Burdock Root Benefits

Learn about burdock root benefits and how provides natural detoxification support for kidneys through its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Key Takeaways

  • Burdock root, a root vegetable used in holistic medicine, is known for its diuretic properties and is believed to aid digestion, reduce inflammation, and potentially inhibit certain types of cancers.
  • It’s particularly beneficial for kidney health, acting as a diuretic to stimulate the kidneys to pass urine more frequently, thus helping to remove toxins from the bloodstream.
  • It’s also beneficial for liver health, stimulating bile production for improved detoxification. Burdock root can be consumed raw, cooked, or in supplement form, and is often found in green powders.

Burdock is a root vegetable commonly used in holistic medicine. It’s believed to provide many powerful health benefits ranging from skin health, kidney health, liver, health, digestive health, and more.

Burdock root is native to Northern Asia and Europe and is well-known for its diuretic properties. It’s also believed to be a powerful digestive aid due to its rich source of dietary fibers. Additionally, Burdock root is rich in antioxidants and may help to reduce inflammation in the body as well as potentially inhibit certain types of cancers. (Source)

Furthermore, burdock root may help purify your blood and remove toxins for improved circulation. This root vegetable has also been used topically to help improve various skin conditions including acne and eczema. (Source)(Source)(Source)

While the potential benefits of burdock root are plentiful, its biggest claim to fame is its detoxifying properties. However, to better understand how burdock root helps to detox our bodies, it’s essential first to understand the role of our kidneys.

The kidneys are the two bean-shaped organs found on the backside of your body behind your abdomen. Their primary role is filtering blood and removing waste. They are also responsible for balancing our body’s fluid needs.

Burdock root acts as a diuretic, which stimulates the kidneys to pass urine more frequently and in higher amounts to get rid of any water retention or toxins that may be lingering.

Essentially, burdock root helps your kidneys more efficiently remove any potential toxins from your bloodstream. 

Burdock Root Overview

Burdock Root

Burdock root, also known by its botanical name Arctium Lappa, comes from the burdock weed. The burdock weed contains long, deep roots that vary in color but most commonly range from beige all the way to black.

While the root of the burdock weed is the most commonly used part of the plant for medicinal purposes, the leaves and seeds can also be used in tinctures and teas. The burdock weed can grow to about 3-4 feet high and has burrs that can stick to clothing, shoes, and animal fur.

The weed leaves are heart-shaped and typically green at the top to light greenish white at the bottom and will bloom purple flowers between June and October in most areas. (Source)

Burdock is native to Northern Asia and Europe but can now be found worldwide. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, herbal preparations, and homeopathic remedies.

Burdock root can be found in traditional Chinese medicine often combined with other herbs to help treat cold symptoms.

Some countries, such as Japan and parts of Europe, eat the burdock root as a digestive aid as it contains a good source of dietary fiber and prebiotics. It is also commonly made into teas and tinctures for medicinal use.

While it has been used for centuries to help treat a variety of ailments, there is still limited research on the effects of burdock root, especially when used in concentrated doses, and further studies are warranted. (Source)

Key Compounds And Nutrients

One of the things that makes burdock root stand out from other root vegetables is its impressive nutrition profile. Burdock root is rich in essential nutrients that play a crucial role in health, including prebiotic fibers, polyphenols, essential fatty acids, and numerous vitamins and minerals.

Burdock root contains a good source of inulin, a soluble fiber found in many plant foods that is known for its role in aiding in digestive health. Research has also found inulin to help with blood sugar management, and weight loss, and may potentially decrease the risk of developing colon cancer. (Source)(Source)(Source

Additionally, inulin is a prebiotic, which is not digested or absorbed in the body. Instead, it helps provide nutrition to our beneficial gut bacteria. Consuming a diet rich in prebiotics can help to create a balanced and diverse gut microbiome which has been linked to a vast list of health benefits.

Burdock root also contains a good source of polyphenols, including quercetin and luteolin. These compounds act as antioxidants which help protect your cells from damaging free radicals. They may also help to reduce inflammation which is associated with an increased risk of various chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and even mental illness. (Source

While most root vegetables do not contain a good source of essential fatty acids, burdock root is rich in omega 3s which are essential for brain and heart health and may also reduce inflammation. Additionally, omega 3s may help to support mental health, and eye health, and may reduce the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. (Source)(Source)(Source)

Aside from these beneficial compounds, burdock root contains an impressive nutrient profile rich in many vitamins and minerals.

Burdock root contains a good source of calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, folate, vitamin C, phosphorus, and iron.

When consumed as a dietary source in addition to a balanced diet, burdock root can help to fill in many nutritional gaps due to its wide range of nutrients per 1-cup serving.

