Burdock root (Arctium lappa)

Traditional Indications

Burdock is an alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antiphlogistic, aperient, blood purifier, carminative, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, hypoglycaemic and stomachic. Burdock is one of the foremost detoxifying herbs in both Chinese and Western herbal medicine. It is used to treat conditions caused by an 'overload' of toxins, such as throat and other infections, boils, rashes and other skin problems. The root is thought to be particularly good at helping to eliminate heavy metals from the body. The plant is also part of a North American formula called Essiac, which is a popular treatment for cancer. The plant is antibacterial, antifungal, carminative and can be used to treat fungal infection such as candida. (1)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Burdock is known as Niu Bang Zi. The fruits are used. Niu Bang Zi is said to be pungent, bitter and cold and enters the Stomach and Lung channels. Niu Bang Zi is said to expel Wind-Heat and benefits throat and is indicated for fever, cough, sore-red-swollen throat, clears heat and relieve Toxicity and is indicated for red swellings, carbuncles, mumps and rashes, and moisten the intestines and treat constipation due to Wind-Heat. (2)

Pharmacognosy

Arctium lappa has been shown to protect against acetaminophen-induced liver damage in rats. (3)
Extract of burdock root reduced body weight and cholesterol in rats. (4) Three active compounds in burdock root is expected to be useful for body weight management.are α-linolenic acid, methyl α-linolenate, and methyl oleate. (5)

The lignans in burdock including lappaol F, diarctigenin & arctigenin inhibit cytochrome P 450 Phase I Liver enzymes desirable in excess persistent organic pollutant bioaccumulation (toxicity). (6)

Arctium lappa fruit extract improves the clinical signs of aging skin by improving the metabolism of the dermal extracellular matrix. (7)

 

1. PFAF. Arctium lappa 2019 [Available from: https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Arctium+lappa.
2. Healing WRIo. Burdock (Niu Bang Zi) 2019 [Available from: https://www.whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com/herbs/burdock/.
3. El-Kott AF, Bin-Meferij MM. Use of Arctium lappa Extract Against Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats. Current therapeutic research, clinical and experimental. 2015;77:73-8.
4. Hou B, Wang W, Gao H, Cai S, Wang C. Effects of aqueous extract of Arctium lappa L. roots on serum lipid metabolism. The Journal of international medical research. 2018;46(1):158-67.
5. Kuo DH, Hung MC, Hung CM, Liu LM, Chen FA, Shieh PC, et al. Body weight management effect of burdock (Arctium lappa L.) root is associated with the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase in human HepG2 cells. Food chemistry. 2012;134(3):1320-6.
6. Mohamed L Ashour FSY, Haidy A Gad, Michael Wink2. Inhibition of Cytochrome P450 (CYP3A4) Activity by Extracts from 57 Plants Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Pharmacogn Mag. 2016.
7. Knott A, Reuschlein K, Mielke H, Wensorra U, Mummert C, Koop U, et al. Natural Arctium lappa fruit extract improves the clinical signs of aging skin. Journal of cosmetic dermatology. 2008;7(4):281-9.