Burdock Root Tea Benefits and Side Effects

Learn How to Make Burdock Root Tea at Home

Burdock tea
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Burdock root tea—also called burdock tea—is an herbal tea made from the root of the burdock plant. Some herbal medicine specialists believe that the drink can help regulate blood pressure, relieve stomach problems, control diabetes, balance hormones, and provide other medical advantages. But not all burdock root tea benefits are supported by strong scientific evidence.

What Is Burdock Root Tea?

If you're a hiker, you've probably encountered burdock on an adventure in the deep forest. The burdock plant is known for its bur—a round ball of seed material covered in hooks or teeth that gets stuck to your clothes and shoes as you pass by. Some say that the idea for Velcro came from the bur of the burdock plant.

Burdock plants are common in Europe and Asia, but can also be grown in the United States. Most consider burdock to be a weed rather than a plant. It is part of the sunflower family, closely related to the daisy.

While some people consume burdock root as a raw vegetable, others include it in stews, soups, or other recipes. Burdock root comes in oil and extract form, as a powder, and you can also drink burdock root tea. Burdock root tea has an earthy, sweet flavor and can be enjoyed either hot or cold.

Burdock is one of the ingredients in Essiac tea, an herbal concoction that is widely rumored to have health benefits.

How to Make Burdock Root Tea

Burdock root tea bags can be purchased in many grocery stores, health markets and online. To prepare the tea, simply follow instructions on the package.

You can also make burdock tea with loose dried roots that can be purchased in stores and online.

To make burdock root tea at home, follow these instructions:

  • Place about one teaspoon of dried burdock root in a teacup. For a stronger tea, add more
  • Add approximately 200 milliliters (about seven ounces) of hot spring or filtered water
  • Let steep for one minute or longer depending on how strong you like your tea. Some steep burdock root tea for up to 20 minutes
  • Remove the loose root pieces and enjoy

If you make iced burdock tea at home, add two teaspoons of dried root to cold water. Refrigerate for at least ten minutes or for as long as desired.

Does Burdock Root Tea Contain Caffeine?

Burdock tea is not a "tea" in the traditional sense and is not made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, like black tea or green tea. It is brewed just parts of the burdock plant, which does not contain any caffeine. Therefore burdock tea is completely caffeine-free.

Burdock Root Tea Health Benefits

Different parts of the burdock plant have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Those who practice herbal medicine in the west also use burdock roots, burdock flowers, and other plant parts for a variety of medicinal and cosmetic uses.

Some believe that the herb can treat cancer, treat skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, treat HIV/AIDS, treat infections, and promote urination. However, according to Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, human studies have not been able to confirm these burdock root benefits.

One small study found that cream containing burdock root extract helped reduce the appearance of skin wrinkles, but more evidence is needed to confirm this effect. Also, there is no evidence that drinking tea would provide these benefits.

Another study conducted on mice showed that burdock root may be helpful in treating people with diabetes. But further evidence is needed to confirm this benefit in humans.

Burdock Root Tea Side Effects

According to advice provided by the Therapeutic Research Center Herbal Medicine database, burdock is likely safe when consumed in amounts commonly found in foods. The source adds, however, that there is not enough information to know if burdock is safe when taken in medicinal doses.

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