Burdock Root for Detoxification in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda

Burdock Root Detox Drink is a decongesting, heat clearing, detoxifying beverage that clears toxic heat and dampness, called Pitta and Ama in Ayurveda. While cleansing toxins from the body, it also protects Agni digestive fire.

Burdock Root Detox Drink for Acne, Eczema and Skin Disorders

Burdock Root Detox Drink is an excellent all-purpose seasonal cleanse, safe for anyone, easy-to-digest, and is especially useful for treating acne, eczema, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis, hives, poison oak and ivy. In the case of dermatological disorders such as these, its good to drink as much as a quart a day. For general cleansing and to aid in weight loss, have a large cup in the morning on rising, and a cup between lunch and dinner.

Gentle Cleansing versus Radical Purging

Radical herbal and food cleanses damage Agni/Digestive Fire with the injudicious use of cold purgative medicinals and hard to digest rough foods. They are an over reaction to another mistake, the standard industrialized denatured diet. The purging method treats the gut as if it were a sewer, when its actually the soil in a garden.

In Chinese Medicine the way to clean the body is with a preponderance of lightly cooked vegetables, the appropriate usage of herbs and spices that stimulate healthy digestive fire, and the avoidance of over-eating and drugs. The Burdock Root Detox Drink falls into the category of lightly cooked vegetables extracted like a broth for maximum mineral content and ease of digestion.

Healthy Digestion in Classical Chinese Medicine

Digestion is a warm process involving the transformation of gross material into essence; this process is based on a healthy mental attitude towards food and self-nourishment, as well as healthy digestive fire. Using purgative herbs and colonics is treating your gut as if it were a sewer; in fact the gut is like a pot of soup cooking on a stove; to make the soup cook most efficiently is to have the correct ratio of flame, hot water, and food stuffs– lower the flame too far and it takes forever to cook; add cold water and the cooking slows down, put too much in the pot and it can’t get adequately hot.

Unhealthy Approaches to Eating from the Ayurvedic Perspective

The best way to nourish the body is to eat a diet high in a variety of fresh, locally grown, organic vegetable, with a little bit of lots of other things that are equally fresh and full of life-force (Qi).

But we also have to have a healthy mental attitude, which means being able to relax around food and eating.

Otherwise mental toxins “Ama” will interfere with the digestion process leading to bloating, heartburn, gas, indigestion. You see this with rushed eating and eating while under external work pressures. Much more commonly you see it from internally generated pressure, as Ayurveda would put it–the impatient perfectionist pressure of the Pitta, the natural nervous anxiety of the Vata, the sloth and avoidance of the Kapha.

And, when Vata style fear  combines with Pitta type intensity, that is a recipe for health obsessed diets in which the person never really relaxes around food, especially when real emotional issues are avoided by being projected onto food obsession.

Food is a Gift from Mother Nature

Meal time should be relaxed and relaxing. Food is a gift from nature that should be spiritually nourishing as well as physically. It is and should be pleasurable, even sensual. It can be healthy, too. There is a time for a more monastic approach to diet, such as with an Ayurvedic mono-diet cleanse, but cleansing should be done in a way that “respects the local dieties.”

Here the local “diety” is Agni, your digestive fire, which is harmed by an excess of the kinds of Bitter Cold herbs that are used in cleanses, and that is harmed by an excess of raw food out of season, as well as by too much heavy foods like meat and cheese.

Here is a very sensible balanced cleanse that purifies the kidneys, liver, gall bladder, and blood safely without damaging Agni.

Burdock Root Detox Drink



1 gallon water
1 large bunch parsley
1-2 cups burdock root
1 cup celery
1 cup carrot
5-6 slices ginger root–do not use in cases of hives or eczema


Optional Additions

1 large piece Kombu sea vegetable
1 cup daikon radish —do not use if treating hives, eczema, or psoriasis, ok for acne
1/2 cup dried Shitake mushroom –excellent for weight loss



Bring contents to a boil.

Simmer for 45 minutes or more. The goal here is to extract the essence of the veggies, so yes, you are overcooking them in the service of broth.

Allow to cool. Strain.

Store in the refrigerator. Keep some out so you can drink it at room temperature.


For General Seasonal Cleansing and Weight Loss

Drink 1 cup of the above broth first thing in the morning .

Drink a second cup in mid afternoon.

Follow this for 1-3 months.


As Diet Therapy for Dermatological Disorders like Acne, Eczema, Dermatitis, Psoriasis , and Hives

Drink as much as a quart a day, room temp or a little cool. May also drink hot.

For pretty good all purpose intro to Burdock Root, including methods of cooking in Japanese culture, see this Wiki Article


copyright eyton shalom, san diego, ca september 2010
Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego


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