Burdock Root Benefits The Creative Mind And Detoxifies The Body
Burdock grows worldwide and has an interesting history as a creative muse, traditional medicine and an edible vegetable. Burdock root benefits are clearly accessible and plentiful.
The root is eaten in Japan and parts of Europe as a vegetable, and is used alongside the leaves and seeds as medicine.
The plant itself is recognisable by its large, heart-shaped leaves and distinctive thistle-like heads. The seed heads are one of nature’s perfect designs as they are biologically engineered to further their natural range by sticking to anything that touches them.
The hook-and-loop design of the seed heads fueled the imagination of Swiss inventor George de Mestral, who introduced the world to Velcro in the early 1940s. And across much of Europe the words for burdock and velcro are still the same.
Burdock is also mentioned frequently in poetry and prose, from Tolstoy to Emily Dickinson, but it’s main pharmacological action comes from its roots ability to promote the elimination of toxins.
In fact, burdock has a long history of use in folk medicine as a blood purifier, diaphoretic (increases sweating), and a diuretic.
Burdock root benefits our ability to stimulate bile production and to regenerate cells of the liver.
The plant is also reputed to reduce excessive levels of uric acid in the blood and deter the formation of monosodium urate crystals, two characteristics of “rich man's disease," or gout.
At one time, burdock was considered a treatment for cancer, catarrh, and syphilis. The herb is also said to be an aphrodisiac.
Burock is known in traditional herbal medicine as a ‘depurative’ - a purifying, detoxifying herb for the blood that features heavily in folk remedies for skin disease, fluid retention, digestion and cancer.
Happily for herbalists and health practitioners alike, there’s exciting evidence to support many of burdock root’s traditional uses. These include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and strong anti-cancer benefits.
In Turkish Anatolia, burdock was believed to defend against the evil eye, and was physically woven into turkish rugs for protection.
It is one versatile plant with an extensive history of different uses.
Burdock Root Benefits Us With Helpful Compounds
Burdock root has many potentially therapeutic constituents, but what beneficial compounds does burdock root actually contain?
Burdock root benefits us with these helpful compounds:
Caffeoylquinic acids and lignans (which act as antioxidants)
Arctigenin (a potential anti-cancer compound)
Volatile oils including sesquiterpene lactones
Polyacetylenes (which may have an antibiotic-like effect)
Traditional Burdock Root Benefits
The plant chemicals listed above are believed to exert the ‘detoxifying’ and ‘purifying’ effects for which burdock root was traditionally revered. But well before science knew how to directly identify each of the components, traditional medicine was already singing burdock’s praises.
In traditional herbal medicine, burdock root is seen as a:
Burdock Root Benefits Our Path To Health
With so many useful and active constituents at play in burdock root, it has been seen to:
→ Be useful against cancer
There’s exciting research emerging about burdock’s anti-cancer benefits. A few possible mechanisms have been identified, such as DNA protection thanks to high levels of antioxidants, plus the active destruction of cancer cells.
As well as that, plant chemicals in burdock appear to selectively eradicate cancer cells without damage to healthy cells and tissue - the plant chemical arctigenin has been credited with this ability. Burdock root is one ingredient in a tea called ‘Essiac’, traditionally prescribed for cancer patients.
This emerging evidence seems to support folk medicine uses for burdock root.
→ Reduce cardiovascular disease risk
Studies have shown that burdock root can lower inflammation in blood vessels and other markers of cardiovascular disease such as elevated LDL cholesterol.
→ Improve skin conditions such as eczema and acne
Most likely due to anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effects, plus its ability to promote blood flow to the surface of the skin. It's also been shown to enhance collagen synthesis (the stuff that helps keep skin elastic and youthful).
→ Protect against diabetic complications
Thanks to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and liver-supportive effects.
→ Support healthy ageing
Thanks to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and collagen-promoting effects.
→ Fight bacterial infections
Burdock root appears effective against certain strains of bacteria, and may be useful for oral health.
→ Reduce the symptoms of gout
Secondary to anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects.
→ Ease arthritis pain
Secondary to anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects.
→ Treat colitis and stomach ulcers
Thanks to anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and astringent effects.
Applying Our Knowledge Of Burdock Root Benefits
Burdock root is a safe, traditional ‘cleansing’ herb that is slowly being validated by science.
It appears to exert strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative effects, living up to its reputation as a support for cancer patients.
As a tonic for the skin and the cardiovascular system, burdock root may also be particularly beneficial for diabetics, and the ageing, with the grapeseed extract, zinc and vitamin C in Athletic Greens supporting these same processes for improving skin health.
There is no established therapeutic dosage for burdock root, but some sources suggest between 2 - 6 grams of the dried powder, up to three times per day if treating a specific condition.
For those people with an identified allergy to plants in the ragweed family, burdock use should be avoided.
Burdock root may act as a blood thinner and circulatory stimulant, and is contraindicated for those taking anticoagulant medications such as Warfarin. Dermatitis can also be a side effect for sensitive individuals.
Having said that, burdock root is considered an extremely safe herb, with no known toxic dosage.
Clearly the Japanese already know this as they have been using burdock in many culinary capacities for centuries. We, in the western world, are only just catching up now.
You can find burdock root powder sold in health food stores for its antimicrobial/immune boosting benefits as well as for water retention but of course, we suggest gaining the many benefits of burdock root by taking Athletic Greens.