Burdock (Arctium Lappa) can grow up to nine feet tall, but most generally is around the 3-5 foot stage in North America. Seeds are disbursed via the oval seed pods with tiny burrs on them. You frequently find them attached to your clothes and socks after a walk through a field or a forest.
Also known as:
Bur or Burr Buttons
Grass or Great Burdock
All parts are very useful and very healing as confirmed through laboratory studies. The roots are particularly useful in treatment of acne, psoriasis, and eczema in salves. Tinctures are known to be antifungal, antibacterial, and bacteriostatic (meaning that it inhibits the growth of new bacteria).
Used as a blood purifier, it can assist with liver detoxification efforts, it is one of the ingredients in Essiac Tea, which is known to many herbalists as a treatment for many different types of cancers. It activates the pancreas, which in turn will help keep blood sugar levels lowered, detoxifies the pancreatic cells (the pancreas is a huge filter for the body).
As a gut stimulating agent, it helps bolster a weak digestive system. It will help alleviate flatulence, and indigestion as well as act as a bacteriocidal agent in the gut in the event of gastro-intestinal infections.
Burdock has a mild diuretic action, therefore it will help the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract eliminate harmful bacteria or other toxins.
It can also be used as a tea to help alleviate fever, sore throat, coughing, a common cold, laryngitis, pharyngitis.
It has antiviral properties and has been used as a tea in alleviating the length and severity of chicken pox and measles. With it’s antifungal properties, it can be used to treat ringworm and athlete’s feet, or skin surface candida albicans.
As a tea or used in salves, it can be used to help alleviate the symptoms of gout, rheumatism and arthritic discomfort.
Seeds are high in essential fatty acids, Vitamins B2 and A.
Recommendations for use will vary from one herbalist to another, but per Herbs2000.com and several of my books, about 2-4 ml of burdock tincture in a non-carbohydrate drink once a day, or using it in capsule form, 1-2 grams, 3 times per day is sufficient.
For use with urinary issues such as a urinary tract infection, kidney or bladder infection, or to help minimalize the incidence and severity of kidney stones, use a burdock tincture in conjunction with tinctures from cleavers, virgin corn silk, yellow dock, red clover, or catnip in teas.
While the healing effects of burdock are well known, and few side effects are known, it is in the best interest of women who are pregnant, not to use herbal concoctions or tinctures without the advice and consent of their obstetrician. Burdock can stimulate uterine cramping and should not be used by pregnant women.
PARTS OF THE PLANT AND THEIR USES:
As a decoction in salves and ointments for use on skin conditions. As a tincture, in teas. Especially good when combined with other herbs as listed above. As a poultice, crushed or shredded, and applied directly to skin conditions, including ulcerated areas. As a wash, macerated, boiled, strained and cooled liquids applied to acne, eczema, psoriasis or other skin disorders.
As an infusion, in water leaves allowed to simmer in boiling hot water for 20 minutes, cooled and sweetened with honey to taste to aid in treatment of digestive, liver or kidney disorders. As a poultice directly on skin disorders. As an infusion in oil, to apply directly to varicose veins.
As a decoction, used in teas to alleviate fever, apply as a wash to skin conditions, as a cough and cold remedy and as a detoxifier.
Keep in mind when using burdock internally that it acts as a mild to moderate
laxative and diuretic and that it lowers blood sugar.
Leaves – harvest before flowering – used for stomach upset, improve digestion,
mild laxative, diuretic
Seeds – harvest when ripe in late summer to early fall – used for inflammation,
fever, mild antibacterial, diuretic, lowers blood sugar
Roots – harvest in late fall – used for cancer treatment (Essiac Ojibwa Tea),
cleansing and detox, moderate laxative, mild antibacterial, treat arthritis,
diuretic, topically for wounds, eczema and infection