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closeup of dried burdock root slices

Burdock root benefits

20 Apr 2021 • 1 min read

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

  • Detoxifying properties

One scientific study found that burdock root’s active ingredients help boost blood circulation and remove toxins from the bloodstream.6

  • Natural aphrodisiac

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
  • Oils

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


Bhupesh Panchal


Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019

Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry

Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.

After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
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