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Burdock (Arctium lappa)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

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]).

Background

  • 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.

Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.