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Health Benefits of Burdock

Health Benefits of Burdock

INTRODUCTION

Burdock is a plant belonging to the category of Biennial Plants in the family, Asteraceae. It is also known by the name Arctium Lappa. The Arctium species generally flower from the month of July till October. The Burdock plant has dark leaves that can grow up to 70cm (28in) long. The plant leaves are generally large and coarse with the lower leaves being heart shaped. The plant has prickly heads that can easily catch on to fur and other clothing. Due to the property of clinging due to the prickly heads, it acts as an effective medium for dispersal of seeds. The plant has mostly hollow leafstalks.

PRIMARY USES

Burdock has primarily been used as a medicinal herb for various kinds of ailments. In addition to that, in the second half of the 20th century it received widespread popularity as a culinary food in macrobiotic diets. This is due to the presence of considerable amounts of dietary fibre, calcium, potassium and amino acids. This advocates the consumption of Burdock’s roots.

CHEMICAL AND NUTRIENT CONTENT

The chemical constituents of Burdock include

  • Inulin(naturally occurring polysaccharide)
  • Mucilage
  • Sugar,
  • Lappin (a bitter crystalline glucoside),
  • Fixed and volatile oils and
  • Tannic acids.
  • The roots contain chemicals called polyacetylenes that are crucial in fighting disease causing bacteria and fungi. The herb root contains vital vitamins in small quantities, including
  • Riboflavin,
  • Pyridoxine,
  • Folic acid,
  • Niacin,
  • Vitamin-C and
  • Vitamin-E.

In addition to these, it also contains small amounts of valuable minerals such as iron, manganese, magnesium along with zinc, calcium, selenium and phosphorus. Burdock roots contain good amounts of potassium that is a vital component of cell and body fluids.

HEALTH BENEFITS

Burdock is essentially a popular medicinal herb with widespread applications in treatment of diseases. Here are some the health benefits this herb provides:

  1. It is anti-bacterial and antioxidant

    Burdock roots and dried seeds possess numerous useful organic compounds that are helpful in fighting disease causing bacteria and have excellent anti-oxidant properties that help in promoting good health.

  2. Controls heart rate

    The presence of good amounts of electrolyte potassium which is an important component of body cells and the fluids helps to control the heart rate and blood pressure.

  3. Useful diuretic properties

    Burdock has also been known to contain certain diuretic properties which helps expel harmful toxins and chemicals along with harmful by-products from the human blood through urine.

  4. Excellent in treatment of skin diseases

    This herb has also been used extensively to treat skin diseases like eczema/Dermatitis and other skin related ailments.

  5. Remedy for lever disorders

    The plant is also helpful as a remedy for liver and gall bladder disorders.

  6. Lower amount of calories

    The presence of lower amount of calories promotes its usage as food. Moreover due to significant amounts of non-starch polysaccharides being present, it serves as a good laxative as well. It also acts as an appetite stimulant and a good solution to gas and indigestion problems.

PARTS USED

Burdock is primarily consumed through the form of its root. The root is sometimes used as food. The leaves and seeds are mainly used for making medicines. Burdock root oil extracts contain rich amounts of phytosterols and other essential fatty acids which promote in its use for hair treatment.

SIDE EFFECTS

There is no known side effect of using this herb. However, the greener portion above the ground may cause contact dermatitis due to presence of lactones. On the other hand, the contamination with roots of belladonna may cause poisoning due a chemical called Atropine.

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