Benefits Of Burdock (Arctium Lappa) For Health

Benefits Of Burdock (Arctium Lappa) For Health


Burdock (Arctium Lappa)


Burdock (Arctium Lappa) is known as other names: Arctium, Arctium lappa, Arctium minus, Arctium tomentosum, Bardana, Bardana-minor, Bardanae Radix, Bardane, Bardane Comestible, Bardane GĂ©ante, Bardane Majeure, Beggar's Buttons, Burdock Root Extract, Burr Seed, Clotbur, Cocklebur, Cockle Buttons, Grass Burdock, Edible Burdock, Fox's Clote, Gobo, Glouteron, Grande Bardane, Bur, Great Bur, Burdock, Great Burdocks, Burdock Burrs, Happy Major, Hardock, Harebur, Herbe aux Teigneux, Herbe du Teigneux, Lappa, Love Leaves, Niu Bang, Niu Bang Zi, Turkey Burrseed, Orelha-de-gigante, Personata, Philanthropium, Rhubarbe du Diable, Thorny Burr, Lappa.

A stout handsome plant, with large, wavy leaves and round heads of purple flowers. Burdock is enclosed in a globular involucre of long stiff scales with hooked tips, the scales being also often interwoven with a white, cottony substance.

The whole plant is a dull, pale green, the stem about 3 to 4 feet and branched, rising from a biennial root. The burdock lower leaves are very large, on long, solid foot-stalks, furrowed above, frequently more than a foot long heart-shaped and of a grey colour on their under surfaces from the mass of fine down with which they are covered. The burdock upper leaves are much smaller, more egg-shaped in form and not so densely clothed beneath with the grey down.

Benefits Of Burdock (Arctium Lappa) For Health
Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Picture

The burdock flower-heads are found expanded during the latter part of the summer and well into the autumn: all the florets are tubular, the stamens dark purple and the styles whitish. The plant owes its dissemination greatly to the little hooked prickles of its involucre, which adhere to everything with which they come in contact, and by attaching themselves to coats of animals are often carried to a distance.

The dried root of the burdock species of plants is used to make an herbal remedy known simply as the burdock. This remedy is actually made from the dried first year root of the great burdock - botanical name: Arctium lappa L., or from the roots of the common burdock - botanical name: Arctium minus of the plant family Asteraceae found in the temperate regions of the world. The great burdock is not grown widely in the United States and has been naturalized in many parts of the country while it is found to be growing in the wild in continental Europe - to which it is native. The common burdock is the main source of the root for the preparation of the herbal remedy in America. The burdock species from both areas are hardy and coarse biennial herbs, which can grow quite large, they are characterized by bearing many hooked bracts or the sticky burrs which often cling to animal fur and clothing and are dispersed in this way.

Some caution is required whenever purchasing marketed herbal burdock products as the root of belladonna herb, also called the deadly nightshade - botanical name Atropa belladonna L.- is often mixed into the burdock for volume. This mixture may not always be from a nefarious motive as both plants posses very similar looking roots of these plants which can often result in creating a great confusion for the cultivator at the time of often harvest and processing. A failure of quality control in the commercial products is also due to the fact that the countries in East Europe are the places from which most of the commercially used burdock originates - needless to say, the processing and control of herbal products is not as rigorous in these countries as it is in the US. The supposed toxic nature of burdock was identified to be the reason fro atropine poisoning when the very first cases of atropine poisoning from consumption of herbal burdock tea were reported - the burdock has now been vindicated. However, the picture began to clear both in the United States and in Europe as more cases of such toxic effects from burdock were investigated clinically; contamination of the herbal product using the root of the belladonna herb was found to be the main cause of the toxicity in all cases.

Certification of all marketed burdock products is justified due to this potential danger of contamination, and a case can be made for the necessity to make all herbal marketers of the burdock run relevant detecting tests on their products for any atropine contamination before the release of such herbal products into the open market. However, all potential users of the plant who have adequate botanical knowledge are advised to collect the herbs for personal use directly from fields or buy them from the cultivator as burdock products of guaranteed quality and due certification are still not available in the mass market. The presence of any therapeutic activity in the burdock has not been scientifically verified even though the herb has had a traditional and extensive use as a folk remedy, this lack of positive scientific confirmation of the beneficial effects of burdock is very surprising as the herb remains popular with users. Burdock is also used as a culinary herb; the young leaves of the plant are often consumed as salad greens. Some antimicrobial properties may be present in the young roots of the burdock especially when they are fresh; unfortunately, this is countered by the absence of any confirmed medical value in the dried root of burdock which is marketed as a commercial herbal product.


