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Burdock for Health

By: John Rowlinson - Updated: 2 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Burdock Great Bur Bur Root Leaves Herb

Burdock root (articium lappa), also know as Great Bur, Fox Coat and Beggar's Buttons, produces a thorny bur at the base of the flower head, which has enabled its transport throughout the world. It is now native to North America, Africa and Europe. The plant's root has been used to promote healthy skin, and heal skin impurities for over 3,000 years. Burdock contains articiin, biotin, copper, essential oils, inulin, iron, manganese, sulfur, tannins, zinc, as well as vitamins B1, B6, B12 and E. The root has a sweet taste, as do the leaves, which are used less often.

Preventing Skin Problems with Burdock

Poor skin is often a symptom of overall poor health and Burdock can work to heal the skin in two different ways. Firstly, burdock root has the ability to stimulate the digestive system. This is largely due to the content of high amounts of inulin and mucilage, which have a soothing effect.

The bitter constituents are responsible for improvement of digestion and appetite. These stimulations can have a generally beneficial effect upon the skin by improving the absorption of nutrients. Burdock also stimulates the excretory system, which means that it works as a blood purifier by eliminating toxins from the body more quickly.

Burdock's Skin-Healing Properties

For centuries Burdock also has been used to promote healing of the skin through an infusion of dried leaves. It is still made into a root tea today; to help clear a troubled complexion. This makes it an effective treatment for acne, sores, psoriasis and eczema, but it does not work over night. For best results, it is recommended that burdock tea is taken three times daily over a period of two to three months, before significant results will be noticed. Despite the patience required, burdock has proved to be an effective treatment for many chronic skin conditions, with continued use.

Boils and Acne

Secondly, Burdock may also be used as a poultice. The leaves are usually collected within the first year of growth, bruised slightly, then place on the affected area and covered with a damp cloth. A poultice may also be made from boiled, mashed leaves. This is an effective remedy for boils and acne. The poultice draws out toxins from beneath the skin. It should be applied twice daily.

Because of burdock's absorption of toxins from the bowel, and its alterative effects on the liver, it has been shown to be effective for treatment of hepatitis. It also has a mild laxative effect.

Recently there has been minimal research on burdock being used as a tea to treat cancer. Current tests have isolated chemical constituents, which are tumour protective and desmutagenic. Desmutagens are substances that deactivate cancer-causing agents including pesticides, and natural chemicals from plants and compounds, which are created from foods in the cooking process.

Caution; burdock root interferes with iron absorption when taken internally. Because of its diuretic actions, burdock should not be taken during pregnancy or lactation. Burdock has been shown to interact with hypoglycaemic drugs, anti-inflammatory medications and lithium therapy, when taken internally.

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