Botanical: Arctium lappa
Family: Compositae (daisy) - Asteraceae (aster)
Other common names: Gobo, Turkey Burrseed, Hurr-Bur, Bardana, Burr Seed, Clotbur, Cocklebur, Hardock, Lappa, Grass Burdock, Hareburr, Beggar's Buttons, Thorny Burr, Cockle Buttons, Love Leaves, Happy Major
Herbalists revere Burdock Root as, perhaps, nature's best "blood purifier" that helps to rid the body of deleterious toxins and clear congestion from the circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory and urinary systems. It is said to soothe the aches and pains of arthritis and swollen joints, increase urine production, alleviate excess water weight and help to keep the skin clear and healthy. As a matter of fact, it is believed to help keep the entire body clear and healthy!
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Burdock is a stout, handsome, biennial that is native to Asia and Europe, but is now widespread throughout the world (it was introduced to the United States by European settlers). The plant is alternately despised as a weed and cherished as a healing herb. Burdock may be found along fences, walls, roadsides, in waste places and also around populated areas, and it thrives in moist, neutral-to-alkaline soil in sun or light shade. This relative of the sunflower has a furrowed, pithy stem that bears woolly branches, green, hairy leaves (gray underneath) and reddish-purple flower clusters, growing to a height of five feet. The root is long and fleshy, highly nutritious and is used (along with the seeds and leaves) as an important factor in herbal medicine. The botanical genus, Arctium, is derived from the Greek word, arktos, meaning "bear," a reference to the roughness of the plant's burs. Burdock Root has been used throughout the world by many different cultures for centuries as a nutritious, strengthening food, as well as an important medicinal herb that cleanses the blood and generally improves overall health. The famed seventeenth-century English herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, recommended its use to counter the toxic effects of a "mad dog bite," and in North America, the settlers and Native Americans used it as a food and all-important medicinal herb. The Menominee and Micmac tribes utilized it for skin sores, while the Cherokees used it for a variety of ailments. There are various species of Burdock that are all used similarly in traditional European and Oriental medicines (employed in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for coughs, colds, sore throats, tonsillitis, measles, sores and abscesses); but, perhaps the best-known cultivar is Arctium lappa, or "Gobo," which is the Japanese word for Burdock. Native Hawaiians credit Burdock (known as "Gobo") with an ability to increase strength and endurance, and when faced with an arduous task to perform, they have been known to repeat the popular expression, "I need Gobo." Burdock is a very versatile plant, and because it is so nutritious, it is used in many cuisines. The Japanese and Chinese call it a strengthening food (the root) that is included in stir-fries, vegetable and meat dishes, salads and soups (it is an ingredient is the very popular "miso" broth). Some of the constituents in Burdock include fixed and volatile oils (including a root oil, bur oil), starch, mucilage, a bitter principle, inulin, resin, tannic acid, iron, chromium, copper, manganese, zinc, B-vitamins and vitamin E.
Burdock Root may be nature's best herbal blood purifier and "alterative," which has numerous beneficial effects on the body, helping to alleviate many ailments, and gradually and favorably altering the course of an ailment or condition. As an "alterative," Burdock is considered an agent that stimulates the efficient removal of waste products, and it is said to cleanse and eliminate long-term impurities from the blood very rapidly through its action on both the liver and kidneys. It helps to clear the blood of harmful acids due to calcification deposits, and overburdened blood is a major factor behind arthritis, fevers, infections and skin diseases.
As a diaphoretic and diuretic, Burdock promotes sweating, which helps to release toxins through the skin and also promotes increased urine, further eliminating toxins via the kidneys and bladder. The increased flow of urine relieves both the kidney and lymphatic system and has many beneficial effects. It rids the body of excess water weight, relieves swelling around joints and alleviates edema. This makes it very useful for inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatism, arthritis, gout (by flushing uric acid from the kidneys), scrofula and swellings of the neck and throat.
Burdock Root is thought to help heal a damaged liver and protect it from further damage. It is also thought to promote the flow and release of bile, which not only helps to cleanse the liver, but it also aids the digestive process. The mucilage, "bitter" and inulin contents in Burdock also help to support good digestion, as well as soothe the digestive tract and help many stomach conditions.
Japanese researchers have isolated a substance in Burdock Root, named the "B-factor," that is said to reduce cell mutation. There is also a dietary fiber in Burdock seed, called "arctiin," that may slow or stop the growth of malignant disease in the breast in its early stages and may also have similar benefits against colon and pancreatic malignancies.
In cases of diabetes, recent research has shown Burdock Root's blood-sugar-lowering effects in laboratory animals. The action works by filling the intestines with the fiber, "arctiin," which thus prevents the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. This same action also appears to prevent the absorption of toxic compounds from food (further supporting the herb's use as an effective blood cleanser).
When taken internally, Burdock is said to relieve skin diseases and inflammatory conditions due to chronic toxicity, notably eczema, psoriasis, acne, leprosy, boils and sores. It is also thought to be helpful in other diseases caused by toxicity in the blood, including syphilis and gonorrhea.
When used externally, Burdock continues many of its same beneficial effects on the skin. Used in poultices, it is employed to relieve boils, carbuncles, canker sores, eczema, psoriasis, skin cancers, bug bites, sores, poison oak, poison ivy, swellings, leprosy, burns, wounds and hemorrhoids. In addition, Burdock Root can be added to a poultice to reduce inflammation or relieve the swelling and pain caused by arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago and other backaches. The bur oil in the root is said to help strengthen and beautify hair, stop scalp itching and dandruff and combat hair loss.
Burdock Root contains polyacetylenes that are believed to have antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Japanese herbalists use it to control infection and claim that it kills Streptococcus bacteria and many disease-causing fungi. Moreover, Burdock is thought to kill ringworm.
Burdock Root is said to neutralize and eliminate poisons in the system, and it has been used historically as an antidote for acute poisoning.
Large amounts (many times the recommended dosage) of Burdock Root Herbal Supplement may cause uterine stimulation; therefore, it is always advisable for pregnant women to consult a physician before taking it. Do not take Burdock without talking to your doctor first if you are taking diabetic medicine (examples: insulin, Glucophage(R) metformin, DiaBeta(R) Glynase(R) glyburide). Those who suffer from allergies to members of the daisy (Compositae) family (ragweed, asters, sunflowers, etc.) should consult a doctor before using this product.