Burdock / Bardane

BurdockBurdock / Bardane

Arctium lappa (Asteraceae)  / Burdock is also known as beggar’s buttons, clotburr, cockle buttons, gypsy rhubarb, happy major, hardock, hareburr, love leaves and rhubarb du diable.

Parts used:  The herb consists of the root picked in the fall of its first year as the foliage is dying back.  Burdock can be harvested early in the spring of its second year as the young leaves are beginning to appear but the fall root is preferred.  If the plant has a stalk with flowers and/or burrs it is a second year plant and should not be harvested.

Habitat:  Biennial. This plant is not native to North America but was naturalized within the 1st century after European arrival.  Burdock prefers transition areas and disturbed soils. The plant is very adaptable and can survive if not thrive in a variety of environments. Ideally they prefer a 50/50 mix of sun and shade with a soil that is somewhat moist.

Properties:  Anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-neoplastic, aperient, appetite stimulant, bitter, depurative, diuretic, cholagogue, choleretic, lymphatic, immune stimulant and vulnerary.

Uses:  This herb is mild, but very deep acting with consistent use. It is best combined with other herbs and taken for extended periods of time. It is used for all toxicity related conditions, but especially valuable for chronic skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, and boils. It combines well with dandelion root, yellow dock, cleavers, and red clover for these problems. Also used for rheumatic conditions such as gout, rheumatism and arthritis.  In these conditions plants such as horsetail, Joe Pye root, and dandelion root would be good matches. Japanese research has shown the fresh root extract to contain desmutagens – constituents that act to counter the effect of carcinogens. The first year root is edible – best harvested in late spring or early summer. The burrs were the inspiration for the development of velcro.

Preparation/Dosage:  Fresh or dried root decoction or tincture.

Safety Considerations:  None. Not for use during pregnancy as detoxification is not recommended at this time.

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