By Tom Cowan, M.D.
First, I must confess that none of the burdock root in our Burdock Root Powder is from our garden in Napa. (It comes from a small, Northern California organic farm.) For those of you who are gardeners, you are probably smiling to yourself, knowing full well why I decided not to convert the beautiful Napa garden into a burdock field. Burdock is nothing if not tenacious. Once this perennial plant establishes, you will never get rid of it. Yet, and this is a huge “yet” for us, burdock root is one of the most therapeutic foods that we know.
Used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, traditional European medicine and then enthusiastically adopted in North American herbal
traditions, burdock root shows up in most herbal formulas for cancer treatment. A quick search on Medline, the clearing house of medical studies run by the NIH, gives ample evidence that burdock root is effective for preventing cancer cells from spreading; treating such skin conditions as eczema, seborrhea and psoriasis; lowering blood sugar; reducing blood pressure; protecting the liver from injury due to toxic chemicals such as acetomeniphen; reducing inflammation and encouraging healthy microbial growth in the gut. The stated rationale for its use in traditional herbal formulas is usually related to its ability to “cleanse” the blood, an ill-defined term that probably refers to its liver-stimulating properties.
What is in this earth-colored root that gives it such healing powers? Although the answer is probably both complex and not solely tied to biochemistry, one substance provides a possible answer. Burdock root is extraordinarily high in a family of substances called chlorogenic acids, which, as the name implies, have a stimulatory effect on the flow of the bile out of the gall bladder. The best way to picture detoxification is that the liver bags our garbage and the bile takes it out to the curb. The last thing anyone wants is to have bagged or unbagged garbage that accumulates in our house (body). The Chinese say the burdock drains the swamp. EVERY disease needs to have the swamp drained, every person needs to take ALL their garbage out to the curb. This is the wisdom behind every traditional detox formula.
Detoxification is that fundamental in the treatment of any illness and the restoration of health.
Our Burdock Root Powder is unique in that it can be used as a kind of food-medicine. It is the only way I know to get a daily dose of this unique substance. Use it like our other root powders, sprinkled on eggs and other dishes, or, my favorite, which is a teaspoon added to my daily bowl of bone broth simmered with chopped vegetables.
Bone broth, vegetables, ghee or coconut oil, Burdock Powder and sauerkraut might not sound that exciting, but it’s an incredibly satisfying and easy bowl of soup, sure to keep your own house clean and shiny for years to come.