Burdock is a large weed with heart-shaped leaves and purple flowers. Ancient civilizations used burdock to treat a wide variety of ailments. It was the dark roots that were used, not the leaves or flowers. Burdock is primarily used for its diuretic properties that increase urination, purifying the blood and helping to eliminate toxins. It can be very helpful in treating urinary tract problems. It acts as a natural antibacterial and antimicrobial, appearing to be useful in killing large colonies of bacteria.
When you do not drink enough water, urine becomes concentrated and stays longer in your kidneys, allowing bacteria to multiply. Frequent urination can help to prevent this which is why a diuretic herb like burdock is helpful in treating urinary infections. Burdock seeds are believed to help prevent the formation of kidney stones and to break down stones that are already present. The small fragments are easier and less painful to pass.
Burdock is available in different forms such as tinctures, teas, dried root powders, fluid extracts, and supplements. A decoction can be made by boiling the herb in water for 15 to 20 minutes. Some studies suggest that burdock in fermented form works best so consider choosing a fermented tincture. Some teas also contain fermented burdock. As research still has to be done, no single recommended minimum or maximum recommended dosage exists.
As with all herbs, burdock can be harmful to some people. Children under 18, pregnant women, people with a history of plant allergies and those taking blood thinners, diuretics or diabetic medications should avoid burdock root. Any people with chronic or life-threatening health conditions should consult with a doctor before taking burdock root.