Burdock is real – big burdock

Iarra, synonym — Lappa major); burdock; family of Asteraceae, or Compositae; big burdock 

Many people remember this plant from their childhood – during games, children often “reward” each other with burdock orders – unbloomed burdock inflorescences. Without even suspecting it, children disperse this plant (if the inflorescences (fruits) are mature). Some birds that feed on its seeds also help the settlement of burdock.

True burdock is a two-year herbaceous plant, all covered with woolly pubescence, up to 120-150 cm tall. The leaves are large, the lower leaves are on long petioles. The flowers are dark purple, collected in inflorescences – baskets, which, in turn, form shields. They bloom in June-July. The so-called ruderal (trash) plant that grows everywhere near human dwellings, in gardens, meadows, near field roads and on the edges of fields, along ditches.

The real burdock (and its companion, the cobweb burdock – A. tomentosum) is widely known in folk medicine. Plant roots are usually used, less often leaves and seeds. Roots are dug up before flowering or in autumn, washed in cold water, cleaned from the outer part of the bark and cut into pieces up to 15 cm long. Thick roots are cut lengthwise. Dry raw materials in the sun or in a warm, ventilated room. The leaves are collected after flowering, cut without petioles and dried under shelter in the open air or in a well-ventilated room. Raw materials can be stored for 5 years.

The composition of the roots includes tannins and bitterness, flavonoids, organic acids, essential and fatty oils. In addition, the leaves contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (up to 350 mg%), and the seeds contain glycoside arctiin and fatty oil.

Preparations from burdock roots have disinfectant properties, exhibit diuretic, choleretic, and diaphoretic effects. They improve the secretion of insulin, increase the deposition of glycogen in the liver, and have a positive effect on the metabolism in the body.

A decoction of the roots is taken for rheumatism, gout, stones in the kidneys and gall bladder, as well as for diabetes. Decoctions work well for various skin diseases – eczema, rashes on the skin, boils. They help with gastritis, peptic ulcer disease of the stomach and duodenum, chronic constipation, edema and delayed menstruation. Burdock root is part of antiperspirant teas. An infusion of the roots in olive oil, the so-called burdock oil, is used to treat focal baldness, premature hair loss, and seborrhea. To do this, the product is rubbed into the roots of the hair once a day for two weeks.

Infusion of leaves is used externally for eczema, ringworm, purulent ulcers. Fresh crushed leaves are applied to wounds, hard tumors and gouty nodes. The fresh juice of the plant helps in the treatment of wounds and skin cancer. Side effects of burdock products are unknown.

Root plants are also used in homeopathy.

Young leaves of burdock are a source of vitamin C, they are included in the diet for therapeutic and preventive purposes: they are added to vegetable soups, borschts, salads are made from it. Plant roots are also edible, especially in the first year of development. Good bread is baked from the dried and ground into powder roots, mixed with double the amount of rye or wheat flour. Roots are also boiled like potatoes, fried, baked, prepared as a reserve – marinated and dried. A drink made from roasted to brown and ground roots tastes similar to chicory coffee.

Burdock ensures late honey collection, feeding bee colonies with high-quality honey. It is dark olive, stringy and aromatic, pleasant to the taste. Bees collect 150-600 kg of this wonderful honey from 1 hectare of thickets.

Decoction of roots. 1 tablespoon of crushed raw materials per 200 ml of boiling water, heated in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes, filtered. Take 1/2 cup warm 2-3 times a day (for a diaphoretic effect, the dose is doubled).

Infusion of leaves. 1 tablespoon of dried crushed raw material per 200 ml of boiling water. Insist for 2-3 hours, filter. Take 1 tablespoon 4-6 times a day an hour after meals.

Root infusion (external). 1 teaspoon of crushed raw materials per 400 ml of boiling water. Insist overnight, filter. Used for lotions, compresses and lubrication of affected skin areas.

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