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Burdock – The Purifying Root
03-31-2011

Burdock (Arctium lappa) root (See HC 121068-421) is considered a bitter, sweet, and cooling herb. It contains vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Burdock also contains inulin, a form of starch that is important in the metabolism of carbohydrates. Throughout history, the root has had the reputation of being an "alterative" and blood purifier. While it has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine, the root was used during the Industrial Revolution as an aid to dispel the contaminants caused by pollution. Menominee and Micmac Native Americans used burdock root for skin sores, while the Cherokees used it for a variety of ailments. The Chinese used it for coughs, colds, sore throats, tonsillitis, measles, sores, and abscesses.

Burdock is considered a strong liver purifier with particular value for arthritic, glandular, and skin problems. Burdock root aids several of the body's organs in elimination, including kidneys, lymph nodes, colon, and skin. It is said to eliminate toxins from the blood very rapidly and has been used as an antidote for poisoning. It helps to clear the blood of harmful acids due to calcification deposits. It has been used as a poultice as a remedy for sores and bug bites, and has also been used for skin cancer.

Burdock affects the pituitary gland helping to release protein in proper amounts, thereby maintaining hormonal balance. Burdock is considered safe for use in pregnancy as it is mineral-rich and can help balance the body's systems as well as hormones. It can also help prevent water retention and jaundice in an infant. Europeans have used the root as a remedy for prolapsed or displaced uterus.

Along with the conditions listed above, burdock root has been used to treat acne, boils, bruises, constipation, gout, hemorrhoids, sciatica, eczema, gland and spleen tumors, itching, hyperglycemia, and hypoglycemia.

Grated or sliced, burdock root can be added to salads. It can also be roasted or stir fried with vegetables. It can also be drunk as a tisane.

Lori Glenn,  Managing Editor