Burdock (Arctium lappa) is a common weed. You've either heard of it medicinal and culinary role--or you were out walking the woods and got its burrs attached to your clothes (which inspired a Swiss engineer to invent Velcro, actually--after just that kind of walk in the Alps with his dog). Over time, herbalists have learned many other things from observing burdock.
Burdock Grows in Unlikely Places
Along with dandelion and yellow dock, burdock is one of the first plants to move into disturbed and unhealthy soil: abandoned parking lots, the sides of roads and forgotten construction sites. Burdock is a regenerator! Its gift is its ability to clean out toxicity and bring balance back to the soil, to make it rich again so other plants can thrive and the whole ecosystem can return to health.
What Burdock Does
So what does that have to do with human health? Everything! Burdock is a superior tonic herb with a dual ability to gently clean out toxicity while improving digestion and elimination. You'll find it in herbal formulas used to treat the liver, digestion and the skin.
Burdock enhances the performance of many of the organs that help purify the body of toxins and waste. That alone gives it a rock star status in an herbalist’s apothecary. Burdock gently works on the liver and gallbladder promoting the secretion of bile and stimulates the natural flow of the lymphatic fluid aiding the body’s detoxifying process.
Aids in Digestion
Its slight bitter qualities benefit and improve digestion and its high inulin content creates a healthy environment for the friendly bacteria in the gut. It can be used as a pre-biotic when taking pro-biotics. Burdock is often prescribed for acne, eczema and other rashes due to its blood cleaning qualities and its cooling properties. Anyone with a dedicated skin care regimen (scrubs, cleansers, creams) should consider taking burdock; healthy skin starts from the inside!
The spring is a great time to support your body’s natural detoxification and burdock is a gentle way to start the process.
How to Use It:
Buy it or pick it from a trusted source. I don’t recommend digging up burdock root from old abandoned parking lots but I do recommend digging it out of your backyard or buying organic burdock root dried or fresh at your local health food store.
Cook it up. It can also be chopped up like a carrot and added to soups and stir fry or stick it right in your juicer to add an extra herbal kick to your morning carrot juice.
Brew it. Burdock also makes a great tea. Simmer the root for 10 minutes and drink it throughout the day. If you would like a more convenient option burdock tea bags and tincture should be available in any store that sells herbs!
To a healthy spring!
...And remember: Always check with your physician before beginning a new regimen (especially if you're on medication).