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Burdock Root: Evidence Based Benefits and Side Effects

What is burdock root?

Burdock is an herbaceous plant of the genus Arctium which carries essential medicinal value. Grown as a short biennial, the root, leaf and seed of Burdock are used for treatment of a host of ailments. In Asia and some parts of US, burdock root is used as an edible food product. The plant is widespread across Europe and Northern Asia. The herbal root possesses strong antioxidant activity which is apparently more than the commonly-used vegetables and fruits. It is scientifically known as Arctium lappa but has other names like Bardana, Arctium minus, Beggar’s Butons and Burr Seed. In some countries, dandelion and burdock is consumed as a commercial drink.

Burdock Root

Burdock Root

Burdock Root Images

Burdock Root Images

Possible Benefits: What is it Good For?

Eradicating bacterial infections

Burdock root has antimicrobial property which fights against infections in the body. According to a medical study, the herbal plant can inhibit the growth of microbes responsible for causing infection. It has been inferred from a scientific review that burdock root has all the vital constituents required for eliminating infectious conditions. Regular intake of burdock tea might aid in the treatment of cold and fever.

On the basis of some analytical studies, it has been understood that the herb could inhibit urinary tract infections. Since the therapeutic method has been less discussed in modern medicine, prior approval from an experienced healthcare advisor is necessary.

Easing chronic gout attacks

Gout is a severe inflammatory disorder manifested by swelling and intolerable pain in the joints. Pharmacological studies have verified the anti-inflammatory activity of the burdock root which reduces the frequency of gout attacks.

Minimizing rheumatic pain

Rheumatism represents an array of painful muscular and joints disorders that turn chronic in the absence of proper treatment. Root extracts of the herbal plant can reduce discomfort in the joints as shown in a clinical study. Although some test tubes studies have confirmed the anti-inflammatory property of burdock root, the causative compounds are still unknown to the researchers.

Treating gastrointestinal tract illnesses

The medicinal root is believed to be an effective cure for some abdominal disorders. A scientific experiment was performed at the University of Campinas, Brazil, to elucidate the positive effects of the herb on digestive ailments. The results justified the benefits of the plant extract on gastrointestinal conditions. In an early research study, the digestive activity of the root extract has been well supported. Since secretion of gastric acid can cause abdominal ulcers as a result of erosion, burdock root facilitates digestion and prevents excessive build up of stomach acids.

Fighting against cancer

Burdock root tea is consumed by many people to avert the risk of cancer. The high antioxidant value of the herbal plant has been investigated in many clinical studies. The root extract has a natural agent which can be effective in the treatment and management of cancer as found out in an experimental research. The study was imperative in understanding the ability of the herb to halt the proliferation of malignant cells and prevent the spread of the disease.

Burdock Root Photos

Burdock Root Photos

Burdock Root Pictures

Burdock Root Pictures

Improving fertility by enhancing sexual behaviour

The herbal root extract is assumed as a potential therapy for impotence and fertility in men. An intensive scientific study was carried out on male rats to see the effect of the herb on the testosterone levels. The drastic improvement in the sexual activity of the animals signified the aphrodisiac effects of the plant. Few more clinical experiments must be carried out to gauge the safety of the herbal medicine on humans.

Preventing liver damage

Hepatic disorders affect the secretion of bile required for normal digestion of food. The herbal root is believed to play a crucial role in reversing the harmful effects of toxic metabolites on the liver cells. There are ample scientific evidences to show the influence of the therapeutic herb on damaged liver.

Cadmium-induced liver toxicity can be reversed with burdock root as shown in another study. In another clinical experiment rats were fed with ethanol for a couple of days and then injected with the herbal extract. There was a gradual improvement in the animals’ liver function. So, burdock root juice could be a promising treatment for people suffering from liver cirrhosis.

Lowering blood sugar levels

The herbal root is prescribed by traditional medical practitioners to diabetes-affected patients. A laboratory study on animals explained the hypoglycaemic activity of burdock root which triggers insulin production. It has also been observed in another clinical research that the herb contains inulin, a dietary fibre useful in the management of diabetes. However, it has not been scientifically inferred whether the storage carbohydrate controls blood sugar levels.

Burdock Root Plant Pictures

Burdock Plant Pictures

Removing stones in the urinary system

Urolithiasis is a bothersome condition in which the presence of excessive salts and minerals in urine causes stones in the kidney and ureter. A phytotherapy animal research study on the herbal root extract demonstrated its effectiveness in removing uric acid stones. For this reason, burdock is used as a diuretic to regulate the flow of urine. However, valid scientific evidences are needed to support the traditional Chinese therapeutic technique.

Treating acne and other dermatological conditions

The herbal extract has been clinically examined to evaluate its cleansing action on the skin. As found out from a laboratory study, an antioxidant substance in the root is responsible for protecting damaged skin. A pharmacological review of burdock root revealed the presence of active detoxifying elements that promotes blood circulation and enhances the quality of skin. The antioxidant-laden herbal tincture could be a remedy for eczema and acne.

Reversing hair loss

Burdock root oil is known to prevent hair fall and facilitate growth when applied on the scalp. It has been observed in a recent study that the anti-oxidative effects of the herb could assist in the treatment of alopecia, partial or complete loss of hair.

Burdock Root Tea Pictures

Burdock Root Tea Pictures

Ameliorating glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is an immune-mediated condition marked by severe kidney damage. As analyzed from a clinical study on rats, the herbal root preparation could be an appropriate home remedy for the renal disorder.

How safe is burdock root?

Side effects

Mild to severe skin allergic reactions as a result of certain ingredients in the root extract are common. However, there is no reliable information about the undesirable effects of the herbal root.


Burdock root should be avoided during pregnancy as some adverse effects on the uterus have been reported. It is advisable for breastfeeding mothers to stay away from the herb.

Burdock Root Plant

Burdock Root Plant


There is no valid data about the interactions of the herbal root with foods and dietary supplements. Nevertheless, it should not be taken by patients with blood clotting disorders. Few cases of burdock tea poisoning were reported that caused headache, hallucinations, blurred vision, drowsiness and seizure. It was later found out that the herbal preparation was contaminated with atropine.


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