Burdock: tea benefits and plant root uses

Burdock tea benefits
This content is part of the Alternative Medicine category and may contain information that lacks scientific studies and/or medical consensus.

Skin problems, such as pimples, dandruff, melanomas and others, are usually caused internal factors, but are almost always treated with topical medications, ie, applied to the skin.

However, wouldn’t it be more effective to end these annoyances from the inside out?! Today you will be amazed at the power of the benefits of using burdock, a plant that has been used over the centuries to treat not only skin problems, but also diabetes, poor digestion, ulcers and tumors.

In this article, Remédio Caseiro brought recent scientific studies and interviewed experts, in order to keep you very well informed about this plant!

Key Benefits of Burdock Tea

Arctium lappa , popularly known as burdock (or grass-pega-massos, yerba-dososos), is a medicinal plant originally from Asia and acclimated in Brazil. It is used in gastronomy and folk medicine to treat infections, inflammation , chronic skin problems, gout, kidney stones, gastric ulcers, burns and countless other ailments.

Burdock is too powerful! It is an herb rich in:

  • Ferro;
  • Manganese;
  • Magnesium;
  • Zinc ;
  • Calcium;
  • Selenium;
  • Potassium;
  • Match;
  • Proteins;
  • Fibers ;
  • Vitamins from group B and A.

All these compounds make burdock be used in combating and preventing a range of diseases, making it a complete plant.

Favors skin health

“The leaf extract is used for the healing of acne and wounds. Each part of the plant is effective for different purposes”, points out Andréa Cláudia Menezes da Paz Barros, postgraduate in Clinical Nutrition, specialist in Oncology Nutrition and doctoral student in Intensive Care.

The sheet, for example, also serves to reduce the oiliness of the skin. “The root, on the other hand, helps improve the functioning of the liver, pancreas and stomach mucosa , even healing ulcers”, completes Andrea.

Burdock root has long been used to treat skin problems such as acne and boils , as it works to improve blood circulation and fight free radicals. Consequently, the blood circulating properly, reduces the appearance of blemishes and eczema on the surface of the skin.

Acts against diabetes, inflammation and melanoma

In a study carried out the doctor specializing in biochemistry, Vera Lúcia de Liz Oliveira Cavalli, through the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), and published the Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia, in 2007, proved the effectiveness of burdock in combating diabetes. ( 1 )

In Dr. Vera’s experiment, diabetes was induced in rats. And after this process, the animals received crude extract based on burdock, and had their glycemic levels drastically reduced.

This study demonstrated that the raw extract of Arctium minus (type of burdock), mainly from the root, is capable of decreasing plasma glucose levels, with potency similar to the synthetic reference drug Glibenclamide.

A study carried out this year the Centro Universitário Barão de Mauá – CBM and the University of São Paulo – USP ( 2 ), investigated the effects of the hydroalcoholic extract of burdock in combating tumors, inflammations and melanomas.

The specialists treated sick mice with burdock and proved to reduce the growth of tumors and improve the survival of these animals. This study also pointed out that burdock extract regulates the migration and activation of immune cells, acting as an anti-inflammatory in acute cases and slowing the progression of melanoma.

Fights cancer, hypertension and gastric wounds

Also rich in phytosterols, lignans, folic acid, inulin, mucilages and pectic compounds, burdock helps the body to prevent and fight many chronic, non-contagious diseases.

Lignans, for example, are a type of polyphenol found in some plants and are a powerful compound for decreasing the body’s high levels of estrogen; hormone that, in some cases, can lead to cancer. This compound decreases total estrogen activities, normalizing levels and specifically preventing breast cancer in women.

“Lignans also have the power to heal gastric wounds and, in addition, they are hypotensive, that is, they serve to lower blood pressure,” says specialist Andréa Cláudia Menezes da Paz Barros, a specialist in cancer nutrition and a doctoral student in Intensive Care.

Other performances

The benefits of burdock are scientifically proven. In the book ‘Treatise on medicinal plants from Minas Gerais’, pharmacist Telma Sueli Mesquita Grandi, ( 3 ) it is explained that burdock-derived products (oils, tea, decoction) help to treat:

  • Furunculose e acne.
  • Fluid retention (diaphoretics and diuretics);
  • Kidney cramps;
  • Constipation;
  • Uric acid;
  • Rheumatism.

The author of the book also claims that burdock helps with the problem of hair loss and is an antidote against mercury poisoning. The plant has also been used as a counterpoison to spider bites.

Which parts to use?

