Burdock Root

Originally published on Steven Waddell’s Blog

Early this week, I was shopping at Whole Foods and I saw that they had some organic burdock root for sale.  Burdock root is usually sold with dirt on it because once the dirt is removed the root wilts fast.   I had known about burdock root from a lot of my research on nutrition, but I have never actually been able to try any.  I have heard phenomenal things about this plant and its usage as a blood cleansing agent.  Burdock is packed with nutrition and tends to act like tofu – it takes on the flavor of whatever it is paired with.

Besides having an impressive array of vitamins and trace minerals, burdock root is also an excellent blood cleanser and has inulin, a prebiotic. Burdock works as a blood cleanser by acting as a diuretic.  Diuretics increase the excretion of sodium in the kidneys and water in the blood.  This helps the body release toxins.

This table is for 100g of this root which is a little less than 1 cup.
This table is for 100g of this root which is a little less than 1 cup.

The topic of inulin and specifically its role as a prebiotic is a hot topic now.  Inulin is a carbohydrate available in most root vegetables that is not able to be broken down by our small intestine, and makes its way to our colon.  In the colon, the Bifidus species of bacteria (good bacteria) are able to use this as rocket fuel to speed their growth.  Unfortunately, candida (a yeast that is responsible for a variety of health woes) is also able to break down this carbohydrate at a rapid pace.

Typically speaking, this growth in the colon happens at a much slower pace.  Normally, we would eat plants containing the structural carbohydrate cellulose.  Cellulose is commonly called fiber (other things can be classified as fiber, but cellulose is the big one) and we are not able to break it down because humans lack the enzyme cellulase.  In the colon certain microorganisms such as the two mentioned above, candida and bifidus bacteria, break the cellulose down at a very slow rate.  The rate is slow enough where we pass the cellulose through our system in our bowel movements.  This whole process is similar to a campfire.  The smaller bits of cellulose (very broken down bits of cellulose) will be turned to ash.  The larger logs (do you chew your food enough?) will just be charged logs.

Inulin acts like throwing gas on a fire.  This will cause whatever microorganisms are dominant in the colon to flare up.  If candida is dominant, you better watch out or you can become very sick.  To counteract this, many probiotic companies attach inulin to their probiotic strands to assure that they get mainly used to feed the good bacteria.  Just taking inulin alone as a supplement can be very hazardous if the balance of your intestinal flora is off.  For now the scientific community is split so I recommend avoiding inulin as a supplement.  In food, the cellulose will slow down the reaction by making the microorganisms work through it first before getting to the fast burning inulin.

Now its time for some recipes!

Blood Cleansing Juice

  • 6 inches of burdock root
  • 1/4inch to 2 inches of ginger root (ginger has a very strong flavor)
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 to 4 green apples (If you are newer to juicing I would suggest more apples)
  • Agave or stevia to taste if you still have a sweet tooth

Cucumber and Burdock Juice

  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 6 to 12 inches of burdock root

Basic Green Burdock Juice

  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 6 to 12 inches of burdock root
  • 1 to 4 apples
  • Stevia or Agave to taste

Sauteed Burdock Italian Style

  • 1 cup of thinly sliced burdock root
  • 1/2 cup of thinly sliced carrots
  • 3 tbl olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  1. Slightly brown garlic in olive oil
  2. Add in burdock and carrots
  3. Reduce down, add water if necessary for about 20mins or to taste.

Steven Waddell

After enduring a near-death experience, Steven has embarked on a journey of physical, emotional and mental recovery. A weight loss of over 100 pounds, a complete overhaul of an isolated social life, a discovery of the holistic world, and the development of a career path that celebrates it all can be found on his blog.

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