Herbal Remedies Information - Burdock Root

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Herbal Remedies Information - Burdock Root
By: Mercedes Aspland

This article is part of a series giving information about herbs and their medicinal properties. We are going to look at burdock root in this article. You will find out what this herb is, how you can use it and the conditions that could be helped by burdock root.

What is Burdock Root?

Burdock root is a biennial herb that is native to both Europe and Asia and is also grown in North America. There are about 10 different varieties and is a common wild herb. It has prickly seeds that are called Cocklebur. In the first year of growth it has very large leaves that lie flat on the ground and can be confused with Rhubarb. It is important not to make this mistake as Rhubarb leaves are poisonous and so you must take great care. In the second year it sends up large stems and can grow up to 5 feet in height. It flowers in the summer and the flowers are pink, purple or white. The flowers will ripen into prickly balls at the end of the stems that can be as big as one inch in diameter.

How to use Burdock Root

Burdock is uses in the first year of its life and if you are going to use the leaves it is best to do when they are fresh as dried leaves can be bitter. There are a number of different ways you can use the herb and we have put some possibilities below.

Tea - the best way to make a tea is to combine about 1 teaspoon of the herb with a cup of cold water. You should then bring it to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes; it is then good to drink. You should try not to drink more than 3 cups per day.

Culinary - you can use the burdock root in your cooking and it is quite mild and sweet. If you peel it and slice it you can add it to soups and salads. The leaves of the young plant can be a great food additive as well.

Poultice - you can make this by using the leaves. If you simmer the leaves for about five minutes, squeeze out and cool until it is warm. You can then apply the leaves to the skin and hold in place with some gauze.

Uses of Burdock Root

Traditionally burdock has been used as a blood purifier and can promote perspiration and help release toxins from the body. When using it externally it can help significantly with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. In addition burdock could also provide relief for chronic arthritis and gout as well as helping to regulate blood sugar levels. The plant is thought to stimulate the digestive system and to help with bile production and protection of the liver.

It is a herb that dates back to medieval times and then was used for more serious conditions like syphilis and leprosy. Ancient use has also seen it as a remedy for hair loss, dog bits, headaches and to speed up the healing of burns. In 2002 some Asian scientists reported that it can help counter the damaging effects of alcohol on the liver.

Side Effects and Precautions

Burdock is not recommended for pregnant women as it is thought it can act as a uterine stimulant. In terms of side effects some people have had skin reactions to the herb. In addition if you take large doses of burdock root it can cause the potassium levels in to body to drop too low so caution should be taken.

It has been shown that burdock can interact with diabetes medication and so you should check with your doctor before taking burdock. It is also thought that burdock can intensify the effects of diuretics and lithium. In addition burdock can affect the absorption of iron and other mineral in the diet. If you have any deficiencies it is a good idea to consult with your doctor before taking burdock.

This article has been supplied by alternative therapies directory. You can also find more information on our Herbal Medicine page.

Article Source: www.NewAgeArticles.com

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