Historically, in the sixteenth century, Butterbur as a dried powder was mixed with wine to fight in the battle against the plague and other virulent diseases. It was also used as a treatment for worms as a form of diuretic, the spurring on of menstruation, and by Native Americans as a herbal remedy for headache and inflammation. Other uses were for urinary tract issues, wound healing and back pain. Butterbur has been in use for over 2,000 years. The name Butterbur comes from the use of wrapping butter in its large leaves during the warm weather.

The east end of the graveyard at Kirkmichael Parish Church which does not have headstones or individual graves is the site of a mass burial plot for the victims of the Black Death plague of 1348 which has never been reopened.