So, is burdock root good for you? Or is this simply a bunch of hype that is not founded in anything reliable? And what’s burdock root used for? As something that has been around in traditional medicine for thousands of years, it warrants a closer look.
Burdock has a history stretching back to the Middle Ages in the British Isles where it was most notably used with Dandelion to make a beverage known simply as Dandelion and Burdock. This has carried through to today in a more modern variation as a soda.
But there are more healthy ways to make this root a part of your routine, without all that added sugar. Did you know that HerbiTea’s Iron Fluorine tea blend contains burdock root?
Let’s take a closer look at this underrated plant and explore the question ‘is burdock root good for you?’
Table of Contents
The Burdock Root Back Story
Where did burdock come from? It seems to be everywhere these days. Growing along river banks, is abandoned lots, on the side of the road, and even in small spaces between buildings in some places. It seems to pop up everywhere!
Burdock (Arctium lappa) is a plant native to Europe and Asia, but it is now found throughout the world. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine, and is also used as a food crop in some parts of the world. It’s long history of use in traditional medicine dates back to at least the Middle Ages.
In traditional herbal medicine, burdock is often used as a tonic to help support the health of the liver and the kidneys, and it is also thought to have diuretic, diaphoretic, and expectorant properties. 
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to help improve circulation and to support the health of the liver and the kidneys. It is also used to help reduce inflammation and to support the immune system. [4, 5]
In traditional Japanese cuisine, burdock root is often pickled and served as a side dish, and it is also used in some traditional Japanese herbal remedies.
It is a member of the Asteraceae family, which also includes plants such as sunflowers, daisies, and chrysanthemums. Known for its large, wavy leaves and purple flowers, as well as its burrs, which are small, spiky balls that stick to clothing and animal fur.
Where is Burdock Root Found?
Burdock grows best in damp, fertile soil and is often found along roadsides, fields, and other open, disturbed areas. It is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions and is often considered a weed.
Is Burdock Invasive?
Burdock is considered an invasive plant in some areas. As such, a range pf control measures have been applied to limit it’s spread. Everything from selective physical weeding, chemical control and biological control, right through to cultural education controls to reduce the proliferation of this plant.
Burdock can produce large amounts of seeds that can be dispersed by wind and water quite easily, allowing it to spread rapidly and establish itself in new areas. As a result, it is often considered a nuisance in gardens and agricultural fields, where it can compete with other plants for space, water, and nutrients.
But there’s something about this plant that makes it worth paying a little more attention to.
Is Burdock Edible?
Generally, burdock is considered safe to consume and is regarded as being non-toxic plant. There have been no reports of poisoning from consuming it. However, it is important to note that not all parts of the burdock plant are edible, and some people may experience allergic reactions to certain parts of the plant.
The roots of certain species of burdock, such as Arctium lappa and Arctium minus, are commonly consumed and are considered to be safe and nutritious. The leaves and stems of all species of burdock are generally not considered to be edible due to their tough, fibrous texture.
Which Burdock can I Eat?
The root, leaves, and stems of all species of the burdock plant are considered to be edible, and are used in traditional medicine and cooking, though the taste and texture may vary slightly between species. Some of the more well-known edible species of burdock include:
- Arctium lappa
- This is the most common and widely distributed species of burdock. The root of Arctium lappa is the most commonly eaten part of the plant and is often harvested in the fall, after the plant has gone to seed. It has a long, brown, carrot-like appearance and is known for its crunchy texture and slightly sweet, earthy flavor. Burdock root can be eaten raw or cooked, and is often used in traditional dishes in Japan, where it is known as gobo (the root is thinly sliced and stir-fried with other vegetables). The seed pods are on individual stems.
- Arctium minus
- This species is also known as lesser burdock or hairy burdock. The root, leaves, and stems of Arctium minus are edible, although it is a smaller plant than Arctium lappa and its roots may be less substantial. The seed pods are bunched together.
