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Herb Spotlight - Burdock Root

Herb Spotlight - Motherwort - Sun God Medicinals

Burdock Root (Articum lappa)  

Family: Asteraceae

Part Used: Root, Seed, Leaves

Flavor/Aroma: Bitter, Sweet

Energetics: Cooling; Moistening


Herbal Actions: 

Anti inflammatory, Hepatoprotective, Carminative, Nutritive, Alterative, Diuretic, Gastroprotective, Mucosal Tonic, Cholagogue

Overview:

Burdock best known for its ability to gently aid in digestion, supplying a nutrient dense source of vitamins and minerals, and for supporting the body's inflammatory response. It has been used in traditional remedies and as a wild food by ancient and modern civilizations alike. Burdock is a nutritive botanical that is easily adapted into most wellness routines.

Botany:

Burdock grows as a biennial plant that produces pinkish purple flowers in the summer to fall months, and has large, hairy leaves. It is native to Europe and Asia, and is now adapted for the North American and Australian climates.  

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Burdock has been cultivated in places like China, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the United States for medicinal and culinary uses. The root is best harvested in the fall months, after the flowers have bloomed for the season; the seeds can also be harvested in the post flowering stage.

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Burdock is regularly found throughout the United States, as well as here in Southern Oregon. It thrives in the wild along riverbanks although stands of Burdock can be found in a variety of land types, such as rocky soiled lots and in open fields.

History and Folklore:

Traditional Chinese Medicine Uses: Burdock has been used for those with excess circulating heat- or Yang, and was used to support inflammatory skin conditions, especially those associated with the lungs or stomach. It has been used to cool the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal tract and to support digestive functions. A decoction of the seeds was used as a strong diuretic.² 

American Indian Uses: Burdock was used by the Malecite, Micman, Ojibwa, and Menominee topically and internally for skin health; Iriquois would dry the root to store and eat during the winter months.

Other Historical Uses: Burdock has been used to treat bouts of scurvy by providing high levels of nutrients. It was also dried and worn as an amulet to protect against negative energy and spirits.4

Modern Applications:

Burdock root is indicated for those with inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and acute or chronic irritations, by increasing the blood circulation to the integumentary cells. It is also indicated as being a supportive blood-purifier, for systemic pain relief ³, and for gently promoting the production and flow of bile.¹  

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

Brew 2 grams of dried root in 8 oz of water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 

Tincture: 

Take 2-4 mL up to three times per day.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Dosage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended dosages are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the dosage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.  

Precautions:

Burdock root is safe for tonic use, and does not have any known health precautions associated with its tonic use. We still recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications.

References:

  1. Burdock. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/commissione/Monographs/Monograph0040.html 
  2. Bensky, D., Gamble, A., & Kaptchuck, T. J. (1993). Chinese herbal medicine: materia medica.
  3. Moore, M. (2003). Medicinal plants of the Mountain West (No. Ed. 2). Museum of New Mexico Press.
  4. Cunningham, S. Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications; 2000.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.