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by Raychel Agramon, RN, MPM, May 01, 2020
Burdock root acne, scientifically known as Arctium lappa, is an herb found in Northern Asia and Europe. It is sometimes eaten, but it is mostly used in traditional medicine. Apart from its long, brown-black root, its seed and leaves have been used for medicinal purposes as well.
For centuries, burdock root has long been used to treat several conditions. Lately, it has been lauded for its ability to help control zits and pimples – otherwise known as acne.
Burdock Root as Medicine
As has been mentioned, burdock root has been used as a form of alternative medicine. It may help in the management of several disorders, namely:
How Burdock Root May Help Control Acne
Apart from the above-mentioned conditions, burdock root may help reduce acne as well. Such was determined in a study by Miglani and Manchanda. Although the research had a small sample size, 32 out of 34 participants demonstrated lower numbers of acne lesions after 6 months of use. More than just positively affecting one’s appearance, a better quality of life was reported by burdock root users as well.
As to how Arctium lappa may help reduce zits, researchers attribute them to the following factors:
Acne occurs due to the build-up of sebum and dead skin cells in the pores. Bacteria can end up colonizing these pores, thereby worsening the zit. Apart from the well-known strain that is Propionibacterium acnes, pimples may also be caused by Corynebacterium granulosum and Staphylococcus epidermis.
Burdock root may help fight these bacteria that bring about breakouts. Such capacity was proven in the study of Holetz et al. Of the many plants studied, Arctium lappa stood out with its anti-bacterial properties.
With that being said, the intake/application of Burdock root may help in the management of acne. Not only will this help reduce the severity of zits, but it may also help prevent the onset of pimples.
Inflammatory acne lesions are red, painful bumps seen on the face – and other parts of the body as well. It occurs because of the immune response in and around the pores and oil glands. Such activity may be influenced by sebum (oil) and bacteria, among many other factors.
With that being said, burdock root may help control the rise of inflammatory pimples. That’s because this root can help control systemic inflammation, as seen in the study of Lin et al.
Free radicals, which can be obtained through UV, smoke, or pollution exposure, can wreak havoc on the skin. It may trigger inflammation, which, as mentioned, contributes to the development of acne.
With that being said, free radicals need to be neutralized so they can’t harm the body. Fortunately, burdock root may be able to do just that. After all, it works as a great antioxidant, as per the research of Lou et al. Burdock root antioxidants may help defend the skin cells from free radicals, which are known acne triggers.
When you gain weight, you increase your chances of developing acne. Such can trigger the release of androgens, male hormones that help increase sebum production. The more facial oil there is, the more likely you’ll have zits.
With that being said, maintaining an ideal weight is one of the best ways to prevent acne. Burdock root may help you achieve this goal, at least according to a study by Kuo et al. Results show that Arctium lappa has active compounds that can help promote weight management.
Burdock Root for Better Skin Health
Apart from acne, burdock root may help improve the skin by addressing the following problems:
Premature skin aging is characterized by dry, rough, inelastic skin. This problem, however, may be minimized with the help of Arctium lappa.
According to a study by Horng et al., Burdock root acne can inhibit both elastase and tyrosinase, both of which contribute to skin aging. Elastase reduces elastin – a substance that makes the skin elastic - thereby leading to wrinkles. Tyrosinase, on the other hand, an enzyme responsible for pigment (melanin) production. Such is responsible for sunspots and whatnot.
Wrinkles are creases and lines that can eventually transform into burrows or deep crevices. They are often seen on the face, neck, forearms, hands, and other sun-exposed parts of the body. While it is a normal part of aging, it can occur due to repeated facial expressions, smoking, and pollution exposure.
Apart from skin hydration and sunscreen use, the application of burdock root extract may help reduce wrinkles as well. As has been mentioned in the study by Horng et al., burdock root can inhibit elastin, a substance that makes the skin more elastic. As such, low levels of elastin can lead to wrinkles.
Spots and a darkened complexion – due to sun exposure – are problems amongst many. These may be triggered by tyrosinase, a substance that leads to increased pigmentation. Since the burdock root may help control tyrosinase, it may be used to reduce these pigmentation problems.
How to Take Burdock Root
To date, there is still no formal scientific advice regarding supplementation dosages. However, several studies have shown that a 200 milligram-dose of Burdock root extract is safe to take. The same approval goes with a six-gram serving of burdock root tea.
Concerning the best type to take, scientists recommend consuming a freeze-dried root. After all, the research of Horng et al shows that this type has the most number of antioxidants.
As for topical application, burdock root creams or ointments may be used safely for 4 weeks. Such products should be used cautiously though, as direct application may lead to rashes and allergies.
While burdock root acne is generally safe to take either orally or topically, it comes with some side effects. It can cause low blood sugar, especially in type 2 diabetes patients. As such, it should not be taken with anti-diabetes medications such as Insulin, Glyburide, Glimepiride, and Pioglitazone, to name a few.
Burdock root is a medicinal plant that may be used for a variety of diseases. It may help control acne, as it has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It also has potent ingredients that may help control premature skin aging, wrinkles, and dark spots.
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