- Arctium tomentosum
- This species is also known as woolly burdock or soft burdock. The root, leaves, and stems of Arctium tomentosum are edible, although it is a smaller plant than Arctium lappa and its roots may be less substantial.
Sometimes burdock can be mistaken for the following. Some of them have similar properties, while with others, certain care needs to be taken to avoid poisoning. Consider:
- Burdock vs Dandelion Root
- Burdock vs Cocklebur
- Burdock vs Curly dock
- Burdock vs Yellow Dock
- Burdock vs Rhubarb
- Burdock vs Thistle
Can Burdock Root Be Eaten Raw?
Burdock root can be eaten raw, but it is generally more commonly consumed cooked. It can be peeled and grated or thinly sliced and added to salads or other raw dishes.
Cooking can help to soften the root and reduce its slightly bitter flavor. It can also be boiled, baked, fried, or grilled, and is often used in soups, stews, and other cooked dishes. It can also be pickled or preserved in other ways.
Regardless of how it is consumed, it is important to properly clean and prepare burdock root before eating it. Just a simple tip in the is burdock root good for you discussion.
The root should be thoroughly washed to remove any dirt or debris, and the skin should be peeled off if desired. It is also a good idea to soak the root in water for a few hours before cooking to help soften it and remove the bitterness.
What Does Burdock Taste Like?
Burdock leaves have a bitter, astringent taste and are generally not considered to be edible. They are tough and fibrous, and are not typically consumed due to their unpleasant taste.
Burdock leaves are sometimes used in traditional medicine, and are believed to have medicinal properties. However, they are not commonly used in cuisine, and are not a common component of many dishes.
What does Burdock Root Taste Like?
Burdock root has a taste that some people describe as earthy or slightly bitter. It is often compared to the taste of artichokes or salsify. Some people even compare the taste of burdock root to the taste of parsnips or carrots.
The taste of burdock can be somewhat strong, and it is often used in small amounts in dishes to add a unique flavor. Curiously, some people find that the taste of fresh burdock is more mild than the taste of cooked burdock.
If you are unfamiliar with the taste of burdock, you may want to try a small amount before using it in a dish to see if you enjoy the flavour.
What does Burdock Root Look Like?
Burdock root is a long, thin root vegetable that grows underground. It is similar in appearance to other root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips. It is typically brown or black in color and has a rough, bumpy exterior.
It is often long and slender, but it can also be thicker and more squat depending on the variety of the plant and the growing conditions.
The root is usually harvested when the plant is mature, which is usually in the fall. When fresh, the root should feel firm and have a smooth, crisp texture. If the root is soft or spongy, it may be starting to go bad.
Are Burdock Leaves Edible?
Yes, the leaves of the burdock plant are edible. However, they typically aren’t consumed due to their taste as mentioned earlier.
When the leaves are used, they are typically harvested in the spring when the plant is young and are can be used in salads or as a leaf vegetable.
Burdock leaves are described by some people as having a slightly bitter and earthy taste that is similar to the taste of the root.
Burdock leaves are high in nutrients and are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in antioxidants and have been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. 
Are Burdock Leaves Poisonous?
Burdock leaves are not poisonous and are considered safe to eat in small amounts.
If you are taking any form of medication, or have a medical condition, it is recommended to consult with a qualified professional before consuming burdock leaves.
As with any food, it is also important to wash the leaves thoroughly before consuming them to remove any dirt or contaminants.
Remember, some people consider burdock to be a weed, and therefore, it may have been recently sprayed with a potentially toxic herbicide, so be very careful as washing won’t remove some of these well enough.
Are Burdock Seeds Edible?
Yes, the seeds of the burdock plant are edible. They are typically harvested in the fall when the plant is mature and are often used as a food ingredient or as a natural remedy.
Burdock seeds have a slightly sweet and nutty taste and are often used in dishes such as breads, pastries, and stir-fries. They can also be ground into a powder and used as a thickener or a flavor enhancer in soups and stews.
In traditional medicine, they are thought to have a variety of health benefits and are often used to treat conditions such as acne, eczema, and dry scalp. 
Are Burdock Seeds Poisonous?
