The burdock is any one of a group of thistle plants that were native to Europe and have since been disseminated worldwide. Burdock is widely regarded as a weed, with bristling burred seedcases and spiny thorns that can cause mild irritation to the skin if brushed. Despite this, the root of the burdock is used in traditional Chinese medicine as well as modern-day products as an alternative treatment for certain ailments. Always check with your doctor, however, before using burdock for medicinal purposes.
The oil derived from burdock root contains high concentrations of rich fatty acids. Fatty acids are materials that the body itself cannot produce and must consume. After consumption, omega-6 fatty acid is metabolized into gamma-lineolic acid. This is used by most of the body's cells to generate an enzyme known as prostaglandin. Prostaglandin, among other things, is used to regulate the production of skin cells. In this way, burdock root can potentially alleviate skin conditions like dandruff, dermatitis, seborrhea and keratosis.
Burdock root has long been considered an effective blood purifier used in folk medicine to help deal with the effects of jaundice. Jaundice is created by a buildup of waste in the body's tissues because the liver is not functioning well enough to process them and send them off to be excreted from the body.
Among the possible causes of liver deficiencies is a B12 deficiency. This vitamin is used by the liver in order to generate important amino acids and break down toxins. Burdock root is one of very few vegetables that contains B12.
Burdock root functions as a diuretic by inhibiting the kidneys from reabsorbing excess dietary sodium. Because the water is not retained it is allowed directly through the urinary tract. This works to help facilitate the passing of kidney stones and treats certain kidney disorders.
Nephrotic syndrome occurs as a result of internal pressure in the kidney causing a small vein called the glomerulus to rupture and vent blood proteins into the kidney. In order to allow the opportunity for the glomerulus to heal, burdock root induces the kidney to pass fluid and reduce the kidney's internal pressure.