The vitamins and minerals of burdock roots can reverse signs of aging, soothe acne and eczema, and even detox your blood. Here’s how you can get the most out of the unique ingredient.
Picture this: You’re hiking a trail or strolling through a meadow when suddenly you feel a sharp prick at your ankle…and then another…and another. Annoyed, you look down to find your socks covered in a bunch of small, spiny balls.
Most of us have experienced these burrs, but few have recognized them for what they really are. While irritating, they come from a plant that can – get this – help you look years younger. Sound good? Let us introduce you to burdock.
Burdock, or burdock root as it’s commonly called, is related to the common dandelion and has been used in food and medicine for thousands of years. Though a plant native to Europe and Northern Asia, it’s now widespread throughout the US.
Scientifically named Arctium lappa or colloquially known as beggar’s buttons, burdock is a 3 to 4-foot tall weed with wavy, heart-shaped leaves that blooms between June and October.
The root, leaf and seed are all used medicinally, each with a valuable set of benefits. The Japanese cultivate it on a large scale for the root (known as gobo). They sauté it with carrots, top it with soy sauce and call it a delicacy. However, most other countries just infuse it into their skincare products and call it a miracle worker.
The extensive list of burdock root benefits is thanks to its nutrient-dense profile. It contains powerful antioxidants such as phenolic acids, luteolin and quercetin as well as essential minerals:
Thanks to these minerals and a healthy list of vitamins, burdock root is helpful in improving or correcting a number of skin conditions. It’s been used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis, which is due to its antioxidant profile, ability to detoxify blood and knack for improving circulation – all of which promote optimal skin health.
In fact, a 2008 study found that the use of burdock extract led to visible wrinkle reduction. It also significantly improved the metabolism of external skin layers, creating a powerful anti-aging effect.
In skin preparations, burdock root has an anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effect, but the uses for burdock extend far beyond our protective outer layer skin.
It’s even been found to lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Other common uses include:
- Dissolve kidney stones
- Fight water retention
- Boost lymphatic system
- Speed the healing process
- Relieve sore throat and cough
- Help protect liver against alcohol damage
- Stimulate hair growth
As you can see, it has many unique benefits you can use to improve your overall heal.
All parts of the plant except the flowers have been used medicinally for generations. In some cultures, the root is eaten with meals, along with young leaves and peeled stems. It’s quite bitter though, so most people prefer to use it as a powder, tincture or oil.
Dried root powder is most often used in commercial products. If you take the liquid extract route, look for varieties manufactured without heat, which preserves its nutrients.
Regardless of form, always source plant-based products from reliable, preferably organic companies. As with anything else, it can be cut and watered down, so it’s important to buy from a trusted business.
The best way to use burdock depends on what you’re using it for:
- For skin ailments, it’s best applied externally in the form of creams and ointments.
- For hair purposes, burdock oil is a good choice and can be applied directly to the scalp, or used in a shampoo and conditioner.
- To cleanse blood, regulate glucose levels and more, it can be taken internally via capsules or tinctures.
- In cuisine, burdock root is usually peeled and cooked in boiling water. It can then be eaten as a vegetable with butter and salt or mixed with carrots, mushrooms and anything else you like.
With it’s unique abilities to heal skin we have added it to our Tea Tree Cleanser and Tea Tree Cream for acne prone skin. It will work together with other ingredients like tea tree oil, aloe vera, St. John’s Wort and more to make your skin silky smooth!
Despite its prickly burrs, burdock root gives us plenty of reasons to love it. As if younger looking skin wasn’t enough, its ability to purify blood is enough to make anyone give it a chance.
Burdock shouldn’t be taken internally during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, and there is little information on its use in children.
Other than that, have at it! Your skin will thank you later.