Burdock

Latin:  Arctium lappa

Family:  Asteraceae

Part Used:  Roots, seeds

Taste/Energetics:  Sweet, bitter, cooling

Properties:  Nutritive, alterative, diaphoretic.

Actions: This is an herb that has long been used to strengthen the function of the liver, kidneys and digestive system and to “cool heat” and detoxify the system with heat signs such as eczema, acne, boils.  The old school herbalist term for this type of plant is an “alterative”, meaning to help act as a blood purifier.  In this case, burdock acts a metabolic tonic, helping in the process of digestion and absorption.  Essentially burdock helps the liver and digestive system to work more efficiently, to assimilate and eliminate waste materials more effectively.

With significant amounts of inulin, a prebiotic that is useful for improving the microbial flora in the gut, burdock is useful for those who have damaged their internal stomach terrain with excessive use of prescription drugs, antibiotics, processed foods, soda pop, sugar and a heavy hard to digest diet.  This can easily translate into increased lethargy, depression, anxiety, autoimmune disease and general debility.  Though improving diet is first on the list, burdock root can be a really helpful ally in that process.

On an emotional level, this is also for those who run a little too hot, are a little too hard on themselves and are using up their resources and burning up their essence.  They may feel moody and labile in mood.  It helps people to slow down, cool down, ground and feel nourished at their core.

Dose:   This is an herb that I really recommend taking in whole form and not as a  tincture.  Try adding it to bone broth, soups, stir frys, and in decoctions and tea formulas.  Its full effect comes from its nutritive strength which can be best received when extracted with heat and water.  Give this one time- its effect is noticeable with continued and prolonged use.

1-2 tbsp decocted in a pint and a half of water for 30 minutes.  The burdock really soaks up the water so this can end up being just a cup of decocted tea at the end.

Contraindications:  None

Further Reading:  

Burdock monograph  by Rosalee de la Foret

Burdock monograph  by Matthew Wood

Burdock monograph  by Jim McDonald

Burdock video   by Jim McDonald

Burdock monograph   by Nick Moya (Herb Rally)