There are many plants in nature that have many health benefits. Food is obtained from plant fruits such as peppers, strawberries, and tomatoes. It can also be harvested from leaves such as lettuce and kale. It can also be the roots of plants rich in vitamins and minerals that provide energy to our bodies, such as carrots, radishes, and the lesser-known but perhaps equally nutritious burdock.
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Burdock grows wild in many parts of the United States. However, in other parts of the world, such as Japan and parts of Europe, burdock is grown as a food as well as a medicinal herb. And all over the world, it is ground and sold as supplements, extracts, teas and powders.
So what does this weed/vegetable/herbal/supplement do for your health?
It All Depends On How You Eat It, Registered Dietitian Says Devon Peart, RD, MHSc.
“Burdock is considered food safe and has some pretty good health benefits,” Part explains. “However, as is often the case, when it comes to taking supplements, the situation is ‘buyer beware’. We don’t really know if it retains its health benefits in the processed state. And its safety as a supplement has not been well established. ”
Pert shares the possible health benefits of eating burdock and why taking burdock supplements may not reflect those benefits.
Benefits of burdock (as a food source)
Burdock has been used for centuries traditional medicine practiceIt is effective as a diuretic, especially in relieving symptoms of colds and coughs. Outside of Europe and Asia, burdock root is commonly found in specialty health food stores and imported food markets. It can be cooked and eaten like other root vegetables such as carrots and radishes.
Although there is little scientific research on the health benefits of burdock, it does show some potential as a healthy food to include in your diet.
“Eating burdock provides good nutrition as part of a healthy diet,” Pert points out. “But it hasn’t been extensively studied, so it’s unclear how much you need to consume to get long-term health benefits.”
Burdock is an excellent source of a type of fiber called inulin. Dietary fiber that aids digestion.
Like other fibers, inulin helps you feel fuller for longer.may go down LDL-cholesterol (the “bad” ones) help stabilize blood sugar levels and may also reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Inulin is also found in foods such as:
- chicory root.
- green onions.
Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory
Burdock is an excellent source of antioxidants, chemicals that protect cells from damage. The anti-inflammatory properties of burdock also help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and even some cancers.
“Burdock has a history of use as a topical ointment for skin conditions because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which shows its potential as a treatment for burns,” Pert says.
Perhaps one of the best-known properties of burdock root is its use as a diuretic. That means you may pee more often, which may be beneficial for people who are water-retained, such as those with certain heart, lung, or kidney conditions.
Herbs such as parsley and dandelion are also natural diuretics, as are water-based fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, lemons, cucumbers and grapes.
Problems with burdock supplements
Pert advises careful consideration when considering burdock supplements when it comes to potential health benefits as a food, especially if you have a chronic health condition.
“A lot of people look at herbal supplements and think, ‘Oh, it’s natural.’ You don’t have to worry about anything here,” Pert says. “But that’s definitely not the case. There are many things in nature that are very dangerous.”
And the fact is, supplements, by definition, are not natural. They are highly processed, may contain undesirable additional ingredients, and are not subject to rigorous safety testing and quality control. I mean, you really don’t know what you’re taking, how much active ingredient you’re taking, or whether it’s going to affect you positively or negatively. Part explains.
Think of it like this: Whole Foods is like a football team with a good quarterback. Future Hall of Famer. But a quarterback wouldn’t be as effective without a strong team. There are linemen who protect themselves from the opposing team’s defense. Outside the field there are receivers who catch the ball. No quarterback can be as good as they are without these supporting players.
Distilling burdock (and other herbs) into a supplement is like isolating the quarterback from the rest of the team. Supplements try to take advantage of the best properties of foods and make them self-sustaining. But as Pert further explains, it’s often not a single characteristic that makes a food beneficial. The combination makes the nutrients more potent.
“Foods have properties that don’t necessarily translate into supplement form,” she continues. “You can’t imitate the nutrition you get naturally from whole foods.”
too many unknowns
It is a big question mark whether burdock supplements work and whether they can do any harm.
First, I don’t know if burdock supplements really act as a diuretic. So you may be paying for a supplement that doesn’t even give you the benefits you’re looking for. Not a wise investment at all.
vice versa, if Burdock has a diuretic effect, if These properties are reflected when refined as a supplement…how much can you take before peeing too much and risking dehydration?
The same problem arises when considering other potential benefits of burdock.People with diabetes may be at risk if it lowers blood sugar hypoglycemia. If it is effective in lowering blood pressure, what is the effect if I am also taking blood thinners?
The bottom line is that eating burdock is safe as part of a healthy diet. But relying on burdock supplements probably won’t do what the bottle claims.
But if you want to try supplements, Pert advises to always consult your health care provider, such as your GP or registered dietitian, for advice. Also, be sure to discuss potential side effects and possible adverse effects with other medications you are taking.