Burdock seeds are not poisonous and are generally considered safe to eat in small amounts. They can taste very bitter, and are often unpalatable. They are best considered as medicinal rather than a food source due to their diuretic properties. 
However, it is important to note that the seeds of the burdock plant are encased in the burs which are able to be harvested in the plant’s second year of growth. These burs can be sharp, and when consumed by animals they can cause irritation.
There are often tiny fibers or tiny hair-like needle shards on the seed head which can cause skin irritation as they behave like miniscule splinters. If you are collecting the seeds, consider wearing gloves to protect your hands.
Is Burdock Root Good for You?
Burdock root is a nutritious food that is high in fiber and contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, and is also rich in antioxidants. [9, 10, 11]
Some of the potential benefits of burdock root include being effective for treating:
- High blood pressure
- Fluctuating blood sugar levels
- Free radical impacts (ROS)
- Reduction of abnormal cells (apoptosis), and more.
Burdock root has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, and some studies have suggested that it may have potential health benefits.
Let’s dig deeper into the ‘is burdock root good for you?’ discussion where we will look at the above more closely.
What are the Health Benefits of Burdock Root?
Some possible health benefits of burdock root include:
- Improved digestion
- Burdock root is high in fiber, which can help to promote regular bowel movements and improve overall digestive health. 
- Reduced inflammation
- Burdock root contains antioxidants and other compounds that may help to reduce inflammation in the body. 
- Lower blood sugar
- Improved skin health
- Burdock root has been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and dry scalp. Some people believe that it may help to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin. 
However, it is worth noting that the potential health benefits of burdock root have not been extensively studied, and more research is needed to fully understand its effects on human health. As with any food, it is important to consume burdock root in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Can Burdock Root Kill Viruses?
There is limited scientific evidence to suggest that burdock root has antiviral properties and can help to kill viruses. While some traditional medicine systems have used it to treat viral infections, more research is needed to fully understand its potential effects on viruses.
What Else is Burdock Root Good For?
Burdock root has also been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of other conditions, such as:
- Gout, and
- High Blood Pressure.
As with any food or supplement, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before using burdock root for medicinal purposes.
Burdock Root Benefits for Skin
Some people believe that Burdock Root may have potential benefits for the skin. Here are a few possible ways that it may benefit the skin:
- Reduced inflammation
- It contains antioxidants and other compounds that may help to reduce inflammation in the body. This may be beneficial for people with inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, and dermatitis. 
- Improved skin health
- It is rich in vitamins and minerals, which may help to nourish and support the health of the skin. It may also have a mild astringent effect, which may help to tighten and tone the skin. 
- Gentle exfoliation
- It may have a mildly exfoliating effect on the skin, which may help to remove dead skin cells and improve the overall appearance of the skin. Some people believe that burdock root may help to improve the overall health and appearance of the skin, and may be useful for treating a variety of skin conditions. 
However, it is worth noting that the potential skin benefits of burdock root have not been extensively studied, and more research is needed to fully understand its effects on the skin.
Burdock Root for Acne
Some people believe that burdock may have potential benefits for the skin in treating acne due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. This could be achieved through:
Using a Burdock Root Toner
A burdock root toner can be made by infusing the root in water or alcohol. The toner can then be applied to the skin using a cotton pad or sprayed onto the skin.
Some people believe that the toner may help to reduce inflammation and bacteria on the skin, which may be beneficial for people with acne.
Applying a Burdock Root Mask
Burdock root can be ground into a powder and mixed with water or other ingredients to create a mask. The mask can then be applied to the skin and left on for a period of time before being washed off.
Some people believe that the mask may help to reduce inflammation and bacteria on the skin, which may be beneficial for people with acne.
Can Burdock Root Cause Acne?
There is no evidence to suggest that burdock root causes acne. Acne is a common skin condition that is caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal imbalances, genetics, and certain medications.
Burdock Root for Diabetes
One small study found that taking a supplement containing burdock root, along with other herbs, helped to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. 