Benefits Of Burdock Root

burdock root benefits

Burdock root is rich in health-promoting properties. It contains benefits including body detoxification, and blood purification, as well as diuretic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may even act as an antibacterial to help treat various skin conditions when used topically or to prevent bacteria that commonly cause urinary tract infections (E. Coli) when taken orally.

Burdock root is known as a lymphatic herb. It is believed to help bind and remove harmful waste from our body through our lymphatic system, which is part of our immune system. This waste could include heavy metals, toxins, chemicals, and other potentially harmful compounds. Because of this, some countries use burdock root in a lymphatic tonic to help with detoxification.

It’s also known as a powerful blood purifier. Burdock root has often been used to help detoxify the blood and some research has found that this root may help to promote increased circulation on the surface of the skin which can help to treat or improve certain skin conditions. (Source

Additionally, burdock root acts as a diuretic which can further help to remove toxins from your body. Diuretics stimulate the kidneys to pass urine more frequently and in higher amounts to get rid of any water retention or potentially harmful waste from your bloodstream. However, this works best in those that are well hydrated and those who are dehydrated should avoid taking burdock root as it may exacerbate dehydration.

While it works great as a detoxifying agent, burdock root is also nutritionally dense. It contains a rich source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect against diseases and improve overall health and wellness.

The Kidneys And How They Work

It’s easier to understand the true benefits of burdock root and its diuretic properties when you have a good understanding of your kidneys and how they function within your body. 

Kidney Anatomy And Function

The kidneys are the two bean-shaped organs that can be found on the backside of your body behind your abdomen. They are responsible for filtering and removing waste, toxins, and excess fluids from your body. They are also essential in regulating the fluid and electrolyte balance in your body for adequate hydration and blood pressure.

You have two kidneys located on either side of your spine, directly below your rib cage and they filter roughly 8 ounces of blood per minute. Your kidneys are also known as your renal system and the waste and excess water removed from your bloodstream is then filtered out into urine which flows out into the bladder through two thin tubes called ureters. This is also known as your urinary tract. (Source)

Additionally, your kidneys are responsible for producing hormones that are essential for regulating various body functions including blood pressure, the production of red blood cells, and regulating minerals required for optimal bone health (calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D). (Source)

Conditions Affecting the Kidneys

Like any organ system, there are conditions that can negatively affect the health of our kidneys, including kidney stones, kidney infections, chronic kidney disease, and diabetic nephropathy.

Kidney Stones

Oxalate and Kidney Stones

Because your kidneys are responsible for making urine, highly concentrated urine may result in kidney stones.

This is when the compounds in the urine begin to crystalize and create stones that may stay within the kidney or travel down through the ureter. Typically a kidney stone is not discovered until it begins to travel through the ureter which results in significant pain until it is passed.

Some people may be prone to kidney stones due to family history while others can develop them as a result of their diet, the presence of a urinary tract infection, or other conditions such as cystinuria. Not all kidney stones can be passed depending on the size and medical intervention may be needed. (Source)  

Kidney Infections

Additionally, you can develop infections within your kidneys which is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). This typically begins at the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) or the bladder and then travels to one or both kidneys.

A kidney infection is also known as pyelonephritis and must be treated by a medical professional. Untreated kidney infections can cause serious damage to the kidney or travel to the bloodstream and result in death or serious illness. Kidney infections are typically treated with antibiotics. (Source)

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is a disease of the renal system that results in progressive loss of kidney function over time.

This inhibits your body’s ability to filter waste from your blood and can cause waste to build up causing conditions such as hypertension, anemia, brittle bones, nerve damage, and malnutrition. As chronic kidney disease progresses, it can lead to kidney failure which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant. (Source)

Diabetic Nephropathy

Another disease of the kidneys is diabetic nephropathy which is a complication that commonly occurs as a result of poorly managed type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Chronically elevated blood sugar levels can cause damage to the small blood vessels in your kidneys that filter waste from your blood.

This can cause challenges with properly filtering your blood and result in elevated blood pressure. Chronically elevated blood pressure further damages your kidneys increasing the risk of developing chronic kidney disease and other health challenges. (Source)

Benefits Of Burdock Root For Kidney Health

Now that we know how our kidneys work and common conditions that can affect the health of our renal system, let’s take a look at the benefits of burdock root for our kidneys.

Promotes Urination And Fluid Balance

Burdock root acts as a natural diuretic. This helps your kidneys to function better, eliminates any excess water, and prevents issues such as fluid retention.

This can be particularly helpful for those who suffer from conditions that make them retain water, such as congestive heart failure or kidney failure.


