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What is Burdock?

Burdock is native to Europe and northern Asia; it is naturalized in the US. The plant is a member of the Asteraceae, or daisy, family, with large oval leaves and broad pinkish flowers. Burdock has long, hard root pieces.

Scientific Name(s)

Arctium lappa

Common Name(s)

Burdock also is known as bardana, beggar's buttons, clotbur, edible burdock, Fructus arctii, great bur, great burdocks, lappa, and Niu Bang Zi (Chinese).

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

In traditional medicine, the fruits, seeds, roots, and leaves of burdock have been used as extracts or teas for a wide range of ailments including colds, gout, rheumatism, stomach ailments, and cancers, and to promote urination, increase sweating, and facilitate bowel movements. It has also been promoted to increase sexual desire, and used for various skin problems. Burdock root is commonly used as food in Asia. Some US health stores carry fresh burdock root for sale as a food and nutraceutical.

General uses

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects have been described for burdock whole root extract, as well as for its chemical components. Diabetes, cancer, CNS conditions, stomach ulcer, and inflammation of the colon are under investigation for possible burdock use; however, not enough clinical evidence is available.

What is the recommended dosage?

There is no clinical evidence for burdock dosing. Traditional dosages report up to 12 g of dry root per day and up to 2 mL of liquid seed extract.


Contraindications have not yet been identified.


Avoid use. Documented adverse effects.


None well documented.

Side Effects

Allergic skin irritation and severe, whole-body allergic reaction have been reported.


Burdock is generally considered a safe and edible food product, but toxicology studies are lacking.


1. Burdock. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; October 2014.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.