Burdock, a short biennial plant and native to Northern Europe and Siberia, is popular as gobo in Japan. However, burdock plant is easy growing hard plant that grows wild almost everywhere in the world. It is part of the family Asteraceae, of the genus of Arctium. It can grow a meter in height, with broad heart shaped leaves. In summer, one can see reddish purple flowers that will turn into seed-heads. The deep taproots are brown with white flesh and shaped like carrots. Only two species are cultivated for their herbal parts. The flavor of the burdock root resembles the one of parsnips and artichokes. The important thing is that almost every part of the plant is used for culinary and medicinal purpose.
Health Benefits of Burdock Root
From ancient times, burdock root has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine, especially the seeds that are known under the name niubangzi. Herbalists used burdock root because dried burdock has diuretic, and blood purifying properties. In a word, burdock is a traditional medicinal herb. The seeds were used to treat arthritis, throat pains, and the common cold. The root was a remedy for rheumatism, gout, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. It was also a popular remedy for snake bites.
• Burdock roots, dried seeds, peeled stalks, and young shoots have antioxidant properties
• Burdock root is very low in calories (72 calories per 100 grams)
• Burdock is a good source of non-starch polysaccharides (inulin, glucoside-lappin, mucilage)
• Inulin acts as prebiotic
• Inlulin helps with reducing the blood sugar level, cholesterol and weight
• All polysaccharides act as a laxative
• Burdock root is a great source of potassium (308 mg or 6.5% of daily-required levels per 100 g root)
• Burdock root is low in sodium level
• The root contains small amounts of riboflavin, niacin, vitamin E and vitamin C
• The plant contains minerals such as manganese, magnesium and iron
• Small amounts of zinc, calcium, selenium and phosphorus are also found in burdock
• Burdock contains a fair amount of dietary fiber (6 grams per 100 grams)
• Burdock plant improves digestion