Burdock is a wonderful herb known for its numerous health benefits

Burdock is a wonderful herb known for its numerous health benefits


The burdock was well – known in the ancient times. It is used by the humanity for centuries.

The burdock is also known as happy major. In Latin language the plant is named as “Arctium lappa’”. It is wide spread in Europe, Asia, Northern America,  Australia. In wild nature, the happy major can be met into the forests and into the bushes up to 1500 m over the sea level. The plant is often cultivated in Japan, the purpose being to use it as a hedge or a plant species as a decorative note in different constructions. For its development it prefers soils rich in nitrogen and direct sunlight. Often its leaves serve as food for various caterpillars. Happy major is also used as a vegetable.


Burdock Description

Burdock / Arctium lappa is a two –years  grassy plant. It belongs to the dicotyledonous compassionate plants. Its root is long, slightly branched, fleshy, gray-brown on the outside, and on the inside white. The stem is high between 60 and 150 centimeters. It is reddish, wrinkled, strongly branched in the upper part. The leaves are consecutively located, gripped to the stem with a handle. The basal ones are large, up to 30 centimeters long and 50 centimeters wide. They have a  heart - ovate form.  The stem leaves are smaller. The baskets  of the plant are large, with a diameter of 3-4 centimeters, collected in thyroid inflorescences, which form the heads of the herb. The wrapping small leaves of the baskets are green, with inward curved tips. The blossoms are red, trumpet. The flowering period is June - October. The fruits are dark brown, flattened, long 6 - 7 millimeters long. These fruits have seedlings.

For medicinal purposes, the roots of a one-year plant that are dug in October - November are used. If the herb is already two years old, these roots should be taken out  in the early spring, because after that the underground part is stiff and hollow. The age difference is that one-year burdock has no stem, only a leaf rosette, whereas biennial plants have flower-colored stems. 

Roots are dug carefully because they are deep and brittle. Once removed, they are washed, cut into pieces, up to 15 centimeters long, and dried in a shadow or in a drier at a temperature of up to 40 degrees Celsius. The permissible air humidity here should be twelve percent. The dried roots are dark brown, with a yellowish heart, odorless and bitter in taste.

The roots of the burdock are of low caloric quality and contain dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, amino acids. It also found: polyphenols, derivatives of caffeicolinoic acid, which cause the surface to darken; sticky substance; sulfur-containing acetylenic compounds, polyacetylenes and bitter components of the guanilide type; inulin, sticky protein, sugar, bitter substances; crystalline glucoside; a bit of resin, heavy and volatile oils and some tannic acids.

The burdock helps in the treatment of: malaria, liver pain, stomach problems, bronchitis. The herb enhances the growth of cells in the human body, acts as a disinfectant.

You can use the herb as follows. One tablespoon ground roots are boiled in 500 ml water for about ten minutes. After that, the potion is squeezed out and drinking a wine cup before eating four times a day.

Before using the burdock, consult with a doctor in clinic. Adverse reactions may occur in humans when the plant contacts the human skin such as dermatitis, allergies and inflammation.


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Leo G. Anderson

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