Habitat & Cultivation : Native to Europe and Asia, burdock has spread to temperate regions worldwide, including the United States. It is cultivated in Europe and China, typically propagated from seed in the spring. The seeds are harvested during the summer, while the entire plant is usually uprooted in the high summer months.
Related Species : A. minus and A, tomentosum are related species that are used in a similar way to burdock.
- Bitter glycosides (arctiopicrin)
- Flavonoids (arctiin)
- Volatile oil
- Inulin (up to 45%)
Traditional & Current Uses
- Burdock has a historical association with traditional remedies for ailments such as gout, fevers, and kidney stones. In the 17th century, Culpeper, a herbalist, emphasized the seed’s commendable properties, stating, “The seed is much commended to break the stone and cause it to be expelled by urine.”
- Burdock is employed as a detoxifying herb in both Western and Chinese herbal medicine. The seeds play a role in eliminating toxins during fevers and infections like mumps and measles. Additionally, the root aids the body in eliminating waste products, proving beneficial in chronic skin and arthritic conditions.
- Burdock is seldom used independently in remedies; rather, it is commonly combined with herbs like dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) or yellow dock (Rumex crispus). This combination assists the body in expelling accumulated waste products drawn out of tissues through burdock’s detoxifying action. Using burdock alone may lead to a flare-up of skin conditions, such as eczema.