Organic Emily

Medicinal Herb – Burdock

Burdock

Medicinal Herb Post #19 written June 25, 2018

Burdock – Arctium lappa

This biennial grows wild just about everywhere, near water, fertile soil, poor soil and even rocky soil. It’s quite tenacious and aggressive because of its prickly seed pods that will attach itself to any animal, bird or person to disperse and plant somewhere else. It produces broad leaves the first year and in the second year it sends up a flower stock with thistle like purple flowers.

Burdock is an amazing herb. The seeds, root and leaves are the medicine The root should be harvested the fall of the first year or spring of the second year before the plant goes to flower, seeds and dies. Burdock roots grow deep and contains many nutrients making it a great nutritive herb. It clears toxins within the digestive system, lessens sugar cravings, relieves gas, indigestion and constipation.  The root contains mucilage that is soothing to the gut during IBS flare ups. It is high in a prebiotic called inulin. This is a really important component in maintaining healthy gut flora. Burdock has been known to help a person restore from a long term illness.

The seed can be made into a tincture and taken internally for psoriasis or other scaly skin conditions. The leaf can be made into a poultice to help heal wounds and ulcers.

It is really good for skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and other issues related with the skin, including acne from hormonal changes. It helps eliminate excess levels of estrogen in the liver and the symptoms that come with too much in the body like water retention, tender breast tissue, irritability, fatigue, depression and sluggish digestion when used consistently for 1-3  months. In addition, it is also really good for arthritis, a stressed liver and cancer. Interestingly, it’s not that it contains specific properties to address each of these ailments, rather it’s because burdock helps the liver do its job so it can take care of those odd looking cells that could potentially turn cancerous or extra inflammation in the joints or pull toxins from the skin. It is best used with dandelion root to help support and cleanse the liver. It can also help with lymph congestion, especially when used with cleavers and calendula. Not recommended to be used with insulin or oral anti-diabetic medications because of possible hypoglycemia.

I like to drink it as a tea with dandelion root. You can also drink burdock root beer by making a decoction using equal parts Burdock root, Cinnamon bark, Sarsaparilla root, Dandelion root and 1/4 part fresh ginger root. Place herbs in a pot and cover with purified water. Cook down to half volume and strain. Chill and add sparkling water. Sweeten with stevia. If using for medicinal purposes drink 2-3 cups daily for 2 weeks.

Don’t have time to do all that every day? Make a tincture. Use equal parts burdock root, dandelion root, Oregon grape root and milk thistle seeds. Grind up the roots and seeds and then put into a jar. Cover with 100 proof vodka, glycerine (mixture needs to be half water) or apple cider vinegar. Put the lid on and shake once a day keeping it out of the sunlight for 2-4 weeks. Strain and store in Amber bottle. Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon 3 or 4 times a day for 4-6 weeks.

Emily Saddler

Emily is a Master Gardener, wife of a professional landscape contractor, homeschool mom of 7 awesome kids, yoga/pilates instructor, a clinical and master herbalist, licensed massage therapist and soon to be traditional naturopath. She is a very passionate advocate of organic home-grown food! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Suburban Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients, herbal and natural home care product recipes and loves teaching classes on gardening, plant identification and herbal remedy workshops. Check out the events and classes page for more info.

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