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Burdock (Arctium)

Updated on April 12, 2011

Arctium is a genus of plants of the Asteraceae family, which features the heads of bracts ending with "hooks", which give it the ability to attach to clothing or animal fur.It is a herbal plant.


 The genus name, probably derived from the greek árcteion (bear), is already in Dioscorides and probably refers to the hairy and shaggy appearance of the plant.


 The genus belongs to the tribe of Arctium Cardueae, grouping of the Asteraceae (or Compositae), which attaches to the traditional classification subfamily Cichorioideae but according to the latest analysis Cladistic Carduoideae be placed in the subfamily.


It includes the following species:


·         Arctium chaorum


·         Arctium czerepninii


·         Arctium lappa - Burdock Common


·         Arctium minus - lower claw


·         Arctium nemorosum (syn.: A. glabrescens) - wild burdock


·         Arctium platylepis


·         Arctium tomentosum - burdock lanuta


·         Arctium vulgare



Traditional medicine attaches to a burdock and diuretic properties of blood purification. In the past it was also recommended against arthritis, ulcers, stomach problems, alopecia, psoriasis, skin impurities, uterine prolapse and wound care.


It is currently recommended in the treatment of skin through the use of teas, poultices and extracts that give a benefit to combat acne, oily skin and boils. Basically, burdock has a purifying function, diuretic and stimulates the hepatobiliary functions.


Uses the roots of Arctium lappa collected in the fall of the first year or second in spring and dried as well as of Arctium minus and Arctium tomentosum. The roots of burdock are more rarely offered on the market as Bardanae radix.


Substances are contained lignin, arctiina, inulin (45-70% A. lappa, A. minus 20-27%, A. tomentosum up to 19%), mucous membranes, smaller quantities of essential oil polina, acid derivatives of caffeine and tarassinico acid (sesquiterpenlactone).


A fumigation of roots of burdock, occasionally parts of the plant top of the soil freshly cut or dried, is used for internal application. In outdoor applications, the oil of the roots of burdock is applied against alopecia. If the application is not recommended during pregnancy.



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    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Finally one I am familiar with! This as always was a pleasure to read and a learning experience. Thanks so much.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 6 years ago

      Everytime I read one of your hubs, I think about how my Grandmother used to say everything we need has been supplied by nature.

    • rpalulis profile image

      rpalulis 6 years ago from NY

      We have plenty of burdock growing around here! Thanks for sharing some of the medicinal uses of this plant. I love to learn of the many uses of such plants that grow in abundance where I live. Thanks.