Burdock root is used by many cultures (eg. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indians, Hawaiians) both as a food and as a medicine.
Burdock root contains phytochemicals, known as polyacetylenes, which have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
The root also contains hyaluronic acid, which promotes eye and joint health.
Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic practitioners often use burdock to deal with fever and congestion brought about by flu.
According to Ayurvedics, burdock root is an excellent blood cleanser and detoxifier. This is probably because burdock helps break up fatty deposits in the blood stream, protecting one against arteriosclerosis. This herb-food also helps remove toxins from the blood, liver, kidneys, gallbladder and lymphatic system. In fact, some studies have found that animals who consumed burdock were protected from the effects of poisonous chemicals fed to them.
Burdock root can potentially be used in the treatment of cancer. For example, it is found that a compound found in burdock, known as arctigenin, slows down tumor growth. Cancer research on burdock is still on going.
 Collins, Elise Marie. An A-Z Guide to Healing Foods: A Shopper’s Companion. San Francisco, California: Conari Press, 2009. Print.
Cindy L. TJOL is trained in Psychology, Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has several years of experience writing on natural health on the internet. Follow her on her blog and read her other articles at Insights On Health.com.