Burdock Plant

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Burdock plant
Burdock plant

The burdock plant demands a lot of attention because of its large leaves. Ancient classical authors used the leaves of burdock as masks to cover up their faces. Hence, the plant was given the name of personatia, since theater masks were called “persona.”

We do not know how the effects of this plant on the skin were discovered. Perhaps one of those actors had acne or furuncles on his face, and after some plays, the appearance of his skin improved.

Whether this is true or not, the medicinal properties of burdock have been known for many ages and were noted by Dioscorides, the great Greek physician of the first century A.D. However, in the modern era, the properties of this plant were celebrated up to a point it was called “cure-all.” The famous London physician of the eighteenth century, John Hill, thought that burdock was the ultimate solution for gout; unfortunately, he died at age 59, suffering from intense gout attacks.

Burdock Plant Scientific Facts

burdock root tincture
Burdock plant for maximum skin cleaning
  1. Other names: Bardana, burr seed, clotbur, cocklebur, grass burdock, hardock, hareburr, hurrburr, turkey burrseed, great burdock.
  2. French: Bardane
  3. Spanish: Bardana
  4. Environment: It grows near roads and populated places, where human or animal excretions be abundant. Very common in warm regions of Europe and America.
  5. Description: Strong plant of the Compositae family, growing up to one meter high. It is a biennial plant that takes two years to flower. It has large leaves, half a meter wide, or even more. The flower heads are surrounded by thorns, which allow them to stick to clothes and hair. From their upper part, small purple or pink flowers grow. This plant is sometimes mistaken for Arctium minus, which has similar properties. It is considered to be one of the burdock look alikes.
  6. Parts of the plant used medicinally: The root and the leaves when fresh. They are gathered in the spring (just before blooming) of the plant’s second year.

Preparation and Use

  1. Infusion
  2. Cold extract
  3. Compresses: Made with the same infusion or decoction taken internally but slightly more concentrated. Apply from two to six times a day, for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Poultices: With mashed fresh leaves, or the root, well-boiled, make a paste and apply it on the affected skin for around 10 minutes, several times a day.
  5. Lotions: Applied with the fresh juice of the plant.

Infusion (leaves): Take one cup three to four times daily. Decoction (seeds or root): One-ounce root to 1 ½ pint of water boiled down to one pint. Take 3 ounces three to four times daily. Tincture: Take 30 to 60 drops three to four times daily. Fluid Extract: Take ½ to one teaspoon three to four times daily. Powder (root or seed): Take ten to twenty #0 capsules (60 to 90 grains) daily. Powder (leaves): Take 5 to 10 #0 capsules (30 to 60 grains) three times daily.

Healing Properties

The root and leaves of burdock contain different active components which explain its properties:

Burdock Plant 1
Burdock plant root
  1. Antibiotic: Artiopicrine, mainly contained in the root, is a plant antibiotic of the glycosidic type, proven to be especially effective against staphylococcus, a germ that causes many skin infections. Its use in external (compresses, poultices, lotions) and internal (infusion or cold extract) applications are recommended for skin infections caused by staphylococci, such as abscesses and furuncles gumboils, adenitis, and infected sebaceous cysts.

    It is also helpful for chronic eczema, acne, and eruptive infectious diseases (measles, chickenpox, scarlet fever, etc.) The antibiotic properties of burdock are eliminated through the urine and are thus recommended for cystitis and recidivist urinary infections.
  2. Depurative: Because of its content in essential oil and mineral salts rich in potassium, burdock is an excellent sudorific and depurative plant. It promotes the elimination of waste substances through the skin. Thus, the skin, which is also an excreting organ, frees itself of impurities. Its mild diuretic properties also contribute to this action. It is recommended for gout (excess of uric acid), arthritis, and renal lithiasis.
  3. Hypoglycemic: Burdock root decreases the sugar level in the blood, partially because of its content in inulin (a carbohydrate that is useful for people who have diabetes). It produces fantastic results as a complement for diabetes treatment, allowing the patient to reduce insulin or antidiabetic medicines.
  4. Hair invigorant: Some people use burdock, with unequal success, applied on the scalp as compresses or lotion, intending to grow hair.

The maximum cleaning and beauty effects of burdock on the skin are achieved by drinking herbal teas and at the same time applying it externally.

The burdock plant helps to promote kidney function and works through the kidneys to aid in clearing the blood of harmful acids. It is considered one of the best blood purifying herbs for sciatica, skin diseases, arthritis, rheumatism, and chronic infections. Burdock is also used for skin disorders, such as boils and carbuncles, and it can be helpful for menopausal symptoms and gout. It can eliminate uric acid, excess fluids, and toxins.

The plant is also antifungal and antibacterial. It acts as an antioxidant and could help defend against cancer by helping to control cell mutation. Burdock’s diaphoretic properties result from volatile oils, which, when taken internally, come out through the sweat glands, removing toxic substances. Sweating helps cool down the body. Therefore, it is a crucial remedy for reducing fevers and heat-related conditions such as canker sores, carbuncles, styes, boils, and infections.

The burdock plant contains 27 to 45 percent inulin, which is the source of its curative properties and abilities. Inulin is a starch. This plant is also rich in iron, making it valuable for treating blood disorders and as a blood purifier. This makes it helpful in treating lumbago, sciatica, rheumatism, and arthritis. The seeds can be used to create a tincture or extract, which can treat kidney and skin diseases.

Taken on its own or with other blood purifiers such as sarsaparilla, it is highly effective against skin issues. It would help if you took it internally to treat psoriasis, eczema, chicken pox, boils, and acne. A decoction of the root can be made by using one ounce to 1 ½ pint of water and simmering until the volume is reduced to one pint. Take ½ cup three times daily.

To produce sweating, simmer in a covered pan for ten minutes, then drink one cup of the tea before taking a hot bath. It can treat poison oak, ivy, itchy skin, eczema, and boils when used externally.

Burdock Plant Root Recipes


  • George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 697, 698. Print.[burdock plant]
  • Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 148, 149.

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