Burdock root comes from the burdock, a part of the daisy family and related to the sunflower. Burdock grows widely in Europe, North Asia, and the United States. It is commonly used in form of tea, which claims to provide numerous health benefits. But in some parts of the world, people consume it as a root vegetable, just like potatoes. Let’s explore the Health Benefits of Burdock Root
Burdock root has many health benefits, but it is most commonly used in treating common illnesses like cancer, inflammation, and diabetes.
What is Burdock Root:
Burdock, scientifically known as Arctium minus, is a plant with heart-shaped leaves and purple color flowers. Flowers of this plant are produced in spring and autumn. This plant forms only a low rosette during its first year, and the tall branches develop during the second year. When they are young, the leaves have wavy margins and are attached to the stem with a hollow petiole. Small dry fruits are produced when the flowers are mature.
The roots of this plant have been used in traditional medicine for centuries due to its numerous health benefits. Burdock contains plant sterols, oils, and compounds called tannins. The presence of these compounds provides many benefits, like reducing inflammation and reducing the risk of osteoarthritis.
Health Benefits of Burdock Roots
The burdock plant’s root is considered the most beneficial part of the plant. It has been used as food and medicine for centuries. Burdock root contains various nutrients like antioxidants and insulin that can help with medical conditions like inflammation, indigestion, skin disorders, and many more.
1-Contain High Amount of Antioxidants:
According to researchers (RosaliaFerracane, 2010), burdock contains different types of potent antioxidants like luteolin, quercetin, and phenolic acid. All these antioxidants play an essential role in protecting the body against free radicals, which can prevent the risk of many health conditions. These free radicals are a type of chemicals in the body that damage body cells.
Antioxidants can also help in reducing inflammation. One study (Leila Maghsoumi-Norouzabad, 2014) found that burdock antioxidants can help reduce inflammatory markers in people suffering from osteoarthritis, which can further reduce pain and other symptoms of osteoarthritis. Studies have also shown the effect of burdock roots on maintaining diabetes. For example, according to one animal study (Kazunori Takemoto, 2014) of mice suffering from diabetes, the antioxidant properties of burdock improve the symptoms of diabetes in those mice.
2-High Fiber Content:
Burdock root is a great source of fiber. Inulin, a naturally occurring prebiotic fiber found in certain edible plants, is present in it. Inulin is also present in artichoke, garlic, bananas, asparagus, and chicory. This prebiotic fiber can provide various health benefits.
According to Stefani Sassos RD, deputy director of Good Housekeeping institute’s Nutrition Lab (Sassos), inulin can improve digestive health and reduce the risk of various digestive issues like constipation, bloating, and nausea. It can also increase the number of helpful bacteria present in the colon.
3-Have Antibacterial and Anti-inflammatory properties:
Practitioners have used burdock root as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory treatment. According to research published in 2010 (Rosalia Ferracane, 2010), the root and leaves of burdock contain luteolin and quercetin; both are flavonoids present in the plant and have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Due to its antibacterial properties, burdock has been used for centuries to treat infections like colds and coughs. Research has shown the effect of the burdock root extract in treating urinary tract infection as it can kill bacteria like a biofilm.
4-Removes Toxins from the Blood:
One of the most common uses of burdock root has been to clean the blood from impurities. Burdock contains some active ingredients in its root system, which can help remove toxins from the bloodstream. Research (Yuk-Shing Chan, 2010) has also shown the effectiveness of burdock in detoxifying the blood and promoting circulation on the skin’s surface.
These blood detoxification and blood circulation didn’t happen through the waste process, but the naturopaths and other alternative providers use burdock root in the “detox” procedure. The human liver and kidney also do a fine job of detoxifying the blood’s toxins. And this detoxification can make the skin clear.
5-Can Help with Skin Issues:
Burdock root has been used for centuries to treat skin conditions like eczema and acne. Studies (Anjali Miglani, 2014) have also shown that burdock root has an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effect, which can be very helpful in resolving skin problems when directly applied to the skin. It can help treat eczema, acne, and psoriasis. Even some evidence (Nicole M Kolacz, 2014) has shown that burdock can help treat topical burns.
Burdock root has also been used in homeopathic treatments for inflammatory-type acne. In a review (Yuk-Shing Chan 1, 2011), researchers have found out the burdock root can be beneficial in treating inflammatory-type acne and other skin problems like eczema.
6-Prevent Risk of Cancer:
Due to the property of burdock, purifying the blood can also inhibit the risk of certain types of cancers. Research (Chan, 2010) has also found the inhibitory effect of burdock on cancer growth caused by certain cancer like pancreatic carcinoma. Moreover, the burdock root can also interfere with cancer cell growth.
Moreover, both the inflammation and free radicals are involved in the development of cancer and increase cancer cells’ growth. And the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of burdock can also help in preventing cancer.
In one study (Munazza Shareef, 2016) of women about breast cancer treatment, burdock can be very helpful during the treatment, as it can slow down the growth of breast cancer tumors.
7-Helps in Managing Diabetes:
Burdock has also been very helpful in maintaining blood sugar levels. In a study (Didier Tousch, 2014), burdock root effect on blood sugar level has been investigated on both petri dish and live tissue samples. This results in the prevention of high blood glucose in both tissues.
