Herbs - Burdock


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Disclaimer: This data is meant for informational purposes only and is not meant to prescribe or treat specific problems. As with any herb or medication, please consult your Doctor of Naturopath or your Medical Doctor before trying anything new.

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"Arctium lappa"

The part of the Burdock Herb that is used for medicinal purposes are the Leaves as a tonic; the Root; and the Seeds. The Root has Alterative, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, & Demulcent properties. The Seeds have Alterative properties.

The blood, kidneys, and liver are the parts of the body that are usually affected by the use of Burdock.

The herb is usually prepared in the form of an infusion of the leaves, a decoction of the root and the seeds, a tincture, a Fluid Extract, and a Powder (put into capsules).

Burdock root is a great blood purifier for those with Arthritis, chronic infection, & skin diseases. This herb has an abundance of iron and insulin which makes it of special value to the blood. Its volatile oil makes it a good diaphoretic, and helps clear excess uric acid in the kidneys by increasing the flow of urine. This makes this herb an excellent choice for someone suffering from gout. The leaves can be made into an infusion to use as a stomach tonic and for indigestion. Burdock is good for skin problems as well.

This herb is sometimes known as Beggars Buttons and grows wild here on the farm and throughout the states. Usually it is found growing well in well drained soil, woodlands, and partly shady areas. The flowering period is from July until September.

Burdock is a member of the "Compositae" Family.

Burdock is a tall branching biennial with large arrow-shaped leaves and purple flowers inside bracts with tips that are hooked. (Very sticky to clothing!).

Some people mistake Burdock for rhubarb because of the large similar leaves, but there is no mistaking it when the burs form. Also, the stems close to the ground are not red as they are in rhubarb.

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Harvesting Burdock Root

Depending on where your Burdock is growing depends on how difficult the roots will be to harvest. If being harvested from the wild, you may need a post hole digger, or a slender small spade shovel. Burdocks roots can sometimes grow over 12 inches long. Dig a hole straight down and to one side of the root. Gradually remove soil on the side of the hole toward the root. Then simply pull the root sideways into the hole. Digging it this way will damage the root less than the common way of digging down all the root and then yanking it up. This is especially true when the roots are buried more than one shovel length deep.

So, now you have dug up the burdock plant, roots and all. Cut the tops off and throw the tops in your compost pile. Now, carefully brush dirt off the root and wash. Chop them into pieces 1 inch thick or less with a small knife or hatchet.

Dry these herbs in a food dehydrator or air dry until dried. Store in a tight sealing glass jar out of direct sunlight.

Also, just a note harvesting the burdock leaves. The leaves are usually collected from first year plants when used in fresh salads. Also, fresh leaves of the plant is used for making poultices.

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Burdock Root Soup Recipe

In the cuisine of both Japan and China, burdock root is enjoyed not only for its taste but also for its strengthening and nutritive qualities. The fresh root is skinned and sliced into thin rounds and added to soups, vegetables, stir-fries, and meat dishes. Rich tasting miso broth, fortified with sea and land vegetables, including burdock, is a classic

Japanese soup.

To make this soup:

Saute peeled, sliced burdock root in a little vegetable oil for about 5 minutes. Add sliced onions (and other veggies such as carrots and bok choy, if desired). Add about 1 cup of rehydrated hiziki or other seaweed to the veggies, then add 1 1/2 cups of water for every serving of soup you desire. Simmer and cook uncovered until all is fork tender. Combine 2 tablespoons of the soup liquid for each serving in a bowl. Serve hot. This is said to be a very healthy soup because of the nutritional benefits of burdock and seaweeds.

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Burdock Blood Purifying Tea Recipe

1 Tablespoon Burdock root, ground just before using
1 Tablespoon Red Clover
1 Tablespoon Echinacea Angustifolia
1 Tablespoon Nettles
1 Tablespoon Peppermint
1 Tablespoon Fo-Ti Root, ground just before using (or powder)

Mix all together and use 1 Tablespoon per cup of freshly boiled water. Steep 10 minutes, strain and drink.

Drink one to two cups daily for 7 days, then go off for 3 to 4 days before restarting.

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Burdock Root Skin Wash

1 Cup of Burdock Root
1 Quart of fresh water

Boil the burdock root in the water for approximately 7 to 10 minutes. Strain. Allow the tea to cool down. When just warm, use this to bathe wounds, scratches, and other skin problems.

Note: If you are treating skin problems such as eczema, etc., it good to use burdock both internally and externally. Using the above tea and the skin wash recipe above would be a good start.

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Disclaimer: All the information furnished here is meant strictly for informational purposes, not as specific treatments. Check with your Doctor of Naturopathy or Homeopathy before attempting to try remedies new or unfamiliar to you.

Cautions: None I could find.

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Marcia Wilson
Journeywoman Herbalist
The Allways Natural Herb Farm

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