Burdock (Arctium lappa)


Burdock has historically been used to treat a wide variety of ailments, including arthritis, diabetes, hair loss, inflammation, and wrinkles. It is a main herbal ingredient in the popular cancer remedies Essiac® (also containing rhubarb, sorrel, and slippery elm) and Hoxsey formula (also containing red clover, poke, prickly ash, bloodroot, and barberry).
Burdock fruit has been found to lower blood sugar in animals, and early human studies have examined burdock root for diabetes. Nonhuman studies have explored the use of burdock for bacterial infections, cancer, HIV, and kidney stones. There is currently not enough evidence to support burdock for effectively treating any disease.

Related Terms

Akujitsu, anthraxivore, arctigenin, arctii, arctiin, arctiol, Arctium lappa Linné, Arctium minus, Arctium tomentosa, Arctium tomentosum Mill., Asteraceae (family), balm, bardana, Bardanae radix, bardane, bardane grande (French), beggar's buttons, burdock root, burr, burr seed, carbohydrate inulin, chin, clot-burr, clotbur, cockle button, cocklebur, cocklebuttons, Compositae (family), cuckold, daiki kishi, daucosterol, edible burdock, fatty oils, fox's clote, fukinanolide, fukinone, grass burdock, great bur, great burdock, great burdocks, gobo (Japan), grosse Klette (German), happy major, hardock, hare burr, hurrburr, Kletterwurzel (German), lampazo (Spanish), lappaol, lappola, lignin, love leaves, neoarctin, niu bang zi, oil of lappa, mataresinol, personata, petastilone, Philanthropium, polyacetylonenes, polysaccharides/mucilages (xyloglucan), sequisterpene lactones, sterols, sulfur-containing polyacetylenes, tannins, thorny burr, turkey burrseed, volatile oils, wild gobo, woo-bang-ja.
Combination product example: Essiac® (Resperin Canada Limited, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), a blend of at least four herbs (burdock root [Arctium lappa], Indian rhubarb [Rheum palmatum], sheep sorrel [Rumex acetosella], and the inner bark of slippery elm [Ulmus fulva or U. rubra]).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Diabetes (Grade: C)
Research suggests possible blood sugar-lowering effects of burdock root or fruit. Additional well-designed studies are needed in this area.
Quality of life (breast cancer) (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that burdock may have anticancer effects. Burdock is an ingredient in the popular purported cancer remedy Essiac®. More research is needed in this area.