for this vegetable involves pre-treating with ash or baking soda and soaking in water to remove harshness (astringency), which is a technique known as aku-nuki (灰汁抜き, literally "harshness removal"). The shoot can be chopped and stir fried with miso to make Fuki-miso which is eaten as a relish thinly spread over hot rice at meals. The bulb-like shoots are also picked fresh and fried as tempura. In Korea, it is steamed or boiled and then pressed to remove water. Sesame oil or perilla oil is added in order to make namul.


Like other Petasites species, fuki contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) which have been associated with cumulative damage to the liver and tumor formation.[3][4] It also contains the carcinogenic PA petasitenine.[4] The concentration of hepatotoxic PAs can be reduced to a concentration below detection limits with a proper extraction process.[5] Since many alkaloids are bitter, traditional methods of preparation may have evolved to remove them.

Animal studies[edit]

Certain extracts of Petasites japonicus have found to be anti-inflammatory in a study of asthma in mice.[6] Based on additional studies in mice, the plant may contain blood plasma and hepatic lipid-lowering and antioxidant compounds.[7]


  1. ^ "Petasites japonicus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 
  2. ^ Pojar, Jim; MacKinnon, Andy (1994). Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing. p. 294. ISBN 978-1-55105-040-9. 
  3. ^ Fu, P.P., Yang, Y.C., Xia, Q., Chou, M.C., Cui, Y.Y., Lin G. (2002). "Pyrrolizidine alkaloids-tumorigenic components in Chinese herbal medicines and dietary supplements". Journal of Food and Drug Analysis. 10 (4): 198–211. 
  4. ^ a b Maxim Hirono I.; Mori H.; Yamada K. (1977). "Carcinogenic activity of petasitenine, a new pyrrolizidine alkaloid isolated from Petasites japonicus". Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 58 (4): 1155–1157. 
  5. ^ Kalin P.; Buel E.S. "The common butterbur - Petasites hybridus. Portrait of a medicinal herb: History, pharmacology, clinical applications". Schweizerische Zeitschrift Fur GanzheitsMedizin. 14 (5): 267–274. 
  6. ^ Lee J.-S.; Yang E.J.; Yun C.-Y.; Kim D.-H.; Kim I.S. (2011). "Suppressive effect of Petasites japonicus extract on ovalbumin-induced airway inflammation in an asthmatic mouse model". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 133 (2): 551–557. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.10.038. PMID 21029770. 
  7. ^ Park C.H.; Kim M.Y.; Sok D.-E.; Kim J.H.; Lee J.H.; Kim M.R. (2010). "Butterbur (Petasites japonicus Max.) extract improves lipid profiles and antioxidant activities in monosodium L-glutamate-challenged mice". Journal of Medicinal Food. 13 (5): 1216–1223. doi:10.1089/jmf.2009.1380. PMID 20828319. 

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