Burdock Root: An Ancient ‘Route’ To Flawless Hair, Skin, And Health

Reviewed By Registered Dietitian Anna Jones, MS, RD, LD/N
Written by Swathi Handoo

What is common amongst these – carrot, turnip, ginseng, horseradish, onion, and ginger? All are ‘roots’ that you consume almost on a daily basis. Add another one to this list right away – burdock root. This ancient but less-known root does wonders for your digestive, urinary, and lymphatic systems apart from offering a host of other benefits. Scroll down to find out what they are.

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What Is Burdock Root?

Belonging to the Arctium genus of the beautiful Asteraceae family, burdock plants (or cockle buttons) are native to Europe and Asia. But of late, they are being grown in various parts of the globe.

Due to its crisp, muddy, and harsh texture and mildly pungent but sweet taste, burdock root is gaining popularity in the food and beverage industry. But, why should you add it to your ‘root list’? Read on, I say!

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What Are The Benefits Of Burdock Root?

Burdock root is a rich source of fiber and has high water content. It contains polyphenols that have antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous properties.

The root not only purifies your blood but also enhances the health of your hair, skin, gut, and kidneys. Continue reading to know how it does so.

1. Prevents Hair Fall


Your head has about 1,50,000 hair follicles, and 80-90% of them are in the growing phase (anagen) at a given point in time while remaining are in the resting phase (telogen). The proportion of follicles in the anagen and telogen phases decides the magnitude of your hair fall. Burdock roots contain tannins, fiber (inulin), essential fatty acids, and vitamins that promote hair growth and cure rapid hair fall.

How To Use

You can either boil burdock roots in your regular hair oil or add the tincture to water and apply directly to the scalp.

2. Purifies Blood

The simplest way to good skin and hair is good or pure blood. That’s exactly what burdock root does. It has antioxidants and flavonoids like quercetin that scout for toxic ions and microbes in your blood and eliminate them (1). This eventually makes your blood free of impurities and infections – offering a complete detox!

How To Use

You can brew a small cup of tea with burdock root powder or crushed burdock root in it (like ginger).

You might also try chewing on some raw (cleaned) burdock root with some sea salt.

3. Burdock Root Has Anti-aging And Anti-inflammatory Properties


Since it acts on the blood and circulatory system, burdock root has a direct effect on the skin. Active compounds like arctiin, lignans, etc. have matrix-stimulating properties, which give you supple and younger-looking skin (2). It also fights acne and eczema due to its blood purifying activity.

How To Use

You can make a burdock root pack by mixing dried root powder with water and applying like any other face pack.

4. Prevents And Fights Cancer

A 2011 study explains the activity of burdock root extract against certain types of cancers – especially those of the liver and pancreas (3). The anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties of these roots are due to the presence of caffeoylquinic acid derivatives (4). These act directly on the proliferating cancer cells and stop them from metastasizing.

How To Use

Incorporate burdock root or its extract in any way in your diet to reduce the risk of cancer as well as treat cancers in the initial stages.

5. Boosts Organ Health And Immunity

Due to the presence of caffeoylquinic acid derivatives, burdock roots have a hepatoprotective effect, i.e., they protect the liver and its cells (5). Patients with liver injuries due to alcohol or drug abuse can consume these in regulated doses.

If you have an enlarged spleen, which indicates compromised immunity, you are on the right page! Since burdock root cleanses your blood, which is filtered by your spleen, it indirectly cleanses and protects it too.

How To Use

You can make a concoction of burdock roots boiled with other herbs like ginseng or licorice roots in water and consume in small doses for best results.

6. Treats PCOS And Menstrual Abnormalities


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) has now become more common than pimples in women. Traditional medicine in Asia and Africa used burdock roots to cure menstrual irregularities.

Since burdock root fights the free radicals and other oxidants present in the blood by acting on the liver and spleen, the secretion of estrogen and progesterone gets regulated. It sorts the hormonal imbalance, which is usually the primary reason for PCOS.

How To Use

You can consume a concoction or tea or eat the raw root in small doses for relief from menstrual cramps and irregular periods.

7. Promotes Kidney Health

One of the zillion benefits burdock root has is perhaps its diuretic activity. A diuretic agent expels excess water and prevents fluid retention and toxin accumulation in our body. Burdock root stimulates increased urine production and blood purification, aiding the kidneys in doing their job. It eases the pressure on them and ensures they‘re happy and kickin’!