It is important to note that burdock root should not be used as a replacement for conventional diabetes treatment. If you have diabetes, it is important to work closely with your healthcare team to manage your condition and maintain good blood sugar control.
Burdock Root for Kidneys
The burdock root benefits for kidneys include supporting general kidney health through its diuretic properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and antioxidant properties.
Burdock root is believed to have a number of potential health benefits, and it is traditionally used to support kidney function. Here are a few potential benefits of burdock root for the kidneys:
- Diuretic effects
- It is believed to have diuretic properties, which means it can help to increase the production of urine. This can be beneficial for people with kidney problems or those at risk of developing kidney problems, as it can help to flush out excess fluids and toxins from the body. 
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- It is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for people with kidney problems. Chronic inflammation in the kidneys can lead to scarring and damage, so reducing inflammation may help to protect against further damage. 
- Antioxidant effects
- It is rich in antioxidants, which are substances that help to neutralize harmful substances called free radicals. Free radicals can cause damage to cells in the body, including cells in the kidneys, and may contribute to the development of kidney problems. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants may help to protect against kidney damage. 
It is important to note that while this root may have potential health benefits, more research is needed to fully understand its effects on the kidneys and to determine appropriate dosage and use.
Some studies have found that burdock root may help to support kidney health in a number of ways.
One study found that taking a supplement containing burdock root helped to reduce proteinuria (excess protein in the urine) in people with kidney damage. Proteinuria is a common symptom of kidney damage and can be an early warning sign of kidney disease. 
Another study found that taking a supplement containing burdock root helped to improve kidney function in people with chronic kidney disease. However, as touched upon earlier, these studies were small and more research is needed to confirm these findings. 
Burdock Root for Gout
Is burdock root good for you if you have gout? Burdock root is a traditional herbal remedy that is sometimes used to treat gout and other conditions. It is thought to have anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties, which may help to reduce swelling and remove excess uric acid from the body.
Some people use burdock root tea or supplements to try to alleviate their gout symptoms, but there is limited scientific evidence to support its effectiveness for this purpose.
It is important to note that gout is a serious medical condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment by a healthcare provider.
Can Burdock Root Cure Cancer?
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that burdock root can cure cancer. While burdock root may have some potential health benefits, it is not a proven treatment for cancer.
As science catches up to traditional medicine and ancient wisdom, the value of functional foods is becoming a better understood aspect.
Let thy medicine be thy food, and thy food be thy medicine.
Even though there is still no evidence to suggest that burdock root can cure cancer, studies have shown that it is believed to have a number of potential health benefits, and it is traditionally used in herbal medicine to support various body systems.
Some research suggests that burdock root may have anti-tumor properties. A few of the potential mechanisms through which burdock root may exert its anti-tumor effects include:
- Antioxidant effects
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Apoptotic effects
It is important to note that while burdock root may have potential health benefits in this area, more research is certainly needed to fully understand its effects on cancer and to determine appropriate dosage and use. It is always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional before using any herb or dietary supplement to treat a medical condition.
If you are considering how burdock root may play a part in your life, it is worth noting that there are things to think about. Specialist advice can not be undervalued here.
Should you Take Burdock when Pregnant?
It is generally not recommended to use burdock root or any other herbs or supplements during pregnancy without the advice of a healthcare provider. Some herbs and supplements may not be safe for use during pregnancy, as they can have unintended effects on the developing fetus.
Burdock root is considered to be a demulcent. This means that it may help to soothe and protect irritated or inflamed mucous membranes.
It is also thought to have diuretic properties, which may help to increase urine production and remove excess fluid from the body.
However, there is limited scientific evidence to support the safety or effectiveness of burdock root for use during pregnancy.
Can Burdock Root Cause Miscarriage?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that burdock root causes miscarriage. However, it is generally not recommended to use burdock root or any other herbs or supplements during pregnancy without the advice of a healthcare provider.
Some herbs and supplements may not be safe for use during pregnancy, as they can have unintended effects on the developing fetus.
