Burdock root is an Asian vegetable that has been used for hundreds of years as a holistic healing aid. Most often used as a diuretic, burdock root has so much more to offer, and today’s scientists have found clinical evidence to back it up. Let’s discuss the best of the burdock root benefits!
What Is Burdock Root?
Native to Asia and parts of Europe, burdock root also grows in North America and the United States, though it was often considered a weed in the past. With deep, thick roots, the burdock plant (Arctium lappa) has been used in teas and holistic remedies to treat digestive and diuretic issues for centuries. Its effectiveness has been studied in modern labs and scientists now have a better understanding of how the plant compounds in burdock root can provide those traditional health benefits and more.
The Top 6 Burdock Root Benefits
What are the benefits of burdock root tea and supplements? Explore these top six scientifically proven burdock root benefits, and evaluate whether burdock root might be right for your needs.
1. Antioxidant Content
Antioxidants are compounds that work to protect our cells and DNA strands from free radical influence and the damage caused by oxidative stress. They can help lower inflammation and dramatically reduce risk factors for serious, chronic conditions like heart disease.
In one study from 2010, researchers found that burdock root contains several powerful antioxidants, including luteolin, quercetin, and phenolic acids. Moreover, a 2014 study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases showed that burdock root, thanks to its antioxidant content, was able to reduce blood inflammatory markers in osteoarthritis patients.
2. Aphrodisiac Aid
Burdock root has a long and strong reputation as an aphrodisiac. In at least one study from 2012 on an animal model of male rats, researchers found that burdock root extract did produce an aphrodisiac effect, increasing the sexual behavior and enhancing the sexual function of the subjects.
Whether the same results would show in humans is not yet scientifically determined, so seek medical advice before using burdock root for this purpose.
3. Blood Detoxification
While it’s true that the only real natural detoxifiers of your blood are your liver and kidneys, you can nevertheless aid the process along with certain foods and plant compounds, and burdock root is one of them.
This 2011 review of studies found that not only does burdock root work as a blood purifier and increase circulation, but it may also be effective in treating chronic diseases like cancer, AIDS, and diabetes.
4. Skin Health
Skin conditions including eczema, acne, and psoriasis have been successfully treated with burdock root, thanks largely to the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial abilities it possesses. Applied topically, it has also shown some promise in helping to treat burn injuries.
5. Blood Sugar Control and Digestion
Burdock root has shown anti-diabetic effects in the natural treatment of diabetes and can be beneficial for its prebiotic fiber to help protect your blood sugar levels from dangerous spikes. Plus, prebiotic fiber goes to feed your “good” gut bacteria, which helps improve digestive health and strengthen your immune system.
6. Anti-Cancer Effects
Perhaps the most amazing potential benefit of all is burdock root’s possible cancer-inhibiting abilities. One review of studies from 2011 pointed out that burdock seeds slowed the growth of certain tumors, while another study from 2016 found that burdock root successfully interfered with cancer cell proliferation and growth.
While more research is still needed to determine which cancers and at what stages burdock root may be effective, these early results are promising.
Tips Regarding Possible Side Effects
Now that you have the answer to “What is burdock root good for?” keep in mind that there is very little research available for the use of burdock root or burdock root extract on pediatric subjects, so be sure to consult a trusted medical professional before administering it to children. Other potential risk factors you may want to consider before consuming burdock root yourself include:
- Reputable sources: While burdock root is safe to eat or to consume as an herbal tea, be sure you are getting your burdock root from a reliable seller, and do not try to collect wild burdock root on your own. Burdock plants are very similar in appearance and tend to grow next to the highly toxic belladonna nightshade plants.
- Moderation: When taking burdock root, start with small doses and work your way up to larger ones if needed to make sure you don’t experience any adverse side effects or allergic reactions.
- Dehydration: Because burdock root works as a natural diuretic, it should not be taken if you’re dehydrated or taking other diuretic medications.
- Allergies: Those who are allergic to daisies or chrysanthemums may have a higher risk of experiencing an allergic reaction to burdock root, and are advised to avoid taking it.
- Pregnancy: Women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant should not take burdock root as there is not enough data to know whether or not it is perfectly safe.
How to Use Burdock Root
If you’re interested in the health benefits of burdock root, there are many different ways to get them. Burdock root can be consumed as:
- Burdock tea
- Dried burdock root powder
- Fresh burdock root
- Burdock root oil or extract
Based on the dosages used in clinical testing, burdock root can be safely consumed in moderation (as in 1 cup of burdock tea each day). If you have further questions on how much to take in supplement form, make sure you’re buying from a reputable source and follow the instructions on the product.
Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor all health supplements for quality control, so it may be appropriate to double check with a doctor or health care professional.
Burdock Tea Recipe
- Buy fresh burdock root.
- Peel into strips and dry them in the sun.
- Roast the strips in a pan (with no oil) for 5-10 minutes before boiling them in plain water for burdock root tea.
- Store excess tea in a dark, cool, dry place.
- For drinking, consider adding lemon or honey to enhance taste.
The Root of All Benefits
A long-standing part of traditional Chinese medicine and Japanese holistic healing, burdock root is one of the medicinal herbs you may want to add to your stores. For the antioxidant content of its extract and teas, to the fiber content it brings in powdered form, this root could be the root of many health benefits in your life.