Benefits Of Burdock (Arctium Lappa) For Health
Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Flower Picture

Benefits Of Burdock (Arctium Lappa) For Health


People take burdock to increase urine flow, kill germs, reduce fever, and “purify” their blood. It is also used to treat colds, cancer, anorexia nervosa, gastrointestinal (GI) complaints, joint pain (rheumatism), gout, bladder infections, complications of syphilis, and skin conditions including acne and psoriasis. Burdock is also used for high blood pressure, “hardening of the arteries” (arteriosclerosis), and liver disease. Some people use burdock to increase sex drive.

 Remedies made from the burdock herb are also used in the treatment of disorders such as water retention problems; they are used in the removal of internal stones and gravel and for treating the disorder called cystitis. Perspiration is induced by the burdock when the herb is ingested in the form of a hot decoction, it can be a very effective in this role as a detoxification agent, as it can aid in the rapid removal of toxins through the skin along with the perspired liquids.

The time involved in full recovery from skin infections such as the measles and the chickenpox can be increased and speeded up by taking burdock remedies - this is because the herb can induce skin eruptions sooner than they would normally appear on their own - this leads to faster healing and recovery times.

Benefits Of Burdock (Arctium Lappa) For Health
Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Flower Picture

Elevated blood sugar levels in diabetics can also be lowered effectively by the burdock and thus the herb can be used in the treatment of blood sugar problems in diabetes affected patients. Traditional medications made from the burdock root have been used to regulate the menstrual periods; this remedy is known to stimulate the functioning of the uterus in women. For this reason, this remedy has traditionally been used for the treatment of prolapse in women; it is also used to strengthen the women before and following childbirth when physical strength is low.

The anti-scorbutic properties of the burdock root make the decoction very useful for boils, scurvy and rheumatic affections, and by many it is considered superior to Sarsaparilla, on account of its mucilaginous, demulcent nature; it has in addition been recommended for external use as a wash for ulcers and scaly skin disorders.

An infusion of the leaves is useful to impart strength and tone to the stomach, for some forms of long-standing indigestion. The infusion or decoction of the seeds is employed in dropsical complaints, more especially in cases where there is co-existing derangement of the nervous system, and is considered by many to be a specific for all affections of the kidneys, for which it may with advantage be taken several times a day, before meals.

Where toxicity is a key factor in the onset of the disease, the effective diuretic property, the antibiotic action, as well as the mildly bitter actions of the burdock come into beneficial play and is considered very effective in the treatment of different skin disorders such as the common acne, different types of boils anywhere on the body, in the treatment of abscesses, to treat localized infections of the skin, in the treatment of disorders such as eczema, and in the treatment of psoriasis in individuals affected by the condition.

While the burdock plant is generally used in the making of herbal remedial mixtures with the addition of other beneficial herbs for example the dandelion, in a remedy where the other herb is added to balance the strong individual cleansing action of the burdock.

Burdock is useful in cases of hormone imbalance that are not attributable to uterine fibroids, cancer, or other diseases. Many conditions, such as premenstrual syndrome, fibroids, and endometriosis, are associated with excess estrogen levels. Because of its alterative action, and because of the small amount of plant steroids it contains, burdock can help improve the liver's ability to metabolize hormones such as estrogen and thereby improve symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance.

Benefits Of Burdock (Arctium Lappa) For Health
Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Picture

Burdock (Arctium Lappa) Side effects and cautions


Side effects though rare are not unknown, and as far as the use of the burdock root remedies in the dosages stated are concerned - they will pose no problems or side effects.

At the same time, caution is advised on the use of the burdock by women during pregnancy as taking very large quantities of the burdock root can actively stimulate the uterus and create a multitude of problems for the woman concerned.

Burdock may cause an allergic reaction in people sensitive to certain flowers and herbs. When applied to the skin, it can cause a rash.

Burdock might slow blood clotting. Taking burdock might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Burdock may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking burdock.