Burdock Root Risks and Side Effects
Burdock root is generally considered to be safe when consumed in small amounts as food. However, there is limited scientific evidence on the safety of burdock root when used in larger amounts as a medicine.
Some possible burdock root side effects may include:
- Stomach upset
- Burdock root may cause digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. 
- Allergic reactions
- Some people may be allergic to burdock root or other ingredients in burdock root products. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. 
- Drug interactions
- Burdock root may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners and medications used to treat diabetes. 
Does Burdock Root Make You Poop?
Burdock root may have a mild laxative effect and may stimulate bowel movements in some people.
This is because it is thought to have diuretic properties, which may help to increase urine production and remove excess fluid from the body. This action may also help to stimulate bowel movements. 
However, the extent to which burdock root may affect bowel movements can vary from person to person. Some people may experience increased bowel movements after consuming burdock root, while others may not notice any changes.
Can Burdock Root Cause Diarrhea?
Burdock root may cause diarrhea in some people. As mentioned above, this may be connected to the potential diuretic properties. This function may also stimulate bowel movements and cause diarrhea in some people.
However, the extent to which burdock root may cause diarrhea can vary from one person to the next.
Can Burdock Root Cause Constipation?
There is limited scientific evidence on the effect of burdock root on causing constipation. Some people may experience increased bowel movements and a laxative effect after consuming burdock root, while others may not notice any changes.
Does Burdock Root Make You Sleepy?
There is limited scientific evidence to suggest that burdock root causes drowsiness or affect sleep patterns. Burdock root is a traditional herbal remedy that is thought to have a number of potential health benefits, but its effects on sleep have not been studied enough.
Where the largely anecdotal connection between it and sleep comes in is through the Vitamin B6 content which is understood to help relax the mind.
It is believed to be through the reduction in neurotransmitter activity that Vitamin B6, which is found in burdock root, may help with overcoming sleeplessness or insomnia for some people. 
Burdock Root Preparation
There are several ways to prepare and use burdock root as a herbal remedy. Some common methods include:
- Dried root
- Dried burdock root can be purchased in bulk or as a tea and prepared by adding hot water. The root can also be ground into a powder and used as a supplement.
- A tincture is an alcohol-based extract of burdock root.
- A decoction is a concentrated liquid made by boiling burdock root in water. The tincture and decoction can be consumed orally or applied to the skin topicality.
- Fresh root
- Fresh burdock root can be peeled and sliced, and then boiled or sautéed and eaten as a vegetable. It can also be used to make a fresh juice or infusion.
How to Cook Burdock Root – Recipe
Burdock root can be eaten as a side dish or used in a variety of dishes, such as stir-fries, soups, and stews. Did you know that you can also pickle burdock root and even add it to salads?
When shopping for burdock root, look for firm, unblemished roots that are free of signs of damage or soft spots. Fresh burdock root is usually available in the fall and winter. Dried or frozen burdock root is also available year-round at some specialty food stores or online.
How To Make Burdock Root Tea – Recipe
Do you want to know how to use burdock root for tea? Stick with me here, I’ll put the kettle on, and we’ll brew up a fresh pot.
There are a few factors to consider when determining how often to drink burdock root tea, including the strength of the tea, the reason for using it, and any potential side effects.
Strength of the Tea
The strength of the tea will depend on the amount of burdock root used and the steeping time. It is generally recommended to start with a weaker tea and increase the strength gradually to determine the optimal dosage.
Reason for Using Burdock Root Tea
The benefits of burdock root tea have seen that it has been used for a variety of purposes, including reducing inflammation, improving digestion, and supporting the immune system. The frequency of use will depend on the specific reason for using the tea.
Potential Burdock Tea Side Effects
Burdock root tea is generally considered to be safe when consumed in small amounts. However, it may cause some side effects in some people, such as stomach upset or allergic reactions. It is important to be aware of any potential side effects and to use the tea cautiously.
Is Burdock Toxic?