The root and leaves are the parts that we can use and that have been proven effective over the centuries. In addition, burdock roots are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Make no mistake, despite not being well known in some parts of Brazil, burdock is cultivated on a large scale and is used in a variety of cooking recipes in Japan and China.

The roots and leaves can be consumed infusion, decoction, tincture, fluid extract or powder.

Some people may find it difficult to prepare burdock tea because they are getting to know it now. Understandable! So let’s go! Follow these instructions and you will have a perfect tea from this plant:

Burdock root tea

To extract the soluble principles from the root it is necessary to boil it in water. This process is called decolletage.


  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of burdock roots
  • 1 cup of water.

Preparation mode

Scrape the rough parts of the root with a knife. Put them in a pan of water and boil for 5 minutes. Let it sit for up to 20 minutes and consume it warm. The recipe can be made with fresh or aged root.

Burdock leaf tea

In the case of leaves, you should not boil them in water. The process carried out is that of infusion. In other words, after the water has been boiled, the herb is placed.


  • 4 tablespoons of burdock leaves
  • 1 liter of water.

Preparation mode

Boil the water. Turn off the heat and add the leaves. Smother the container for 15 minutes. You should consume a maximum of 3 cups of these teas a day. And do not take for more than 7 consecutive days.


The tincture (1:10 in 45% alcohol), which can be bought in specialized stores, should be taken from 8 to 12 ml, 3 times a day.


Not recommended for children. And during pregnancy, due to the effects of anthraquinone glycosides, it can cause uterine stimulation. People who are on hyperglycemic therapy should also avoid burdock. As well as individuals who have low blood pressure problems. Burdock interacts with anticoagulant drugs, which increases the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Toxicity and Side Effects

According to the book “Tratado das medicinal plants from Minas Gerais” ( 2 ), there was only one report of poisoning in humans. The cause was an overdose, which ended up causing pupil dilation and dry mouth. Therefore, high doses should be avoided for prolonged periods due to the high tannin content. In other words, nothing in excess is good!

Attention to food!

Pay attention to food! “Many teas stimulate the body’s detoxification phases, which occur in the liver. And that’s wonderful! However, it is necessary to have a balanced diet, rich in vegetables, so that the tea can really have an effect”, warns the specialist in clinical nutrition, Gabriela Floro, a master in nutrition from the Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE). “It’s no use drinking tea, and continuing to exaggerate the intake of sugars and fats, especially fried foods, which are the main causes of skin and gastric problems”, reinforces the specialist.

Japanese stew recipe with burdock

Kimpira de Bardana da Bela Gil :


  • 1 medium burdock root
  • 1 carrots
  • 2 teaspoons of raw sesame oil
  • 1 puff of salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons of sake or cachaça
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.

Preparation mode

Wash the carrot and burdock well, without removing the skin. Start cutting the carrots into very thin strips.

  • Then cut the burdock as well and immediately dip it in cold lemon water to avoid discoloration.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the burdock and saute over medium heat for a few minutes.
  • Add a little water, cover and cook over medium-low heat for ten minutes, or until burdock softens.
  • Add carrots and salt. Saute for a while.
  • Cover and cook.
  • Stir frequently to prevent vegetables from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • When the liquid from the skillet is absorbed, add the soy sauce and the cachaça or sake.
  • Stir well and serve while still hot.

Where to buy

In Japanese grocery stores and food stores. In health food stores, you also have the chance to find this plant in capsule form, tincture, ointment and other more modern products. For those who want to find the plant fresh and natural, it is worth trying the search for burdock in open markets.

how to plant

Burdock has adapted very well to the climate of the Americas and can be planted to its full extent. In that case, you should get plant seedlings or seeds. Choose burdock roots from the 10th week; plant them in a place where you are sure you won’t need to remove them, as they don’t do well with changes. If you are going to use burdock roots as food, use them within a year, as the old roots become excessively fibrous and unsuitable for cooking.

Origin and history of burdock

Burdock (Arctium lappa) is a plant native to Japan and widespread in America. Burdock has been famous for a long time: the Greeks used it as a medicine, and in the Middle Ages it was included in various formulations intended for natural medicine. Some references suggest that its scientific name Arctium lappa derives from the Greek “arctos” (bear) and “lambanô” (I drink), in allusion to its furry appearance.

Its use currently has scientific support: studies prove its antiseptic properties. Its powers against insect and spider bites were also well known for its property to soothe pain (anesthetic action) and prevent local swelling (anti-inflammatory action).

In Brazil, especially in the Southeast and the South, due to the influence of Japanese immigrants, burdock is also used in cooking and can be found in some open markets, although it has not yet been widely used.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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