Burdock root acts as a natural blood and lymphatic cleanser. It helps your body remove toxins from your blood through your lymphatic system before being filtered by your kidneys.

Essentially, it helps your kidneys function more efficiently. Burdock root also contains strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help protect the kidneys from oxidative damage and disease.

Supports Healthy Function

Burdock root is rich in inulin, a prebiotic fiber that helps to support gut health. Prebiotics such as inulin work by nourishing the good bacteria in our gut which is directly related to the health and functioning of the rest of your body.

Additionally, inulin is a soluble fiber that can help regulate digestion as well as electrolyte and mineral absorption.

Studies have found that soluble fibers such as inulin also help to better manage blood sugar levels which can promote improved diabetes management. Since diabetic nephropathy is a complication from poorly managed blood sugar levels this can significantly decrease the risk of damage to the kidneys. (Source)

Preventing And Removing Kidney Stones

Because burdock root helps to flush out fluid and toxins, it can be helpful in preventing and removing existing kidney stones by flushing them out. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce inflammation as a result of kidney stones and help to prevent or reduce pain.

Decreased inflammation can help to decrease swelling of the ureters due to the presence of a crystal or stone trying to pass. If the ureters aren’t as inflamed, you will be able to pass the stone quicker and easier compared to if they are very inflamed.

While it can help with treating kidney stones, this is only if you maintain adequate hydration. Because burdock root has diuretic properties, it’s important to make sure you are still consuming an appropriate amount of water to avoid dehydration.

If you are dehydrated while taking a diuretic such as burdock root, you could worsen your chances of developing kidney stones or make it more difficult to pass them if they are already present as there won’t be enough water to flush them out. Speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before taking burdock root if you are already taking diuretic medication.

Burdock Root Benefits For The Liver

Doctors examining liver

Burdock root has been shown to provide a myriad of different benefits for our kidneys, but it can also provide many benefits for our liver as well. In fact, it has been studied as a hepatoprotective herb.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of burdock root are not just beneficial for your kidneys but for all organ systems including your liver.

Your liver is located in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen, behind your ribcage, and directly on top of your stomach. It provides many vital functions for your body including filtering and detoxifying your blood, particularly from substances such as medications or alcohol. Both your kidneys and your liver play a vital role in ridding your body of potentially harmful toxins. (Source)

Burdock root helps improve the functioning of your liver by stimulating bile production, which can help your liver flush away toxins more efficiently. It also helps to detoxify your blood prior to reaching the liver to make its job a little easier.

Taking burdock root may help to protect the liver from certain diseases and conditions, such as fatty liver disease. Burdock root helps with fatty acid and lipid accumulation that can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Additionally, the high source of soluble fiber helps to reduce the risk of hyperlipidemia and type 2 diabetes which can increase the incidence of NAFLD. The antioxidant presence in burdock root provides additional protection for the valuable cells of the liver from oxidative damage that can cause or worsen many liver conditions. (Source)(Source)

While burdock root provides many benefits when consumed orally, some research studies have found that burdock root may also provide benefits to skin health when applied topically.

Burdock root contains a rich source of antioxidants along with antibacterial properties that may help to improve or prevent certain skin conditions including acne (particularly inflammatory types), eczema, and psoriasis. Newer research has found that it may also be useful in helping to treat burns. It has also been used in products to help treat and prevent wrinkles. (Source)(Source)

The anti-inflammatory properties of burdock root have also been studied for their potential impacts on joint pain and conditions such as osteoarthritis. One study found that taking burdock root tea helped to improve inflammatory markers in patients with osteoarthritis. (Source)

Burdock root may also have the potential to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. One research study found that the compounds in burdock root provide a potentially inhibitory effect on cancer cell growth particularly in pancreatic carcinomas however, further research for this is still underway. (Source)  

Using Burdock Root With Greens Powders

If you are looking to take advantage of the wonderful powers of burdock root but don’t have access to the root vegetable itself, consider opting for a green powder that contains a concentrated source.

Burdock root is a natural herb that compliments other herbs well, such as spirulina and chlorella, particularly when it comes to kidney support.

Spirulina has been studied for its potential benefits in protecting the kidneys from damage as well as reducing the chances of developing hypertension while chlorella may help to promote both heart and kidney health. (Source)(Source)

Additionally, many green powders offer nutrient-rich nutrition profiles that support kidney and overall health.

The addition of burdock root in green powders can help boost detoxification in healthy individuals without any underlying health conditions. These results may be even further boosted by the presence of ingredients like chlorophyll, which acts as a potent antioxidant that helps to support your liver function for improved detoxification.

