Burdock has been used for hundreds of years to treat ailments from indigestion to inflammation. It is a flowering perennial and the plants, leaves, stems, and roots can all be used for medicinal purposes. The most common form in which it is consumed is the burdock root, because the root can be eaten in large quantities and is often made into supplements.
Health Benefits of Burdock
Below you’ll find some of the many health benefits and uses of burdock.
1. Burdock Lowers Blood Pressure
Burdock gets little recognition for its impressive blood pressure-lowering abilities. Potassium is a key component in regulating and lowering blood pressure, and it is a main component found in burdock. The potassium helps induce relaxation of blood vessels and arteries, which leads not only to a reduction in blood pressure, but also to a reduced risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
2. Digestive Aid
Because it is rich in fiber, burdock is effective in keeping the bowel movements regular and productive. This regularity due to burdock helps treat constipation and bloating. Particular fibers in burdock also reduce inflammation in the gut, further addressing digestive issues and helping with stomach aches, stomach cramps, ulcers, and more.
Inulin is a particular type of fiber that is found in burdock, and it is extremely effective in treating and preventing diabetes, as well as addressing many side effects of diabetes.
4. Skin Health
Because burdock root has such a cleansing effect on the internal organs, the detox benefits are then reflected on your outside organ—your skin. Many toxins lead to rashes, acne, inflammation, red spots, or other skin issues. By combatting and eliminating these toxins in the body, burdock helps to maintain healthy, glowing skin.
5. Liver Detox
Burdock stimulates bile production, which helps keep the liver running smoothly and avoids toxin and by-product buildups in the body.
6. Balances Hormones
Burdock root is able to encourage hormone metabolization in the liver, which results in a regulating effect on all hormone production in the body. This balancing of hormones can help with many other issues, such as irregular periods, low sex drive, mood swings, irritability, weight loss/gain, and more.
7. Improved Immunity
Burdock is rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is the biggie when it comes to helping your body fight off colds, flus, and other viruses. Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals from the body, which thus prevents cancer and other diseases. Vitamin E contributes to overall good health and a stronger immune system.
Clearly, burdock is a natural remedy for many ailments that many of us suffer from. When you do use burdock for the first time, be sure to test a small amount, as some people do have an allergy to the plant. If no allergy exists, incorporate burdock into your routine as much as possible to improve your immunity, skin health, heart health, and more.
How to Use Burdock
Burdock can be taken in as a supplement or a tincture. To make the tea, simmer 1 tablespoon of the dried root in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. It is suggested to drink up to 4 cups of this daily. The tea may also be used to wash the skin and face. To do this, apply the cooled tea onto the skin with a clean cloth and then rinse in cold water.
Blanche the young tender leaves and use them in a salad and as a vegetable for meals in the spring. Skin and slice the fresh root into thin rounds and add it to soups and stir-frys.
The University of Maryland Medical Center has stated that burdock root can act as diuretic, so those suffering from dehydration or those at risk of dehydration should not take anything containing burdock root.
Women who are pregnant and or nursing should not take burdock root as it may cause damage to a developing fetus.
Burdock root can increase the risk of bleeding during surgery and it may slow down blood clotting. It can also alter normal blood sugar levels.