Burdock (Arctium lappa)
- Cut Root
- Origin Poland
- Certified Organic - see our Quality page for Quality Management & Certification Documents
- Human grade
Burdock’s root and seed are both held in high esteem by herbal traditions around the world for their cleansing and alterative properties.
Ever returned from an autumn walk to find yourself (or your dog) covered in large burrs? You've brushed past a burdock plant!
The extraordinary sticking power of the prickly seed cases is burdock’s way of ensuring its seed is spread far and wide – and it's remarkably successful. The hooked barbs on the burrs are also said to have been the inspiration behind the invention of velcro.
Burdock is considered an alterative, alteratives are herbs that ‘alter’ the condition in a tissue by eliminating metabolic waste via the liver, large intestine, lungs, lymphatic system, skin and kidneys. Other examples include dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis) and nettle leaf (Urtica dioica).
It’s an interesting categorisation of how a plant works as it gives insights to herbalism as a whole. Traditionally used for ‘bad blood’, hence why it's thought of as nature's best blood purifier, alteratives were used to help removes tissue and extra-cellular wastes as well as enhance nutritive levels. It's commonly used for skin disorders and infections, helping the digestion and organs of elimination do their job.
Different alteratives were seen to work at different ‘levels’; from superficial issues such as acne, boils, sore throat, low-grade fever or swollen glands, to deeper issues such as chronic infection, i.e. abscesses. Alteratives are called for where there are elements of lethargy, chronic fatigue, arthritis and emotional disturbances.
As William Cook, the renowned 19th century herbalist said, alteratives are herbs which normalise the metabolism by supporting nutrition or improving the body’s natural mechanisms of detoxification and which act “slowly, steadily, and moderately in improving the circulating fluids.”
Top TIp - apparently the young roots are delicious when roasted or simmered in a tonic soup, although I can't speak from experience ;-)