What is Burdock Root?
Burdock is any of a group of biennial thistles in the genus Arctium, family Asteraceae. Common Burdock (A. minus) grows wild throughout most of North America, Europe and Asia.
Plants of the genus Arctium have dark green leaves that can grow up to 18" (45 cm) long. They are generally large, coarse and ovate, with the lower ones being heart-shaped. They are woolly underneath. The leafstalks are generally hollow. Arctium species generally flower from July through October.
The prickly heads of these Old World plants are noted for easily catching on to fur and clothing, thus providing an excellent mechanism for seed dispersal. Burrs cause local irritation and can possibly cause intestinal hairballs in pets. However, most animals avoid ingesting these plants.
A large number of species have been placed in genus Arctium at one time or another, but most of them are now classified in the related genus Cousinia. The precise limits between Arctium and Cousinia are hard to define; there is an exact correlation between their molecular phylogeny. The burdocks are sometimes confused with the cockleburs (genus Xanthium) and rhubarb (genus Rheum).
The roots of burdock, among other plants, are eaten by the larva of the Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli). The plant is used as a food plant by other Lepidoptera including Brown-tail, Coleophora paripennella, Coleophora peribenanderi, The Gothic, Lime-speck Pug and Scalloped Hazel.
Folk herbalists consider dried burdock to be a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent. The seeds of A. lappa are used in traditional Chinese medicine, under the name niupangzi (Chinese: Å£Ýò×Ó; pinyin: ni¨²p¨¢ngzi; Some dictionaries list the Chinese as just Å£Ýò ni¨²b¨¤ng.)
Burdock is a traditional medicinal herb that is used for many ailments. Burdock root oil extract, also called Bur oil, is popular in Europe as a scalp treatment applied to improve hair strength, shine and body, help reverse scalp conditions such as dandruff, and combat hair loss. Modern studies  indicate that Burdock root oil extract is rich in phytosterols and essential fatty acids (including rare long-chain EFAs), the nutrients required to maintain a healthy scalp and promote natural hair growth. It combines an immediate relieving effect with nutritional support of normal functions of sebaceous glands and hair follicles.
According to some European herbalists, combining Burdock root oil with a Nettle root oil and massaging these two oils into the scalp every day has a greater effect than Bur oil alone.
Burdock root is a blood purifier. It cleanses and eliminates impurities from the blood rapidly. It will also clear skin diseases, boils and carbuncles. Burdock root can be used as a diuretic, especially good for children.
It is excellent to help aid weight loss.
In traditional herbal texts, burdock root is described as a "blood purifier" or "alterative." Burdock root was believed to clear the bloodstream of toxins. It was used both internally and externally for eczema and psoriasis as well as to treat painful joints and as a diuretic. In traditional Chinese medicine, burdock root in combination with other herbs is used to treat sore throats, tonsillitis, colds, and even measles. It is eaten as a vegetable in Japan and elsewhere.
Burdock root has recently become popular as part of a tea to treat cancer. To date, only minimal research has substantiated this application.
Burdock root contains high amounts of inulin and mucilage. This may explain its soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Bitter constituents in the root may also explain the traditional use of burdock to improve digestion. It also contains polyacetylenes that have been shown to have antimicrobial activity. Burdock root and fruit also have the ability to mildly lower blood sugar (hypoglycemic effect).
Burdock root in large quantities may stimulate the uterus and therefore should be used with caution during pregnancy.
Gaia Herbs Burdock Root
Solaray's Burdock Root 425mg