Arctium lappa

Burdock - Arctium lappa (in the Asteraceae or Aster family)

Part used: Root.

Taste/smell: Sweetish initially, bitter later, slightly mucilaginous.

Tendencies: Cooling, distributes moisture around body.

Dosage: Decoction: 1 heaping tablespoon per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh liquid extract: 20-60 drops 1-4 times per day in a little water.

Mental picture and specific indications: It influences the skin, kidneys, liver, gall bladder, mucous and serous membranes to induce removal of accumulated by-products of catabolism.

Use: (a) Alterative, (b) Antibacterial, (c) Antifungal, (d) Anti-inflammatory, (e) Diuretic, especially the seeds, (f) Digestive stimulant, (g) Promotes blood and lymph circulation, (h) Liver tonic, (i) Choleretic, (j) Antimutagenic, (k) Mild laxative.

Burdock is used for chronic skin eruptions such as acne psoriasis, eczema, boils, carbuncles and sties. It is beneficial for arthritis, sciatica, urinary calculi and gout. By stimulating the natural flow of lymphatic fluid, it supports excretion of toxic by-products from cells. Burdock is commonly used to normalize the female menstrual cycle, during menopause and for mastitis.

Water soluble polysaccharides found in the herb have shown chemotactic activity for granulocytic leukocytes as well as antitumor effects against solid sarcoma tumors in mice. A methanolic extract of fresh root inhibited Ehrlich ascite carcinoma and Yoshima sarcoma in mice.

The seeds contain arctigenin, a fatty oil and the diuretic glycoside, arctiin. The root contains polysaccharides, volatile oils, inulin, mucilage, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, sodium and iron, and vitamins including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid.

Contraindications: Long term use or excessive doses of the seed can cause urinary tract irritation. It is contraindicated in pregnancy due to the oxytocic effect and uterine stimulant action on animal uteri.

Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.