How To Use

Having them in small portions daily with your meals will detoxify the urinary system and prevent the formation of stones in the kidneys and gallbladder.

8. Aids Digestion And Assimilation

According to a study, inulin, a dietary fiber extracted from plants like burdock, promotes the growth of certain beneficial gut bacteria (6). Which is why you can use burdock root as a prebiotic in your diet – it helps in better digestion and assimilation of nutrients in your gut.

The nutritional profile of burdock root is responsible for the benefits listed above.

It is packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals, which give these amazing benefits. It has high levels of folate, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and roughage, which make it a necessary supplement to the diet.

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 125g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 110Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 5mg0%
Total Carbohydrate 26g9%
Dietary Fiber 2g9%
Sugars 4g
Protien 3g
Vitamin A0%
Vitamin C5%
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Vitamin A0.0IU0%
Vitamin C3.5mg6%
Vitamin D~~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)0.4mg2%
Vitamin K1.9mcg2%
Vitamin B60.3mg14%
Vitamin B120.0mcg0%
Pantothenic Acid0.4mg4%
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV

And if you are still are not convinced about adding it to your diet, here are some interesting facts about burdock root and its relatives.

  • Dandelion and burdock are close cousins biologically. You can supplement your soup or concoction with it for added benefits.
  • The skin of burdock root has a higher proportion of antioxidants and flavonoids. Try cleaning the root thoroughly and cooking it unpeeled.
  • Chicory, the primary component of our Indian tea (Assam, Nilgiri, etc.), is also a close relative of burdock. Avoid drinking chicory tea if you are dehydrated.
  • Burdock root fights off diabetes by improving the health of the pancreatic cells and reducing free insulin levels in the blood.
  • Belladonna and Nightshade, the deadly weeds, share a close resemblance with the burdock plant. Beware of what you pick.
  • High levels of potassium, magnesium, and fiber make burdock root a must-add to the “heart healthy” diet list.

Whoa! That‘s quite a lot of information on a root. Looking at the nutritional data and facts of this ingredient you, of course, will want to buy a bag of this immediately. But, let’s think about the flipside. What could be wrong with adding such an ideal candidate to your diet?

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Are There Any Side Effects Of Including Burdock Root In Your Diet?

  • Causes Allergies

If you are allergic to plants from the Asteraceae family, like daisy, aster, chamomile, chrysanthemum, dandelion, dahlia, and lettuce, you are likely to develop an allergy to burdock as well. Consult your physician if you wish to include burdock in your diet despite the hypersensitivity.

  • Might Not Be Fit For Pediatric Use

There is very less information regarding the use of burdock roots for children. It has done less good and more harm in children under the age of 18. Consult your physician before adding that piece of burdock to your kid’s meal.

  • Burdock Root Affects Pregnancy

Burdock root is known to be an oxytocic agent and uterine stimulant. It induced uterine contractions (labor, in simple terms) in women who consumed it during pregnancy, according to a study (7). It increases the risk of premature labor as well.

Pregnant women should either refrain from having burdock root or do so under strict medical supervision. Same is the case for couples in the preconception stage.

  • Aggravates Dehydration

Imagine what would happen to your body if you are suffering from diarrhea, vomiting, hot flashes, and you are asked to take a serving of burdock root soup? Ouch! That would drain you off because it is a diuretic.

Think before consuming any of the diuretic agents containing flavonoids when you are dealing with dehydration.

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What’s The Verdict?

Burdock root is the right addition to your diet if consumed within limits, and in some cases, under medical guidance. After all, who would not want to have healthy hair and a healthy gut in one shot?

Let us know how this article helped you. Please leave a comment in the box below.


1. Metabolic profile of the bioactive…” Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
2. “Natural Arctium lappa fruit…” US National Library of Medicine
3. “Antioxidative and in vitro antiproliferative activity…” International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)
4. “Antioxidative caffeoylquinic acid derivatives…” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
5. “Hepatoprotective effects of Arctium lappa…” US National Library of Medicine
6. “Prebiotic effectiveness of inulin extracted…” ScienceDirect, Food Microbiology
7. “Herbal medicinal products during…” BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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Swathi holds a Master’s degree in Biotechnology and has worked in places where actual science and research happen. Blending her love for writing with science, Swathi writes for Health and Wellness and simplifies complex topics for readers from all walks of life.And on the days she doesn’t write, she learns and performs Kathak, sings Carnatic music compositions, makes plans to travel, and obsesses over cleanliness.