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Burdock Root

BurdockAlso Known As:    

Arctium, Beggar's Buttons, Burr Seed, Clotbur, Cocklebur.

Scientific Name:

Arctium lappa; Arctium minus; Arctium tomentosum.

Family: Asteraceae/Compositae.

People Use This For:

Burdock is used as a diuretic, "blood purifier", antimicrobial, and an antipyretic. It is also used to treat  gastrointestinal complaints, rheumatism, gout, cystitis, and chronic skin conditions including acne and psoriasis. It is also used for hypertension, arteriosclerosis, hepatitis, and other inflammatory conditions. 


Burdock is also used for treating colds, catarrh.

Topically, burdock is used for dry skin, acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

The root of burdock is consumed as a food.


No concerns regarding safety when used in amounts commonly found in foods.9,10

Pregnancy and Lactation: Refer to a Medical Herbalist.


There is insufficient scientific information available to comment on the effectiveness of burdock.

Mechanism of Action:

The applicable relevant part of burdock is the root. Extracts of burdock root appear to have cough suppressant activity and may increase immunological activity.11 Other preliminary research suggests it might have anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging activity.12 Burdock root extract might also protect the liver from toxicity caused by ethanol and carbon tetrachloride, possibly due to its antioxidant activity.9

Adverse Reactions:         

An isolated report of an allergic reaction causing anaphylaxis.10

Interactions with Foods:

None known.

Interactions with Lab Tests:     


None known.


No typical dosage 

Specific References: BURDOCK

9.  Lin SC, Lin CH, Lin CC, et al. Hepatoprotective effects of Arctium lappa Linne on liver injuries induced by chronic ethanol consumption and potentiated by carbon tetrachloride. J Biomed Sci 2002;9:401-9.

10.  Sasaki Y, Kimura Y, Tsunoda T, Tagami H. Anaphylaxis due to burdock. Int J Dermatol 2003;42:472-3.

11.  Kardosova A, Ebringerova A, Alfoldi J, et al. A biologically active fructan from the roots of Arctium lappa L., var. Herkules. Int J Biol Macromol 2003;33:135-40.

12.  Lin CC, Lu JM, Yang JJ, et al. Anti-inflammatory and radical scavenge effects of Arctium lappa. Am J Chin Med 1996;24:127-37.

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