Burdock root originates from Northern Asia and Europe, but it can now be grown in the United States. The plant has long and deep roots that range from beige to brown and are almost black on the outside.
The use of burdock root goes back centuries in holistic medicine. It is a treatment option for a variety of conditions. The most common uses include burdock being used as a diuretic and a digestive aid.
Recent studies have reported multiple potential uses and benefits of burdock root. These benefits may be extensive enough to warrant using burdock root as a complementary treatment for specific conditions.
Burdock root benefits
1. It’s a powerhouse of antioxidants
Burdock root contains different types of powerful antioxidants such as quercetin, luteolin, and phenolic acids.
Antioxidants can prevent damage to cells from free radicals in the body. They are used to treat and prevent multiple health conditions.
Antioxidants can also reduce inflammation. One study found that burdock root reduced inflammatory markers in the blood of patients with osteoarthritis.
2. It removes toxins from the blood
The most common use of burdock root is the purification of blood.
Research has reported that burdock root consists of active ingredients in the root system that help cleanse the bloodstream of harmful toxins.
Research has reported that burdock root can also detoxify the blood and increase circulation on the surface of the skin.
Even though much scientific evidence supporting the need for detox is not available, it has played a vital role in traditional Chinese medicine.
Alternative medicine often talks about detoxifying the body or purifying the blood, and traditional medicine practitioners say burdock may purify the blood.
The belief that burdock can purify the blood stems from its ability to fight some infections.
3. It may inhibit some types of cancer
There seems to be more to burdock root than just purifying blood. It may also help in inhibiting some types of cancer.
Studies have reported that burdock displayed “potent inhibitory effects” concerning cancer growth caused by cancers like pancreatic carcinoma. Another study found burdock root drastically interfered with cancer cell growth.
Even though more research needs to be done before the full effects of burdock root on cancer growth can be determined, this is still a significant finding.
4. It may be an aphrodisiac
Another reported use of burdock root is as an aphrodisiac. A study conducted on non-humans reported that an extract from the burdock root had an aphrodisiac effect. The male rats displayed enhanced sexual function and an increase in sexual behaviour.
More research needs to be done to see if this claim will hold on to humans. Anecdotal evidence exists.
5. It can help treat skin issues
Skin conditions like acne and eczema have been treated with burdock root for centuries. The root has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and can help resolve skin issues when applied to the affected area of the skin.
Evidence also exists for the claim that burdock root can help treat topical burns.
6. Improving blood sugar and treating diabetes
A study conducted in 2014 reported dangerously high blood glucose levels in both Petri dishes and a live tissue sample could be prevented by burdock root.
A study conducted in 2015 found that raw burdock root had no benefits for mice, but fermented burdock root reduced blood sugar.
7. Treating and preventing infections
Traditional healers have recommended burdock roots for centuries to help fight the common cold, sore throats, and other ailments.
Research can now back to how burdock root helps in fighting infections. Studies have shown that it has antibacterial properties.
Large sticky colonies of bacteria called biofilms can be killed by using burdock root. The oral plaque that causes cavities is one example of a biofilm. Biofilms grow throughout the body.
A study conducted in 2015 reported that burdock root could help treat urinary tract infections. A study published in 2017 said that burdock might also kill other types of bacteria.
Burdock root acts as a diuretic. Diuretics offer relief for people retaining water by helping in removing the water from the body.
9. Other uses
Burdock root is a vegetable that is rich in fiber. Individuals who require more fiber, like those with diabetes, can include it in their diet in the form of burdock root rather than taking supplements.
Burdock root may also help with some skin conditions, such as acne and minor skin irritation. Apply a paste or tincture directly to the affected area.
Potential risks and side effects
No research can be found on the pediatric uses of burdock root, and its safety hasn’t been studied in children. Hence you should never give your child burdock root unless your healthcare provider has prescribed it.
Some potential risks of burdock include the following:
- If you are consuming burdock root supplements, take them in moderation as more research needs to be done to see if they are safe to consume.
- Even though the burdock root is safe to eat, you should purchase from reliable sellers and never collect it from the wild. The burdock plant resembles belladonna nightshade plants, which are highly toxic. They often grow together.
- Since burdock root is a diuretic by nature, you should avoid consuming it if you are dehydrated. You also shouldn’t take it if you’re also taking other diuretics or water pills, as it can increase dehydration.
- You are at high risk for having an allergic reaction to burdock root if you are allergic to chrysanthemums or daisies.
Even though the burdock root offers multiple health benefits, it is advised to consult your healthcare provider before consuming it.
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