Burdock (Arctium lappa) is Used in Wildcrafted Herbal Products' Therapeutic Creams and Compounds.

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Medicinal Herbs & Therapeutic Botanicals

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Botanicals: Burdock (Arctium lappa)

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content provided on this page is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. Information on this page should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. The claims made about specific products throughout this article are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.


Burdock (Arctium lappa L.) is a herb with dock-shaped leaves, and fruiting heads covered with hooked spines or burrs, from which characteristics Burdock gets its name.

Burdock is native to Europe and Asia, and is found along fences, walls and roadsides. It is a short-lived perennial or biennial and plants growing to 2 m tall. Its leaves are large, ovate and petiolated with undulate margins, producing small tubular flowers red to purple in colour. The fruit is surrounded by hooded bracts and appear late summer to mid-autumn.

During the Middle Ages, Burdock was valued for treating a host of ailments. English herbalists used Burdock root for boils, scurvy, diabetes, and rheumatism. Burdock also played an important role in Native American herbal medicine, and American herbalists have used the roots and seeds of this plant for two centuries (UMM).

Burdock (Arctium lappa)



Biological Name: (Arctium lappa L.)

Other Names: Bardana, burr seed, clotbur, cocklebur, grass burdock, hardock, hareburr, hurrburr, turkey burrseed, Burdock, Niu bang zi.

Plant Parts Used: Root, Seed, Leaves


Active Compounds: 

Burdock root contains high amounts of inulin and mucilage, which could explain its soothing effects on the gastro-intestinal tract. Bitter properties contained in the root may explain the traditional use of burdock's ability to improve digestive functions. It also contains polyacetylenes that have been shown to have anti-microbial activity. Burdock root and fruit also have the ability to slightly lower blood sugar.


Traditional Applications of Burdock in Herbal Medicine

Skin / dermatological disorders:
Abscesses, acne, boils, burns, canker sores, cosmetic uses, warts, wound healing, scurvy, seborrhea (over-activity of sebaceous skin glands), skin disorders, skin moisturizer, sores, measles, ichthyosis (skin disorder), hives, psoriasis, ringworm, eczema.

Immune system:
Bacterial infections, common cold, fever, HIV infection, inflammation, cancer, fungal infections.

Cardio-vascular diseases / disorders:
Blood thinner.

Uro-Genital disorders:
Kidney diseases, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, bladder disorders, diuretic (increasing urine flow).

Hepatic / Liver disorders:
Liver disease, liver protection.

Lung / Respiratory disorders:
Pneumonia, respiratory infections, tonsillitis.

Musculo-skeletal diseases / disorders:
Sciatica, back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis.

Reproductive system disorders / diseases:
Syphilis, venereal diseases, sterility, impotence, aphrodisiac.

Gastro-Intestinal disorders / diseases:
Laxative, hemorrhoids, ulcers.

Other indications:
Hormonal effects, headache, hair loss, dandruff, detoxification, gout, lice, anorexia nervosa.

According to Mrs Grieve from her book 'A Modern Herbal' (www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/mgmh.html):

"...the root is principally employed, but the leaves and seeds are equally valuable. Both root and seeds may be taken as a decoction of 1 OZ (28 ml) to 1 1/2 pint (800 ml approx.) of water, boiled down to a pint (570 ml), in doses of a wine-glassful (200 ml), three or four times a day.

The anti-scorbutic (can cure or prevent scurvy) properties of the 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.

When applied externally as a poultice, the leaves are highly resolvent for tumours and gouty swellings, and relieve bruises and inflamed surfaces generally. The bruised leaves have been applied by the peasantry in many countries as cataplasms to the feet and as a remedy for hysterical disorders.

From the seeds, both a medicinal tincture and a fluid extract are prepared, of benefit in chronic skin diseases. Americans use the seeds only, considering them more efficacious and prompt in their action than the other parts of the plant. They are relaxant and demulcent, with a limited amount of tonic property. Their influence upon the skin is due largely to their being of such an oily nature: they affect both the sebaceous and sudoriferous glands, and probably owing to their oily nature restore that smoothness to the skin which is a sign of normal healthy action.

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."


Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Based on animal studies that show components of burdock to cause uterus stimulation, burdock is sometimes recommended to be avoided during pregnancy. Due to limited scientific study, burdock cannot be considered safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding (MedlinePlus).

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