Arctium lappa, commonly called Greater Burdock, edible burdock, or beggar’s buttons, is a species of plants in the sunflower family, cultivated in gardens for its root used as a vegetable.
This species is native to the temperate regions of the old world.
Greater Burdock is a biennial plant, reaching as much as 9 feet (2.7 m). It has large, alternating, cordiform leaves that have a long petiole and are pubescent on the underside.
The flowers are purple and grouped in globular capitula united in clusters. They appear in mid-summer, from July to September.
Edible burdock is naturalized almost everywhere and is usually found in disturbed areas, especially in soil rich in nitrogen. The plants are cultivated for their slender roots, which can grow about 1 meter long and 2 cm across.
The root was traditionally used in Britain as a flavoring in the herbal drink dandelion and burdock, which is still commercially produced. The root contains a fair amount of dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, amino acids, and is low-calorie. It contains polyphenols that causes darkened surface and muddy harshness by formation of tannin-iron complexes.
How to prepare Greater Burdock Roots as food?
The root is very crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavor with a little muddy harshness that can be reduced by soaking Julienne/shredded roots in water for five to ten minutes. Wash the entire length of the taproot thoroughly in cold water and scrape off the outer skin. Burdock root is tough and should be tendered before its use in cooking. To soften, cook the root in a boiling water with a single teaspoonful of baking soda added to a liter of water. Thus prepared, the root is then can be eaten as is, or added to salads, soups, etc.
How To Use Burdock Roots as a Natural Treatment?
Dried burdock roots (Bardanae radix) are used in folk medicine as a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent.
This medicinal plant has also been used for the alternative treatment of some cancers.
The seeds of greater burdock are used in particularly for skin conditions and in cold/flu formulas. It is also used to treat colds, cancer, anorexia nervosa, gastrointestinal, complaints, joint pain (rheumatism), gout, bladder infections, complications of syphilis, and skin conditions including acne and psoriasis.
Burdock is also used for high blood pressure and liver disease.
Some people use burdock to increase sex drive.
As an oily macerate, it is a component of some cosmetics, shampoos and hair care products.
The pain caused by rheumatism, sprains, twists, and the manifestations caused by insect bites, can be alleviated by using compresses soaked in decoction of burdock root.
Preparation: put two tablespoons of chopped root in a cup of water, leave to infuse for 15 minutes, then take a gauze pad soaked in this solution and apply onto the painful area. Equally effective is also, the using of burdock leaves as a compress, washed and chopped beforehand.
Poultices against acne.
Burdock contains a substance, arctiozida, which has an action comparable to that of penicillin. Thus, the poultices of burdock leaves (washed leaves, sprinkled with eucalyptus oil and applied on the affected area) are indicated in the treatment of skin diseases such as acne, furunculosis and rosacea. Change the compresses three times a day, and the therapy to be followed is about two to three weeks. In parallel, you can drink a decoction of burdock root and chicory, which is prepared from 30 grams of mixture per liter of water. Boil the mixture for five minutes, strain and drink throughout the day.
Another effect of burdock’s is the prove that it is able to reduce blood sugar levels.
Herbalists recommend generally to people with diabetes, a cure of two to three cups of tea burdock root, daily, for 15 days per month. Diabetics can follow annually, a cure of three to six weeks, using burdock tincture.
Take one teaspoon of tincture four times daily, after meals.
However, such therapies can be made only with the consent of a specialist, and monitoring regularly the blood glucose levels, as there may be risks of hypoglycemia.
Cure against hair loss
To slow down or even stop hair loss, it is recommended the decoction of burdock root.
The plant can be used in combination with nettle and birch leaves.
Thus, place two tablespoons of plant powder in a glass with water and allowed it to soak for 6-8 hours.
Thereafter, strain the liquid and boil the remaining plant after filtration in 200 ml of water for 5 minutes.
Allow to cool, then combine the two extracts (liquids).
Wash and rinse the hair and the scalp, massaging with this solution, weekly.
Burdock tincture is obtained as follows:
Place in a jar, twenty tablespoons of burdock root powder, then add two cups (500 ml in total) potable alcohol 40 degrees. Close the jar tightly and let it soak for two weeks in a warm place; then filter.
Pour the resulting tincture in dark bottles.
Take this tincture, four to six times a day, one teaspoon diluted in water.