The Secret Benefits Of Burdock
When I first moved to the midwest from Nevada, I was immediately astounded as to these beautifully large leaves that filled our yard. And while gorgeous, I thought little as to the health benefits that the plant might boast and honestly thought they were little more than a nuisance that choked out my gardens and filled my dog’s fur with annoying burrs. Having lived here for several years now and speaking with many locals, I surprisingly found that burdock is one incredible plant that boasts countless health benefits. What is burdock you ask? Read on to find out!
Burdock is the common name of a genus of flowering perennials (scientific name: Arctium). The first recorded use of burdock dates back to the medieval period, but as it is well-known in Chinese herbal medicine, it more than likely dates back even further. While the entire plant has health benefits, it is the root of burdock is most valued. It can be eaten in large quantities as a root vegetable, and is loaded with valuable fibers. Dried leaves and seeds can even be used to extract burr oil, which also has a wide array of medicinal uses (we’ll learn about that in a moment).
There are a ton of different ways that you can prepare burdock, as either a food or herbal medicine, which interestingly makes this plant I once thought to be so annoying… one of the most sought after plants around the world. Let’s delve a bit deeper to check out some of the incredible health benefits of burdock.
Perhaps the most well-known ways to use burdock is as a digestive aid for a number of various reasons. As the increased concentration of fibers in burdock assist in stimulating the digestive system and moving food with ease through your bowels, many have found relief from constipation and cramping, prevention of bloating, and even healing ulcers. Inulin, which is a type of fiber that is found in burdock, is additionally capable of reducing inflammation in your gut and helping to eliminate several forms of harmful bacteria that may cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues. Inulin is also incredibly effective when it comes to the reduction of the development and severity of diabetes and diabetes-related symptoms. The increased levels of inulin can even lower blood cholesterol by way of simply removing it from your body and completely protecting your cardiovascular system.
Burdock also boasts an impressive ability to help lower blood pressure. It has super high concentrations of potassium that significantly assists in relieving tension within the body’s cardiovascular system by way of relaxing blood vessels and arteries, which in turn leads to aiding in the prevention atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and even strokes.
If you have ever tried burdock, you have certainly made note of just how bitter it is. However, the chemicals that give burdock that bitter taste actually play a role in stimulating bile production along with the digestive juices in your gut, which assists your liver to quickly process toxins and flush them out of you system. This clearing of toxins from your blood is actually one of the main purposes of your liver, and the organic compounds and components of burdock have been found to be directly linked to improving this essential function.
There are a number of health related issues that can lead to skin inflammation and irritations (including but certainly not limited to hormonal imbalance, pimples, rashes, spots and discoloration), such as constipation, high toxicity in the blood, or even poor dietary habits. Interestingly, one of the most common recommendations by herbalists to remedy these skin issues is burdock root supplements and herbs as they can literally resolve the potential underlying issues in terms of toxicity or constipation in a super fast and highly effective manner thus leading to clearer and more healthy skin. Many have even noted that with it comes to hormonal imbalances burdock is the way to go to find fast relief. While of course, you want to add foods and herbs in which will regulate hormonal activity within your body. Burdock can again assist the liver to metabolize certain hormones, such as estrogen, which can in turn help to balance and restore the body’s hormonal levels back to normalcy.
Virtually everyone is aware of the fact that significant levels of vitamin C and E act as antioxidants in our body to help to eliminate free radicals. With keeping that in mind, burdock is a huge boost to our immune system function in that area. These particular antioxidants have been linked to helping prevent infections, lowering the risk of developing cancer, and even supporting proper growth, development, and repair of the body’s cells and tissues. Thanks, Burdock!
It should be noted that though rare, there are limited allergies that may be associated to burdock in some, so be sure to speak to your doctor or naturopath prior to adding it to your normal health regimen. Additionally, if you are using a potassium-sparing diuretic therapy, eating too much burdock (as it has huge levels of potassium) may aggravate your system potentially resulting in potassium toxicity. Be sure to consume in moderation.