The burdock plant is easy to grow and can handle a variety of conditions, including neglect. It is not unusual to find it growing wild near abandoned buildings. The leaves, roots and seeds of this plant all have their place in natural healing.
The power in this lovely plant have been used by healers for centuries. Nicolas Culpeper, an English herbalist from the 1600's used burdock to treat ailments from burns to consumption (tuberculosis.) About burdock he says, "The juice of the leaves, or rather the roots themselves, given to drink with old wine, doth wonderfully help the bitings of serpents."
Modern herbalists and consumers cannot argue with this past wisdom. Burdock root supplements are commonly used for adult acne. It is also helpful for eczema, psoriasis, hives and dermatitis. Because burdock is a blood purifier, it heals from the inside out. It is useful for a wide range of health problems including kidney stones, lymphatic congestion, fibroids, arthritis, sciatica, and diabetes.
Burdock root is a prominent ingredient in Essiac tea, a gentle but effective herbal preparation for cancer and other serious health problems.
The leaves of of the burdock plant are used in a special burn treatment commonly used among the Amish. The leaves are scalded, cooled and applied over a healing salve on burns. The leaves and salve make up the dressing. When the dressing is changed, the leaves come away from the skin without damaging the delicate new skin cells. The leaves contain nutrients that also promote healing of the skin and help with pain.
Burdock can also be used topically for poison ivy, swollen lymph nodes and eczema. The leaves or roots can be made into a poultice, or they can be made into a salve or ointment.
Root vegetables are common food staples. Burdock root is no exception. In Japan, the root is called "Gobo." Burdock root has a mild and pleasant taste.
Burdock contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, copper, iron, vitamin C and B-6. Burdock root has plenty of fiber, making it helpful for constipation. Because burdock is a mucalige, it is soothing to the digestive tract and is even used in some preparations as a hair detangler!
How Should I Take Burdock?
The ways to use burdock are almost as varied as the ailments for which it is used! In addition to being cooked and used as a food, burdock can be used as a tea, tincture, or poultice. Burdock root is dried, powdered and encapsulated. This may be the most popular way to use burdock as a medicine.
Burdock can be found in health food stores and online.