Burdock, Arctium lappa L. is native to Europe and northern Asia, and is naturalised in North America. The plant has dark green, large oval leaves and the prickly heads that flower from July through to October provide essential pollen and nectar for honeybees around August when clover is on the wane and before the goldenrod starts to bloom. The root is still commonly eaten as a cooked vegetable in Asia.
History of Use
Burdock is traditionally used as a diuretic to flush the urinary tract and as an appetite stimulant. Burdock is also used topically to treat skin complaints such as eczema, acne and psoriasis.
In Europe, the burdock root was used as a bitter flavouring agent in beer before hops was discovered to have the same effect.
Today, Burdock is still used as a diuretic to relieve symptoms associated with water retention such as bloating.
Did You Know?
In the early 1940s, after walking his dog one day, a Swiss inventor named George de Mestral noticed that seeds of the burdock plant had attached themselves to his clothes and his dog’s fur. Under a microscope, he examined the hook system that the seeds used to hitchhike on to his dog to aid seed dispersal. The result of his studies was Velcro!
Since April 2014, all herbal medicines for sale in the UK and Europe must be approved by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) having been rigorously checked for safety and quality. They must also display the Traditional Herbal Registration ‘THR’ logo on their pack.
Registered traditional herbal medicinal products containing burdock are used to help maintain a normal fluid balance and relieve the discomfort of water retention.