The name butterbur comes from the old use of the wrapping butter in the large leaves. Called plague flower in the old herbals, because of its value as a remedy in times of calamity.
It is under the dominion of the Sun and therefore is a great strengthener of the heart, and cheers the vital spirits. The excellent Fuschius, in his account of this herb, is most express, and records its virtue as wonderful in pestilential fevers; and this he speaks not from tradition, but his own experience. Were it needful to prove the sun gives light, it is scarcely less certain or less obvious, than that this root, beyond all things else cures pestilential fevers, and is by long experience found to be very available against the plague, by provoking sweat; if the powder thereof, be taken in wine, it also resisteth the force of any other poison.
Nicholas Culpeper, 1653