encyclopedia

Burdock Root

Scientific Names:    

Arctium lappa L.

Forms:    

Burdock root tea; burdock whole root, fresh or dried.

Traditional Usage:    

– Acne
– Allergies
– Anti-inflammatory
– Antioxidant
– Bone and Joint Health
– Breathing Disorders
– Canker Sores
– Celiac’s Disease
– Cellular Regeneration
– Cleansing
– Crohn’s Disease
– Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
– Colitis
– Detoxifying
– Digestive Disorders
– Diuretic
– Diverticulitis
– Eczema
– Endometriosis
– Fibroids
– Fibromyalgia
– Gastrointestinal Disorders
– Headaches
– Hepatitis
– Hormone Imbalances
– Irritable Bowel Syndrome
– Joint Pain
– Migraines
– Poultice
– PMS
– Psoriasis
– Senility/Aging Conditions
– Skin Disorders

Overview:    

Burdock root, also known as gobo or “Poor-man’s potatoes”, is an important food in Japan known for it’s many healing properties. Traditionally, burdock root was used in Europe, India and China to treat respiratory disorders, abscesses, joint pain, urinary problems and to overcome serious health challenges by stimulating cellular regeneration, detoxification and cleansing. The German Pharmacopoeia lists this herbal drug for treating gastrointestinal complaints, as well as joint and bone conditions. The tea is also considered to be a traditional blood purifier and diuretic. Up to seventy-five percent of the root is made up of complex carbohydrates known as fructo-oligo-saccharides (FOS), including 27-45% inulin. Based on clinical studies, intake of FOS significantly increases beneficial bifidobacteria within the gastrointestinal tract and eliminates bacterial pathogens. This ultimately stimulates the immune system and effectively suppresses abnormal cell growth. The high levels of FOS in burdock root and its water extract also help to keep blood sugar levels constant and reduce hyperglycemia. Burdock root and its tea also contain at least five powerful flavonoid-type antioxidants that are more powerful antioxidants than vitamin C. Based on many studies with animals exposed to toxic chemicals, the tea very effectively protects the body against cellular damage and abnormal growths. The tea also has powerful anti-inflammatory activity based on studies and reduces liver damage from toxic chemicals. As a mildly bitter-tasting herb, it increases saliva and bile secretion, which aids digestion and cleanses the liver. These qualities of burdock root tea support proper hormone balances within the body and this may explain its traditional use for treating acne, eczema, endometriosis, fibroids and psoriasis. Burdock root tea can also be applied externally for treating skin conditions.

Active Ingredients:    

Burdock root contains: Approximately 27-45% inulin, mucilage (up to 75% of the root is carbohydrate in the form of fructo-oligo-saccharides (FOS) including inulin); 0.06-0.18% essential oil with so far 66 identified components; antibacterial polyacetylenes; bitter substances (i.e. lactones); 1.9-3.65% polyphenols including caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and other powerful flavonoid-type antioxidants; sitosterol and stigmasterol.

Suggested Amount:    

Burdock root is generally taken as an herbal tea three to five times per day. German authorities recommend using 2.5g of finely chopped or coarsely powdered drug per cup of tea (1 teaspoon of powdered burdock root weighs approximately 2 grams). It is recommended that the tea be infused in cold water first (for up to several hours) and then boiled for up to an hour and finally passed through a strainer. This long process serves to increase the bioavailability of some of the active ingredients. As a food, this root can also be added to soups.

Drug Interactions:    

Burdock root tea may reduce the requirements for insulin, based on its effectiveness for helping to normalize blood sugar levels. Therefore it is recommended that diabetics consult with a health care practitioner.
As with other sources of soluble fibre, burdock root itself may reduce the absorption of oral medications and therefore should be taken separately from these.
Burdock root is commonly eaten as a food by Japanese people living all over the world, including in Canada and the U.S.  It is listed as a GRAS food (generally recognized as safe) in the U.S. and Canada.

Contraindications:  

None known.

Side Effects:    

None known.

References:    

Dombradi C, and Foldeak S. 1966. Screening report on the antitumor activity of purified Arctium lappa extracts. Tumori 52: 173.-176.

Duh, PD. 1998. Antioxidant activity of burdock (Arctium lappa Linne): its scavenging effect on free-radical and active oxygen. J Am Oil Chem Soc 75 (4): 455-461.

Lin CC, Lu JM, Yang JJ, Chuang SC, and Ujiie T. 1996. Anti-inflammatory and radical scavenge effects of Arctium lappa. Am J Chin Med 24 (2): 127-137.

Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Bardanae Radix  – Burdock Root (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 99-101.

Yamashita K, Kawai K, and Itakura M. 1984. Effects of fructo-oligosaccharides on blood glucose and serum lipids in diabetic subjects. Nutr Res 4: 961-966.

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