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Burdock (Arctium lappa) plant belong to the Asteraceae family and is related to sunflowers and daisies. It is commonly found growing in Northern Asia, Europe and the United States. Burdock root has been used in Chinese medicine and in Western herbal medicine to treat a variety of health ailments like constipation, bladder stones, intestinal disorders, flu and arthritis. The book 'The Compendium of Materia Medica' mentions the great health benefits of this root.
Burdock root contains oils as well as important compounds called tannins, plant sterols, quercetin, phenolic acids and luteolin, which are attributed to many of the health benefits it provides  .
Traditionally, burdock root was used as a diuretic and a digestive aid. Currently, researchers have discovered its other health benefits, which we are going to discuss in this article.
Health Benefits Of Burdock Root
1. Prevents cancer
Burdock root has the potent ability to prevent cancer due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2016 study showed that burdock root might slow down the growth of breast cancer tumours  .
2. Improves insulin levels
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when there is an increase in blood sugar or blood glucose levels. A study showed that burdock root has anti-diabetic properties, which can help prevent a spike in insulin levels  .
3. Purifies the blood
In traditional medicine, burdock root has been used for blood purification. A 2011 study found that burdock root can help eliminate toxins from the bloodstream, thus detoxifying the blood and increasing blood circulation  .
4. Lowers inflammation
Burdock root possesses powerful antioxidants which are said to protect the cells from free radical damage. According to a study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, burdock root lowers inflammatory markers in the blood in osteoarthritis patients  .
5. Manages skin issues
Burdock root has long been used in the treatment of various skin conditions like eczema, acne and psoriasis. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties in burdock root can help clear up skin issues when it is applied topically. A study published in the Journal of Burn Care & Research found that burdock root may help in the treatment of topical burns  .
Side Effects Of Burdock Root
- If you are allergic to chrysanthemums or daisies, burdock root may cause allergic reactions.
- The root is diuretic in nature, so you shouldn't take it if your body is dehydrated.
- Pregnant women and expectant mothers should avoid consuming burdock root.
- Don't consume burdock root if you are on diuretics, blood thinners and diabetes medications.
How To Use Burdock Root
Burdock root is mainly available in the form of tea, as a herbal tincture or pills.
Note: Consult a doctor before you consume burdock root.
-  Chan, Y. S., Cheng, L. N., Wu, J. H., Chan, E., Kwan, Y. W., Lee, S. M. Y., ... & Chan, S. W. (2011). A review of the pharmacological effects of Arctium lappa (burdock).Inflammopharmacology,19(5), 245-254.
-  Shareef, M., Ashraf, M. A., & Sarfraz, M. (2016). Natural cures for breast cancer treatment.
-  Tousch, D., Bidel, L. P., Cazals, G., Ferrare, K., Leroy, J., Faucanié, M., ... & Azay-Milhau, J. (2014). Chemical analysis and antihyperglycemic activity of an original extract from burdock root (Arctium lappa).Journal of agricultural and food chemistry,62(31), 7738-7745.
-  Maghsoumi‐Norouzabad, L., Alipoor, B., Abed, R., Eftekhar Sadat, B., Mesgari‐Abbasi, M., & Asghari Jafarabadi, M. (2016). Effects of Arctium lappa L.(Burdock) root tea on inflammatory status and oxidative stress in patients with knee osteoarthritis.International journal of rheumatic diseases,19(3), 255-261.
-  Rieman, M. T., Neely, A. N., Boyce, S. T., Kossenjans, W. J., Durkee, P. J., Zembrodt, J. M., ... & Kagan, R. J. (2014). Amish burn ointment and burdock leaf dressings: assessments of antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities.Journal of Burn Care & Research,35(4), e217-e223.