Burdock root is a vegetable that is native to northern Asia and Europe, though it now grows in the United States, too. The deep roots of the plant are very long and either brown or nearly black on the outside.
Burdock root has been used for centuries in holistic medicine to treat a variety of different conditions. Traditionally, it was most commonly used as a diuretic and a digestive aid. Now, researchers have discovered numerous potential uses and health benefits of the root. These benefits may be extensive enough to warrant using it as a complementary treatment for certain conditions.
1. It’s a powerhouse of antioxidants
Recent research has shown that it contains multiple types of powerful antioxidants, including quercetin, luteolin, and phenolic acids. Antioxidants protect cells in the body from damage from free radicals. They can help treat and prevent a number of different health conditions.
2. It removes toxins from the blood
One of the most common traditional uses for burdock root has been to purify the blood. Recent evidence has found that burdock root can remove toxins from the bloodstream. A 2011 study found that burdock root effectively detoxified blood and promoted increased circulation.
3. It may inhibit some types of cancer
Burdock, as it turns out, may not only purify the blood. It may also inhibit certain types of cancer. The 2011 study also found that burdock seeds had “potent inhibitory effects” on the growth of tumors caused by cancers like pancreatic carcinoma. While more research is needed to determine the full effects of burdock seeds on different types of cancers and tumors, this is still a significant finding.
4. It may be an aphrodisiac
Another traditional use of burdock root is as an aphrodisiac. A 2012 study on male rats found that the extract of burdock root had an aphrodisiac effect. The extract enhanced sexual function and increased the amount of sexual behavior in the male rats. More research is needed on humans, but anecdotal evidence supports this claim.
5. It can help treat skin issues
It has long been used to treat skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of the root can help resolve skin issues when it’s applied topically to the skin. One 2014 study even found evidence that burdock root may help treat topical burns.