If you are wondering ‘is burdock poisonous?’ the first thing to consider is the potential for it having been recently treated with herbicides as a part of a weed management plan. The plant is not naturally toxic, and the main part which is used is the root.
What are the Side Effects of Burdock Root?
Some people may find they have allergic reactions to burdock. Too much burdock could result in an upset stomach. Although there is little evidence documented, burdock may interact with some medications, so seek professional advice first.
Who should Not Eat Burdock Root?
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid burdock unless specifically advised by a suitably qualified professional capable of making such decisions. Also, if you are on blood thinning medication, or other medications that ate metabolised by the liver, burdock’s diuretic properties may present some complications. Seek specialist advice first.
Can you Take Burdock Root on an Empty Stomach?
There is very limited specific research that considers whether it is safe or advisable to take burdock root on an empty stomach. Burdock root is generally considered safe when consumed in food amounts, but it is not recommended to consume large amounts of the herb.
Does Burdock Root Increase Blood Pressure?
Burdock root has historically been relied upon for it’s blood pressure reducing properties. There is limited research into the effects of burdock on blood pressure, but the general consensus is that it does not increase blood pressure. 
How Often should you Use Burdock Root?
There are no specific guidelines for how often burdock root should be used. The appropriate frequency of use may depend on the specific reason for using the herb and the individual’s needs and circumstances.
Burdock root is generally considered safe when consumed in food amounts, but it is not recommended to use it as a supplement or to consume large amounts of the herb. If you are considering using burdock root as a supplement, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider first. They can provide guidance on the appropriate dosage and frequency of use, as well as any potential interactions or side effects.
It is also important to note that natural remedies may not be suitable or effective for everyone, and they may not be recommended for certain health conditions. It is always best to speak with a healthcare provider before using any natural remedies to ensure their safety and effectiveness.
Is Burdock Good for Weight Loss?
Studies into the effectiveness of burdock root for losing weight are few. Some research done into the potential weight loss benefits from burdock explored the use of burdock root ethanol extracts which showed that fatty acid synthesis expression was decreased under controlled conditions, along with other effects that suggest that further research is warranted. 
Are Burdock and Rhubarb Related?
No. Burdock and rhubarb are not closely related botanically. Burdock is a part of the daisy family, while rhubarb is a part of the buckwheat family. You can find out more about burdock vs rhubarb here.
How Long does it Take for Burdock Root to Cleanse the Blood?
There is no set timeframe where burdock root works to cleanse the blood. This is largely due to there being too many variable in a case by case situation from one person to the next. And then there are exposure considerations where the cause of presence elements in the blood requiring cleansing being addressed at the root.
One study into how colonic diverticulitis and diverticular bleeding were effected by burdock root tea saw the mean follow up timeframe as being more than two years. 
If this is an indication of typical results and timeframe it would be reasonable to say that it may take an extended period for burdock root to complete the process of cleansing the blood.
Are there any Burdock Root Powder Benefits?
Burdock root powder may have benefits that are very much on par with the root as a fresh or dried source. The main consideration to keep in mind with powdered forms of products largely come in with the processing.
Some processes expose products to high temperatures, irradiation, bleaching, and potentially topped up with fillers that are hard to detect.
If you have the agility to source, dry, and grind your own burdock root powder you’ll have a much better idea of what is going on with it.
If you are planning on foraging for your own burdock root, please be careful as it is not just the potential for mixing this up with a plant that is not safe to consume. There is also the potential for exposure to harmful toxins if the burdock or the soil has been recently sprayed as a part of a weed management plan.
When looking at who sells burdock root and where to get burdock from, it is worth considering where it is sourced from.
Some farms are extremely dedicated to ensuring they are pesticide free and grow some amazing products that have not been exposed to harmful toxins. These may be the best choice when looking to source burdock root
HerbiTea source their burdock root as used in their Iron Fluorine tea blend from farms that are certified organic so you know it is free from toxins.
So, is burdock root good for you? Do you feel that we have covered enough in this topic to help clarify this question? We would love to hear what you have to share in the comments section below.
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Last Updated on 4 months by D&C Editorial Team