Most British people only consider burdock as one half of Dandelion and Burdock, the beverage – incredibly popular in Scotland – which was first drunk in Mediaeval times.1
Although you’re most likely to find burdock root in a drink in Europe, it’s popular in a variety of global cuisines; burdock’s taproot is eaten in China, Korea, and Russia.2
Adherents to the macrobiotic diet have long coveted burdock for its health properties, and it looks like they were on to something. Scientists have recently discovered the plant has an astonishing range of health benefits.3
In this article, we’ll explain what burdock root is, and all its health benefits. We’ll warn of any side effects, and advise of ways you can enjoy burdock root as part of a balanced diet
What is burdock root?
Burdock root is the root of the Arctium plant, which has been used as a root vegetable in diverse cuisines. Burdock root has a bold flavour, which is sweet and earthy.
Benefits of burdock root
Burdock is root is linked to a whole host of health benefits, including:
High antioxidant content
Oxidative stress contributes to the development of many age-related diseases.4 Burdock root contains potent antioxidants, including polyphenols. These promote health by combatting free radical damage and reduce oxidative stress throughout the body.5
One scientific study found that burdock root’s active ingredients help boost blood circulation and remove toxins from the bloodstream.6
Although there has yet to be a follow-up study conducted on humans, one study found that male rats who consumed burdock root enjoyed increased sexual behaviour and potency.7
Potential burdock root side effects
Burdock root is a natural diuretic, which means that it encourages an increased frequency of urination, and more mineral loss than usual.8
People on certain medications, like Lithium, should avoid incorporating burdock root into their diet as a consequence of this. Diuretics can implicate the efficacy of certain medicines and pose a risk of illness.9 Only incorporate burdock root into your diet in consultation with a medical professional while on medication.
How to use burdock root
The burdock root extract is found in a wide variety of forms, including:
- Herbal teas
- Powder formulas
You can topically apply burdock and ingest it.
Although often hard to come by, burdock is considered a healthy food. It is a popular ingredient of the macrobiotic diet. This food philosophy advocates the eradication of ‘toxins’ from our diet.10 Many people roast burdock root as they would other root vegetables, and enjoy its health benefits as part of a delicious roast.
You can, of course, also enjoy the benefits of burdock in a delicious carbonated beverage, made with dandelion.
Last updated: 30 March 2021