An important part of the immune system and the body's inner drainage system, the lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. Strengthening this important bodily system with Burdock Root can help to ward off all a whole host of serious health issues. Burdock Root is one of those rare herbs that stimulate lymphatic drainage and detoxification.
Diuretics can help to stimulate the kidneys, allowing urine to be passed more frequently and in greater quantity - this helps to cleanse the kidneys and can prevent water retention. By increasing the rate of urination, Burdock Root can help to remove waste from the blood and body. It is important to note that if you are dehydrated you should postpone consuming Burdock Root until you are fully hydrated.
Burdock Root is also “diaphoretic”, meaning it increases sweating – another important route via which the body eliminates toxins.
Burdock Root contains inulin, a soluble and prebiotic fibre that helps improve digestion. Acting as food for healthy gut bacteria, inulin helps regulate inflammation and remove toxins from the body. Burdock Root also contains mucilage which acts as a protection for the gastric mucosa (the mucous membrane layer of the stomach), helping it to heal – this is especially useful if it has been damaged by acidity or inflammation.
Research has shown that Burdock Root contains multiple types of powerful antioxidants, including quercetin, luteolin, and phenolic acids. Antioxidants can shield the body against cell-damaging free radicals. The high antioxidant count in this root has been shown to help lower inflammation, including joint issues such as arthritis in numerous studies.
The antioxidants in Burdock Root especially help to protect the liver against poisonous substances. The compounds that give Burdock its bitter taste can help stimulate bile production, helping the liver flush away toxins with more speed and ease.
With a well documented historical use as a remedy to many skin problems, it has been discovered that Burdock contains plant chemicals known as “polyacetylenes” which have anti-fungal and antibiotic qualities. This is especially useful in cases of acne, helping to fight off acne causing bacteria such as streptococcus.
Burdock Root acts on the blood and circulatory system and contains active compounds such as arctiin and lignans which have matrix-stimulating properties, thus promoting supple and younger looking skin. It can also be beneficial for eczema due to its blood purifying activity. As a natural detoxifier, Burdock Root can also help to clear the body of harmful toxins that can damage the skin.
Folklore and history
Ancient herbalists, like Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th century, recognized Burdock’s power in helping their patients recover from illness. Over the centuries, Burdock Root was enlisted to alleviate constipation, ease childbirth, break up kidney and bladder stones, promote sweating, remedy stomach and intestinal disorders, and control arthritis and gout pains. In medieval times it was also commonly used as a cure for syphilis.
Traditional Chinese and Indian doctors often selected this herb for treating colds, flu, and other throat and chest conditions.
As an interesting aside, the inspiration for Velcro actually came from the Burdock burr. In 1941, its inventor, a Swiss engineer named Georges de Mestral went for a walk in the woods and wondered if the burrs that clung to his trousers could be turned into something useful. After nearly eight years of research he successfully reproduced the natural attachment with two strips of fabric, one with thousands of tiny hooks and another with thousands of tiny loops. He named his invention Velcro and formally patented it in 1955.
Used for centuries as a traditional remedy for a wide range of ailments, it is the root of the Burdock plant that is harvested for its medicinal qualities. Burdock Root has been traditionally used for soothing the kidneys, as a blood purifier, relieving the lymphatic system, rheumatism, gout, GI tract disorders, stomach ailments, constipation, catarrh, fever, infection, fluid retention and skin problems.
This multi-purpose herb is native to Europe and Asia. However it has been naturalised more recently in the United States, with Native American Indians using it as a medicinal plant to cleanse the body and spirit.
A typical dosage of Burdock Root Powder is one to two grams of powdered dry root up to three times per day.
Burdock Root can be made into a herbal Tea. Use 1-2 teaspoons per cup of boiling water and steep for 3-10 minutes.
Burdock Root Tincture is traditionally taken 2-3ml, 2-3 times per day or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.
Burdock Root contains vitamins A, B complex and E. Phytochemicals include; chlorogenic acid, taraxosterol, arctigen, mucilage, resin; arctigenin, arctic acid; volatile oils & acids; non-hydroxy acids and sucrose. The root contains up to 50% inulin (or fructosan).
Burdock is considered to be safe, however it should only be obtained from reputable sources and should never be collected in the wild. Burdock resembles plants in the same family as belladonna nightshade, which are highly toxic. They often grow together.
Burdock Root is a natural diuretic and therefore shouldn't be taken if you are dehydrated. Do not take if taking other diuretics or water pills, as it can increase dehydration.
Persons with allergies to chrysanthemums or daisies may be at an increased risk of having an allergic reaction to Burdock Root and should avoid it.
Pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant shouldn’t take Burdock Root or supplements.