Burdock - Arctium lappa

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This Burdock (Arctium lappa) monograph is an excerpt from the first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA. The expanded 3rd edition materia medica, and additional herbal tidbits are also available as a kindle ebook at Amazon and details on this e-book are here.

E-Book Information

Burdock - Arctium lappa in the Asteraceae or Aster family

Part used: Root.

Taste/smell: Sweetish initially, bitter later, slightly mucilaginous.

Tendencies: Cooling, distributes moisture around body.

Dosage: Decoction: 1 heaping tablespoon per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh liquid extract: 20-60 drops 1-4 times per day in a little water.

Mental picture and specific indications: It influences the skin, kidneys, liver, gall bladder, mucous and serous membranes to induce removal of accumulated by-products of catabolism.

Use: (a) Alterative, (b) Antibacterial, (c) Antifungal, (d) Anti-inflammatory, (e) Diuretic, especially the seeds, (f) Digestive stimulant, (g) Promotes blood and lymph circulation, (h) Liver tonic, (i) Choleretic, (j) Antimutagenic, (k) Mild laxative.

Burdock is used for chronic skin eruptions such as acne psoriasis, eczema, boils, carbuncles and sties. It is beneficial for arthritis, sciatica, urinary calculi and gout. By stimulating the natural flow of lymphatic fluid, it supports excretion of toxic by-products from cells. Burdock is commonly used to normalize the female menstrual cycle, during menopause and for mastitis.

Water soluble polysaccharides found in the herb have shown chemotactic activity for granulocytic leukocytes as well as antitumor effects against solid sarcoma tumors in mice. A methanolic extract of fresh root inhibited Ehrlich ascite carcinoma and Yoshima sarcoma in mice.

The seeds contain arctigenin, a fatty oil and the diuretic glycoside, arctiin. The root contains polysaccharides, volatile oils, inulin, mucilage, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, sodium and iron, and vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid.

Contraindications: Burdock root is generally known to be safe. The root is a food sold in many grocery stores. However, long term use of seed, too much per dose, or excessive doses of the seed can cause urinary tract irritation in some people. It is contraindicated in pregnancy due to the oxytocic effect and uterine stimulant action on animal uteri.

If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.

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