Another animal study (Wakana Doi, 2015) of burdock in mice found out that raw burdock root doesn’t show many benefits toward maintaining blood sugar levels, but fermented burdock reduces blood sugar levels in mice.
8-Treat and Prevent Infections:
Burdock has been used for centuries to treat infections like cold, cough, sore throat, and other ailments. Scientific research has also found out about the beneficial effect of burdock on treating infections. Some studies (Satish Kumar Rajasekharan, 2014) have found that it is because of the antibacterial properties of burdock root, which can be very useful in killing biofilms, a large sticky colony of bacteria. These biofilms grow throughout the body. Oral plaque, which causes cavities, is one example of these biofilms.
This biofilm can also be caused urinary tract infection, and burdock can help treat that infection. Research (Rajasekharan SK, 2017) has also found that burdock root can also kill other types of bacteria like Klebsiella pneumonia.
9-Can Reduce Chronic Inflammation:
Several antioxidants like phenolic acid, luteolin, and quercetin are present in burdock root. These all antioxidants can help in protecting cells from free radicals. This free radical can damage the cells and result in medical conditions like an autoimmune disorder and chronic inflammation. This inflammation can further be linked to various medical conditions like osteoarthritis.
According to one study (Leila Maghsoumi-Norouzabad B. A., 2014) of a group of people suffering from knee osteoarthritis, burdock tea helps in improving the oxidative stress and inflammatory markers of those patients.
10-Work as an Aphrodisiac:
Burdock also seems to work as an aphrodisiac, as it can increase sexual behavior. Many types of research can show that, but all of these are nonhuman studies. For example, in one study (Cao JianFeng, 2012), the burdock root extract was given to rats, which increased the sexual function and amount of sexual behavior in those rats. But half of the rats that were given Viagra were more frisky than those with burdock root extract.
Almost all of the studies were based upon animal research. And there is not much evidence whether the burdock root affects human sexuality like animals.
Risks and Side effects of Burdock Root:
There is not enough research on the safety of burdock roots for children. Because of this, it should not be given to children without consultation from a pediatrician or healthcare provider. There are certain side effects and risks of including burdock root in diet:
- Burdock supplements should be taken in moderation and under the supervision of a healthcare provider because there is not enough research on the safety of these supplements.
- Burdock is considered safe to eat but only if it is bought through a reputable seller and not collected in the wild. Because the burdock plant resembles a highly toxic plant, belladonna nightshade often grows together.
- Burdock is a natural diuretic, which means it can cause dehydration. So a person feeling dehydrated should avoid taking it. Or if anyone is already taking diuretics or water pills, they should also prevent burdock root from staying properly hydrated.
- A person allergic to daisies or chrysanthemums is at a higher risk of having an allergic reaction to burdock root, so it should be avoided in that case.
- Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should also avoid taking burdock supplements.
How to Use Burdock Root:
Burdock root is commonly available in the form of tea, crushed powder which a person can take in pill form, and as a decoction, which is a liquid formed by boiling the herb. Studies have also found that fermented burdock root is the best option to use. So, people should choose fermented tinctures over other options. There is also some tea available that has fermented burdock.
Not enough research can tell how a minimum or maximum dose of burdock root is safe. But it is considered that one glass of burdock tea is safe per day. But it is better to consult with a herbalist to check the background of the herb or for advice on proper dosage.
Moreover, using wild burdock is unsafe as it can be contaminated. And other toxic weeds can be mistaken as burdock.
How to Cook Burdock Root:
Burdock root is not only used as a tea but it is used in a lot of recipes as well. Some people use fresh burdock root from the market in their foods, while others use its powdered or dried form in recipes. Like all other vegetables, fresh burdock root can easily be stored in a refrigerator or a cool dark basement. The powdered and dried burdock root lasts longer if kept in a dry place.
Burdock root is primarily used in Japanese recipes. Here are a few simple steps to make a delicious burdock root recipe.
- ½ pound burdock root
- Two tablespoons of vegetable oil
- ¼ pound peeled carrot
- One tablespoon of lemon juice
- One tablespoon of maple syrup
- One tablespoon of soy sauce
- One tablespoon of sesame seeds
- Pell the skin of burdock root with the back of a knife, as a traditional method called sasagai. Then cut the thin strips of each strip of 2-inches in length.
- Collect these strips and then cut these into thin matchbox strips.
- Soak these burdock root strips into the water and drain them well. Add some drops of vinegar in water if desired. Then change the water several times to clean it properly. Leave it in the water until it is ready to cook.
- Now cut the peeled carrots into short, thin strips.
- Turn on the flame, add vegetable oil to the frying pan, heat it on medium flame, and fry the burdock roots for a few minutes. Then add the carrot strips to the pan and stir-fry them.
- Now add lemon juice and maple syrup and stir-fry them until the liquid disappears.
- Season soy sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Burdock is a plant native to Japan, but now it is found worldwide. Its root is mainly used as food, but the leaves and seeds are used as medicine. Burdock root is commonly available in the form of tea or powdered pills. It is also used in several recipes of Japanese cuisines.
Burdock root has been used for centuries due to its health benefits. It contains a high amount of antioxidants and fiber. This can help the body fight against diseases and improve digestive health. But there’s not much research available about the safety of consumption of burdock root supplements. So, consult the dietitian or doctor before adding it into your daily diet routine.
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