Chlorophyll is a common ingredient found in many green powders because it is responsible for the color of green vegetables such as spinach and kale. Some contain chlorophyll-rich foods and others contain concentrated forms of chlorophyll depending on the brand.

How To Use Burdock Root

Use Of Burdock Root

If you are new to taking burdock root, you might be wondering what is the best way to use it.

If you wish to eat the root raw and can find it readily available at your local supermarket, you can simply peel the outer layer and enjoy it either raw or cooked. It has an earthy, nutty flavor similar to artichokes; however, its flavor will vary depending on the region in which it was grown.

It can be easily incorporated into soups, stews, or roasted and enjoyed on its own or with other vegetables. Some even enjoy it pickled or blended into smoothies.

You can also make burdock root tea by slicing the root into thin pieces and placing it in water. Bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes. After that, remove from heat and let it steep for 10-20 minutes, strain, and serve. This tea can be made from all parts of the root, including the skin.

Some prefer to use a burdock root tincture. You can purchase this at some health food or supplement stores as well as from many online retailers. You can also make your own burdock root tincture by simply cleaning and dicing up the root and placing it in a jar with alcohol (80-190 proof). Leave for 4-6 weeks and then strain before use.

If you are using a burdock root tincture, the recommended dose will be provided on the supplement label and is typically 2-4ml per serving. This is the same recommendation for those who are making their tinctures from home. This is sometimes measured with a dropper and diluted into another liquid.

Burdock root can also be found in dried supplement form. Dried burdock root can also be used to make a tea or it can be added into other liquids or foods. It is made by drying the burdock root and grinding it into a concentrated powder. 

If you are taking concentrated burdock root powder, the recommended dosage is typically 1-3 grams however, always read the supplement facts for the recommended dosage for best results. Burdock root is also available in capsules and pills for those who do not wish to incorporate it into a food or beverage.

Because burdock root is a popular herb, it can be found among many other herbal ingredients in products such as green powders, particularly those that may provide similar benefits, such as dandelion root powder.

Dandelion root and leaves work well with burdock root as it also helps to support the health of your kidneys with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties.

Similar to burdock, dandelion acts as a diuretic which can help to flush out excess toxins through your urine. It may also help to prevent common bacteria that lead to urinary tract infections, such as E. Coli. (Source

Precautions And Warnings

Like many herbal supplements, there is still limited research available on burdock root and its potential health complications with long-term use, and further studies are warranted to obtain a better understanding of this popular vegetable when taken in concentrated amounts.

Because of this, burdock root supplements are not recommended for women who are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant. Additionally, there is no research available on burdock root in children therefore supplementation for those under the age of 18 is not recommended.

Those with kidney disease or who are currently taking diuretic medications or blood thinners should avoid taking burdock root as it may exacerbate current conditions or result in complications.

Burdock root may also pose potential interactions with certain medications, particularly glucose-lowering medications often taken for diabetes. Burdock root may further lower blood sugar levels which can be dangerous for this population therefore supplementation should be avoided.

Some may experience an allergic reaction from burdock root, especially if an allergy to ragweed, daisies, or chrysanthemums is present. Some may experience contact dermatitis from burdock root which shows up in the form of a skin rash.

Lastly, if you choose to consume whole burdock root, be sure to get it from a reputable source. Avoid harvesting this plant in the wild as it resembles a toxic nightshade, belladonna.


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Burdock root is a powerful herb that has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, most notably in traditional Chinese medicine. It is touted for its benefits in supporting kidney health and detoxification due to its diuretic properties as well as its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

While it is best known for its role in kidney health, burdock root has been found to provide benefits to many body systems including the liver, digestive system, and even our skin. It is believed to work well to complement other herbal supplements that provide similar benefits, including spirulina, chlorella, chlorophyll, and dandelion.

Those looking to benefit from combination herbal supplements that include ingredients such as this should look for green powders that contain them. Green powders can be an easy and convenient way to boost your nutrition and obtain concentrated doses of valuable ingredients such as these.

Just be sure to choose a green powder from a trusted brand, preferably one that provides full transparency of their ingredients and specific doses and avoids the use of proprietary blends.

Burdock root is incredibly versatile and can be consumed raw, cooked, or in supplement form. While it comes with many promising benefits, further research remains warranted on burdock root and its safety and efficacy when used as a dietary supplement.

Burdock root is not suitable for pregnant or nursing women, children, or those with liver disease or who take medications such as diuretics, blood thinners, or glucose-lowering medications. Always speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before taking a burdock root supplement, especially if you are currently taking any medications or suffer from any chronic health conditions.

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