burdock

Burdock: is a classic remedy for skin conditions which result in dry, scaly skin and cutaneous eruptions (eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, boils, carbuncles, sties) as well as being helpful in relieving rheumatism and gout...

Common Names: Burdock, beggar's buttons, cockleburr, clothburr

Botanical Name: Arctium lappa

Family: Compostatae

Plant Type: Biennial

Parts Used: Root mainly – The dried root from a first year's growth is normally used, however sometimes the leaves and fruit are used as well.

Burdock is native to Europe and northern Asia, but is now grown in many parts of the world. Related to thistles, this plant will grow just about anywhere, is very hardy and requires little attention for it to flourish in just about any garden; however it is not generally grown due to the tendency of its spiny fruits to stick to clothing.

Description: Burdock grows up to 7 feet tall and has large, arrow-shaped leaves on thick stalks. The root is fat and deep. Mature plants produce spiky purple flowers similar to thistles and seed burrs that stick to clothing or fur.

Harvesting: Learn to positively identify burdock if you are harvesting it in the wild and are not growing it in a garden setting. Burdock is a biennial, and the root becomes woody and unappetizing after the first year. Choose first-year burdock plants with only a rosette of leaves near the ground. Avoid plants with flowers or a flower stalk. First- year burdock root may be harvested in the summer or fall. Dig a hole next to the burdock you wish to harvest. Begin digging a few inches away from the burdock stalk and dig down at least 1 foot. Burdock roots may be 2 or more feet long. Loosen the soil next to the root with your fingers or a hand trowel. Press the shovel into the soil next to the burdock root on the opposite side of the hole you dug. Lean into the shovel to push the burdock root out of the hole. Trim off leaves and feeder roots and rinse well. Do not peel. Store fresh burdock root in the refrigerator for a week or more to use as a food, or slice it thinly and dry it in a dehydrator or low oven to use medicinally.

Culinary Uses: Cooked burdock root is crunchy and has a mild flavor similar to potatoes or artichokes, and it can be used in soups and stir fries. Burdock root is eaten in Japan as a vegetable. They call it gobo. The herb is mixed with dandelion to make a soft drink in the United Kingdom. Burdock root tea has traditionally been used as a detoxifier to treat acne, infections and liver problems.

Burdock Magick

Protection. Healing

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Venus

Element: Water

Add to protection incenses.

Cast around the home to ward off negativity.

Gather burdock roots in the waning Moon; dry, then cut into small pieces. String these pieces on red thread (like beads) and wear for protection from evil and negativity.

Herbal Healing with Burdock

Medicinal Actions: Alterative, antimicrobial, demulcent, diuretic, kidney tonic, stimulant

Medicinal Uses: Burdock is a "deep food" and alterative that moves the body to a state of well-nourished health, promotes the healing of wounds, and removes the indicators of system imbalance such as low energy, ulcers, skin conditions and dandruff. As a diuretic and alterative, it works through the liver and kidneys to protect against the build-up of waste products and is considered to be one of the best tonic correctives of skin disorders. Burdock is a classic remedy for skin conditions which result in dry, scaly skin and cutaneous eruptions (eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, boils, carbuncles, sties) as well as being helpful in relieving rheumatism and gout. As a mild bitter that stimulates digestive juices and bile secretion, it aids appetite and digestion and is well used in anorexia. Externally, it is an exceptional fomentation or poultice to promote the healing of wounds and ulcers, especially when also taken internally on a regular basis.

Burdock Root: (Arctium lappa) blood cleanser, antimicrobial. Used for skin eruptions, dry/scaly skin conditions; digestive stimulant. Lowers blood sugar. Cancer preventative.

Burdock Seed: (Arctium lappa) diuretic, kidney tonic, demulcent. Specific for chronic skin disease.

Internally – Burdock is used in traditional Chinese medicine herbal remedies to soothe sore throats and colds. It is a blood purifier and a diuretic. It is high in iron and other nutrients. It helps cleanse the liver and balance the hormones.

Externally – Burdock can be used topically for eczema, acne and psoriasis. It is used as a rinse to get rid of dandruff and to fight hair loss.

Contraindications:

  • Pregnant women should avoid burdock, as it may cause damage.
  • If you are sensitive to ragweed, daisies or chrysanthemums, you may have a similar reaction to it.
  • The herb is a diuretic, so if you are suffering from dehydration, it would be best to avoid.
  • Do not gather in the wild or buy them from sources you are unsure about since the root closely resembles belladonna and deadly nightshade root.
  • Do not mix with diuretic and diabetic medications due to possible interactions.

Preparation and Dosage:

You can get the roots either fresh or dried. Supplements come in powdered form, decoctions, tinctures and extracts.

For capsules: take 1 to 2 grams three times per day.

For dried root: cover 2 to 6 grams in 2/3 cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink this solution three times per day. This infusion can also be used as a wash or poultice for skin problems like eczema or wounds. Do not use this on an open wound.

For tincture: take 2 to 8 ml three times per day. The tincture may also be applied topically.

For extract: take 2 to 8 ml three times per day.

For tea: steep 2 to 6 grams in 2 cups of water. Drink three times per day.

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INFUSION

Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


DECOCTION

Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


TINCTURE

Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.


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