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Arctium lappaArctium lappa (Compositae)

BURDOCK, BEGGAR'S BUTTONS, LOVE LEAVES

 

The root, the leaves, and the seeds of this ancient healing herb are used throughout the world. The main internal uses are for skin disease, particularly eczema and psoriasis, gout, and rheumatism. Chinese physicians apply the root externally for sores and swellings.

 

Burdock is herb best known from the drink dandelion and burdock. Its roots are eaten by the Japanese as a vegetable for the dietary fibre they contain. Native to northern Europe, burdock is also found in Asia and North America. It is a perennial with a deep taproot, large arrow-shaped leaves, and thistle-like purple flowers that are surrounded by tiny hooks, so sticking to passing animals or to clothes.

 

PARTS USED

Leaves, seeds, root.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Inulin and polyacetylenes in the root; lignans, including arctigenin; sesquiterpenes in the leaves; fixed oil; organic acids, including phenolic acids.

 

ACTIONS

Increases urine production; stimulates nutrition and elimination; stimulates the appetite; mildly sedative; antibacterial; laxative.

 

MEDICINAL USE

Most often used for skin diseases, particularly eczema and psoriasis. It is also given for gout, rheumatism, anorexia, and infective cystitis. In Chinese medicine, the root is given internally for rheumatism, gout, catarrh and infective skin conditions such as syphilis, and is applied externally for piles, sores and swellings. The seeds are prescribed for psoriasis and to stimulate the stomach.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion, decoction, tincture.

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