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Burdock (Arctium lappa)


Burdock is also known as greater burdock, edible burdock, beggar’s buttons or simply lappa.  Burdock herb is a biennial plant belonging to Arctium genus in the family of Asteraceae plants. It is a popular vegetable in many households although this weed is regarded invasive in soils that are rich in nitrogen. It is a tall plant that can grow to a height of two meters. It also has alternating cordiform leaves with long petiole. The underside of these leaves is pubescent. It bears flowers that have purple color with globular capitula groups.  It is common during mid-summer starting in July all the way to September.

Medicinal Uses

Burdock has been used as an herbal medicine for a long time. It is used in treating diuretic and diaphoretic medical conditions. It is also used as a purifying agent for the blood of the user. it also has parts that are used in preventing baldness, treating skin infections, rheumatoid, boils, bites, acne, herpes, eczema, rashes, sore throat, impetigo, poison oak and ivy, sciatica and ringworm, among other medical conditions.

Burdock seeds have arctigenin which help in ensuring proper functioning of the human memory. It also has glucone which acts with arctiin in facilitating the fight against influenza. Actiin also facilitates several estrogenic metabolites in the human intestine. Thus, this herb has anti-inflammatory properties. Oil extracted from the roots of this herb has been proven effective in the treatment of the scalp. Today, it is among the most used scalp treatments in Europe. Perhaps, this can be attributed to studies that have revealed that oil from the roots of this plant have high amount of fatty acids and phytosterols.

Dosage and Administration

There are several factors that determine the appropriate dosage of burdock. Among the factors that should be considered when determining the dosage of burdock include health, age and medical conditions of the user. Today, there is no sufficient information regarding the appropriate dosage of burdock. However, it is important to note that not all herbal remedies are necessarily safe. Therefore, having the right information about dosage of any herb is very important. Make sure that you follow instructions on the label of the product you purchase. You can also seek guidance on how to use burdock from the physician or pharmacist before using it.

Nevertheless, majority of specialists in herbal remedies recommends two ounces of fluid made of water and burdock at least three to four times per day. However, if one has a condition that may require stronger decoction may take one to two tablespoonful of this herb diluted with water. Such a dosage can be used in difficult or severe cases like when the stomach is nauseated. As a blood purifier, a patient should take one and a half qts of the decoction. It can be taken with glycerin and honey. A mixture of one pound of burdock, eight ounces of olive oil and one ounce of beeswax can also be used in the treatment of itching. This mixture should be applied on the affected part in the morning and also at night. The affected person should also drink root decoction while applying the mixture on the affected part. 

Parts Used

Parts of burdock that are used in treatment of different medical conditions include the roots, seeds and leaf. Decoction made from these parts helps in reducing fever, killing germs, increasing urine flow, purifying blood, treating cancer, colds, anorexia nervosa joint pain, gastrointestinal conditions, among others. It also helps in the treatment of various skin conditions, syphilis, psoriasis, liver disease and high blood pressure.


There are several benefits derived from the use of burdock as an herb. Being a natural product, it does not have side effects when used properly. It has natural chemicals that are very effective in fighting bacteria and preventing inflammation. In some places, this herb is easy to find and use in treating different medical conditions. Thus, it works as a cheap and effective medication in such cases. 

Side Effects

When used safely, burdock does not have side effects. However, high dosage can cause allergic reaction to people with sensitive bodies. It can result to skin rashes when applied in high amounts on the itchy parts.

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