Learn about Burdock Root

Botanical name: Arctium lappa
Other names:

Burdock is one of the foremost detoxifying herbs in both Chinese and Western herbal medicine. Burdock enhances the performance of many of the organs which purify the body and eliminate toxins or waste (like the kidneys, liver, colon, etc). This enhances overall health and helps correct disorders.

The dried root is often used in chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It is a diuretic (promotes urination, thereby cleansing toxins from the body), as well as a fast acting blood-cleanser.  For these reasons, it is one of the four herbs in the Essiac formula, which is a well-known herbal cancer treatment. 

As a bitter, it stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, especially bile, promoting healthy digestion and appetite. For this reason, it has been used for anorexia, indigestion and other digestive disorders.

The root is thought to be particularly good at helping to eliminate heavy metals from the body. The plant is antibacterial, antifungal, carminative. It has soothing, mucilaginous properties and is said to be one of the most certain cures for many types of skin diseases, burns, bruises etc. It is used in the treatment of herpes, eczema, acne, impetigo, ringworm, boils, bites etc. The plant can be taken internally as an infusion, or used externally as a wash.

Burdock is easily obtainable as an ingredient in teas, ointments, or pills. It is safe to be taken internally, externally, or as food. However, it is important to make sure that the herb is pure. Some reports have indicated that burdock could have toxic properties, since cases of illness were reported that involved burdock tea. However, further analysis showed that the negative effects were the result of impure burdock root. Some belladonna, which contains atropine, had contaminated the burdock root. It is important to look at the source and purity of burdock root before obtaining it.

Preparation: 1-2 tsp per cup, simmer 15 minutes. Drink 3 times daily.

Reference: plants for a future 1996-2010 Arctium lappa – L http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arctium+lappa, David Hoffman (2003), Medical Herbalism, pp 528-529, Isabel Shipard (2007), How can I use Herbs in my daily life?

Burdock Root Common Uses

Burdock Root Actions

Burdock Root Recipes

Burdock Root Precautions

Burdock might slow blood clotting. Taking burdock along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding. Burdock can cause temporary flare-ups in skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema – in this instance reduce dosage and combine with St Mary’s Thistle.

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