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Burdock is a plant native to Europe and Asia that now grows all over the United States as a weed in places like forests, pastures, and along roadsides. The roots and seeds of burdock have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and are still widely used today to relieve and improve a variety of health problems and conditions.
I initially learned about burdock a few years ago when researching natural remedies for constipation, but this plant does far more than just relieve constipation!
Here are 5 amazing health benefits associated with burdock (backed by scientific evidence), along with where you may be able to find this highly therapeutic plant.
1. Improves digestion
Burdock contains inulin—a naturally occurring soluble fiber that stimulates the growth of “good” bacteria in your colon to improve digestion and support regular bowel movements. If you’re feeling backed up or constipated, drinking burdock root tea may help move things along and help you find relief.
2. Fights inflammation and cancer
In addition to improving digestion, the inulin in burdock may also help protect against pathogens, toxins, and carcinogens that contribute to inflammation and cancer.
Results from a 2000 study published in Cancer Letters showed that burdock was effective at fighting cancers of the mammary, colon, and pancreas, while results from a 2011 study published in Inflammopharmacology revealed that burdock may have potent inhibitory effects on pancreatic tumors and other cancers. Results from a 2016 study published in Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal showed that burdock may slow the growth of breast cancer tumors, while results from a 2017 study published in Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention showed that burdock root extract may also destroy breast cancer cells. Given the existing evidence, it’s highly possible that consuming burdock regularly may contribute to a reduced risk for many types of cancer.
3. Purifies the blood
Burdock is a blood purifier that aids in the removal of harmful toxins from the bloodstream that contribute to illness and disease. The aforementioned 2011 study noted that burdock root contains a plethora of active ingredients that can detoxify the blood to improve blood circulation and skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. Furthermore, results from a 2018 study published in Experimental Gerontology found that the purifying effects of burdock help strengthen the lymphatic system to improve vascular health, especially when burdock is paired with regular aerobic exercise.
4. Improves arthritis
Arthritis is inflammation of the joints that causes debilitating symptoms of pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. The anti-inflammatory properties of burdock are found to improve symptoms of arthritis in addition to fighting cancer. Results from a 2016 study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases revealed that people with knee osteoarthritis who consumed 3 cups of burdock root tea per day experienced significant improvements in inflammation and oxidative stress.
5. Provides lots of vitamins and minerals
Burdock is loaded with a wide range of nutrients that contribute to stronger immunity and good overall health. One cup of raw burdock root is found to contain nearly 4 grams of dietary fiber, more than 20 grams of carbohydrates, and nearly 2 grams of protein. This root vegetable also contains high amounts of potassium, magnesium, folate, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.
Other benefits of burdock
Although burdock has been used in traditional medicine for many centuries, you won’t hear many professionals in western medicine talking about the benefits of this plant due to lack of formal documentation and scientific evidence. Burdock is a plant, and not a drug. However, many other countries recognize and praise burdock for its healing and therapeutic properties.
Burdock may offer many other health benefits that aren’t published on .edu and .gov websites. If you do a basic Google search on the benefits of burdock, you’ll find that users of this plant have shared a number of other positive effects, including:
- Liver detox and protection
- Improvements in sex drive and fertility
- Weight loss
- Improved bone health
- Diabetes management
- Improved cognition
Precautions when using burdock
Consult with your healthcare provider before using burdock, especially if you practice western medicine, use prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs, and/or have one or more medical conditions. Burdock may have drug interactions and cause side effects when used with diabetes medications, blood thinners, and diuretics. Some websites also say burdock should not be used by women who are pregnant due to the risk for miscarriage. Play it safe, and speak with your healthcare provider before using burdock to avoid any adverse events.
Where to find burdock
Though burdock can be found in the wild throughout the U.S., stick to buying this plant from reputable merchants, or in the form of tea. Burdock closely resembles belladonna nightshade plants, which are extremely toxic and can cause severe poisoning that induces delirium, hallucinations, and convulsions, among many other symptoms.
In the U.S., burdock root is widely available as a tea and nutritional supplement at many health food stores and online at Amazon.com. Fresh burdock root isn’t typically sold at popular grocery store chains, but you may be able to find it at an Asian market, if there are any in your area. I live on the west coast where Asian markets are in abundance and burdock root is easy to come by.
I buy this brand of burdock root tea by DAMTUH at my local Korean grocer, which is also available for purchase here on Amazon.com.
The best time to drink burdock root tea
Did I mention burdock root is a diuretic? One cup of tea will likely result in multiple trips to the restroom, so be prepared. You probably won’t want to drink this tea late at night before bedtime, or during a long road trip. Make plans to drink this tea when you have plenty of time to relax and can visit the restroom as often as needed without stress or interruption.
Do you use burdock for its health benefits, and if so, how and why do you use it? Share your comments below!
Content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medical treatment.
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