Burdock has been praised through antiquity for the many medicinal properties it possesses. However, it has also been considered by many, the bane of their existence, particularly if they have dogs or other animals. I'm sure many of you can relate to the experience of spending hours trying to extricate hundreds of Burdock burrs (which are actually the seeds of the Burdock plant) from your dog's coat day after day every fall…
Well, in spite of that little inconvenience, Burdock still holds it's place as one of the most useful ‘weeds' you can have in your yard. Here is just a sampling of the many benefits this plant boasts.
Burdock As A Liver Tonic and Detoxifier
Traditionally, Burdock has been used for centuries as a ‘blood cleanser' and liver tonic, especially for gout and rheumatic illnesses. Research has now proven the role Burdock can play in preventing liver damage. Additionally, as Herbalist David Winston explains, “Part of the action of this herb is through the bitter stimulation of the digestive juices and especially of bile secretion. Thus it will aid digestion and appetite.”
Burdock for Women's Issues
Again, partly due to its tonic effects on the liver and the liver's ability to break down hormones properly, Burdock has been used to help balance the hormones throughout the many phases of a woman's life, especially during menarche and menopause. According to Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, Burdock was used by ancient herbalists for weak uterus and as a childbirth aid. Because of its high vitamin and mineral content, it is an excellent pregnancy herb.
Speaking of vitamins and minerals, Burdock is rich in many nutrients including folate (B9), riboflavin (B2), pyridoxine (B6), niacin (B3), vitamin E, and vitamin C. Additionally, Burdock is a good source of non-starch polysaccharides such as inulin, glucoside-lappin and mucilage.
There have been many studies done on the cancer preventative and treatment benefits of Burdock. In fact, according to this scientific review, Burdock has been utilized in treatment of breast tumor, ovary, bladder, malignant melanoma, lymphoma and pancreatic cells. Another study shows Burdock's action against multi-drug resistant cancer cells. And, yet another study shows that this plant contains anti-leukemic properties.
Burdock for Inflammation
There's a lot of talk within health circles about inflammation right now. Specifically, that the root cause of many (if not all) chronic diseases may be some type of unaddressed inflammation in the body. Burdock has a long history of addressing inflammation in many forms, including osteoarthritis, colitis, atherosclerosis and allergic inflammation.
So, the next time you are grumbling about the time consuming removal of Burdock burrs from your clothing or your pet's fur, remember with gratitude the potent gifts found in this impressive plant!