Burdock Arctium lappa, A. minus
Parts used: Roots, leaves, and seeds
Actions (definitions here)
Antidote, antiphlogistic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, anti-tumor, aperient, bitter, bactericide, blood purifier, carminative, cholagogue, demulcent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, hepatic, laxative, stomachic, tonic
Cooling, sweet, bitter
Root/Leaf: bitter glycosides, tannins, volatile oil, resin, mucilage, inulin, alkaloids, antibiotic, polyacetylenes
Seed: Fatty acids, vitamins A and B2
Burdock root is known to work on the liver and kidneys as a blood purifier and to clear toxins from the body. It can be used as a lymphatic decongestant. Its effects on the kidneys may help reduce swelling around the joints. It also cleanses the bladder by increasing urine.
It is used to treat skin problems such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis by normalizing sebaceous glands and helping return dry skin to normal oil levels.
The leaves stimulate appetite and digestion and can also be used externally for sores, insect bites, and even as a poultice applied to skin cancer.
Seeds can be used during times of fever or sore throats, coughs, and rashes.
Burdock is a good source of nutrients such as iron and helps the pituitary gland release proteins that stabilize hormones, which is often why it is used during pregnancy. If pregnant, discuss with your doctor before use.
Safety and Precautions
Burdock may lower blood sugar. If taken in combination with insulin and other blood sugar lowering drugs, may cause levels to drop dangerously low. Consult with your healthcare provider before use if you are taking any medications or suffer from hypoglycemia.
How to Use
Root decoction: Drink 1 cup up to 3 times daily of an infusion of 1 tsp root per cup boiling water to treat skin disorders, or use as a skin wash.
Infusion: Drink 1 cup of water that has been infused with 1 tsp dried leaves before meals to stimulate digestion.
Seed decoction: Drink 1 cup water infused with 1 tsp seeds up to 3 times daily to treat fevers, colds, and coughs with sore throats.
Tincture: Take 1-2 tsp or 10-25 drops root tincture 3 times daily to help detox the body, lymphatic system, or help with arthritic conditions. Use for several weeks, re-access conditions, and proceed as necessary.
Poultice: Use a poultice made from roots on skin sores.
Growing and Harvesting
Burdock is often considered a pesky weed that grows well in deep, loose, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade. Tends to become established quickly.
Harvest roots in late summer or early fall in its first year of growth or before flowering the second year. Tap root tends to go down up to 3 feet; slice them in half for faster drying.
Leaves can be harvested throughout the summer, and seeds in autumn when ripe.