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What Is the Herb Burbur Used for in Detox?

author image Jayne Yenko
Jayne Yenko started writing professionally in 1988. Her articles have appeared in the "Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune," the "Wisconsin State Extension" and at Westwood College Online. She holds a Master of Arts degree in education with an emphasis in home economics from the University of Iowa.
What Is the Herb Burbur Used for in Detox?
Herbal Remedies Photo Credit: ChamilleWhite/iStock/Getty Images

Burbur is an extract produced by the company NutraMedix from the leaves of the plant Desmodium molliculum. One of its common names is manayupa. Desmodium molliculum is a perennial herb from Peru and other parts of South America, although it has been naturalized in Africa. It is believed to have purifying properties for humans and is gaining use in the United States, particularly with Lyme disease patients and as a detoxifying agent. As with any new treatments, consult your doctor before beginning to use Burbur.

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Desmodium molliculum has many common names: manayupa, beggar lice, hard man, hard stick and strong back, as well as others in other languages. The herb can grow up to 3 feet in length and about 20 inches above the ground. The leaves are three-foliated and the flowers are purple, small, and arranged in clusters. It produces a fruit, and the seeds are bean-shaped. There are several related species that are supposed to have similar properties.


Desmodium molliculum is native to the Peruvian Andes and is found throughout South and Central America as well as Africa and Asia. As with many plants used in native medicine, alternative medicine has developed Desmodium molliculum as a product for sale in the United States and Europe. Not much is known about the plant, and descriptions of the plant and its properties can vary.


NutraMedix uses a special process to extract Desmodium molliculum from the plant’s leaves, which is supposed to make Burbur more effective. According to registered nurse Jean Reist, the Herxheimer reaction or “herxing” happens when the bacteria causing Lyme disease die off. Taking Burbur at the start of a Herxheimer reaction can help keep lymph flowing, so the toxins caused by the dying bacteria are eliminated from the body.


The herb has many uses in native medicine. It can be used for the treatment of gastritis, kidney stones, malaria, allergies, asthma, inflammation, parasites, tumors, viruses and as a blood purifier and sedative. In the United States, Desmodium molliculum is used as an energizing drink, sold over the counter. It is also being used as detoxifying agent, although there is no evidence that the herb actually works for this use.


Some studies have been done on Desmodium molliculum, and several active compounds have been isolated. But there are no clinical results indicating toxicity, or that it works at all. There are no indications of contraindications with other medications, and side effects are unknown. Some Lyme disease patients taking Burbur do react to it, others do not and the reason remains unknown. Studies are currently being done by the Centre for Scientific Research in Plant Medicine in Ghana.

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