- Arctium lappa
biennal plant produces a rosette of large leaves
in its first year, followed by stems which can grow
to 5ft, and flowers in the Summer with red-purple
thistle like heads and ovate leaves. Burdock is
possibly more widely recognised by the hooked, seed
heads [burs] which attach themselves to animal fur
and bits of clothing.
is a wonderfully detoxifying herb with mild diuretic,
antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic
properties. It is also rich in minerals. The plant
was a traditional remedy for gout, fevers and kidney
stones : "The seed is much commended to break
the stone and cause it to be expelled by urine."
[Culpeper]. Today Burdock is well known in the form
of the refreshing, tonic drink 'Dandelion and Burdock'
[although sadly most supermarket brands today appear
to contain no actual dandelion or burdock!].
All parts of the Burdock plant serve a purpose medicinally:
the seeds are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant,
and are used to remove toxins in fevers such as
measles and mumps. An infusion of the seeds also
makes an ideal wash for acne and boils;
The roots have an antibiotic effect and are known
to help the body eliminate waste products, remedying
arthritic conditions and chronic skin problems.
They provide a useful remedy for treating eczema,
and have long been used as a remedy for thinning
hair, in the form of a scalp friction;
The leaves make a purifying, blood-cleansing tea
and are destructive to a number of the micro-organisms
responsible for mouth and gum infections. A poultice
of the leaves can be applied to abcesses and boils,
and drinking infusions of burdock leaves will help
clear up skin complaints - it will also soothe and
tone the kidneys and is cited to eliminate excess
fat and ease lymphatic congestion.
related species Lesser Burdock - Arctium minus and Common Burdock - Arctium vulgare [common
in Britain] are used in a similar way to Arctium
lappa [Native to Europe and Asia, although it
now grows in temperate regions throughout the world].