Tag Archives: Arctium

Arctium minus

Botanical Name : Arctium minus
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Cynareae
Genus: Arctium
Species: A. minus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Names : Lesser Burdock, Burweed, Louse-bur, Common burdock,, Button-bur, Cuckoo-button, or Wild rhubarb

Habitat : Arctium minus is native to Europe, but has become an invasive weed in Australia, North and South America, and other places. It grows in waste ground, edges of woods, roadsides etc.

Description:
Arctium minus is a binnial plant.   It can grow up to 1.5 meters (1 to 5 feet) tall and form multiple branches. It is large and bushy. Flowers are prickly and pink to lavender in color. Flower heads are about 3/4 inches (2 cm) wide. The plant flowers from July through October. The flowers resemble and can be easily mistaken for thistles, but burdock can be distinguished by its extremely large (up to 50 cm) leaves and its hooked bracts. Leaves are long and ovate. Lower leaves are heart-shaped and have very wavy margins. Leaves are dark green above and woolly below. It grows an extremely deep taproot, up to 30 cm (12 in) into the ground.
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The plant produces purple flowers in its second year of growth, from July to October. Outer bracts end in hooks that are like Velcro. After the flower head dries, the hooked bracts will attach to humans and animals in order to transport the entire seedhead.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.  It is noted for attracting wildlife.

Cultivation :
Succeeds on most soils, preferably moist. Prefers a sunny position. Prefers partial shade according to another report. A polymorphic species. A good butterfly plant.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in situ in autumn.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Root – raw or cooked. The best roots are obtained from young plants. Usually peeled and sliced. The roasted root is a coffee substitute. Young leaves and leaf stems – raw or cooked. Used as a potherb]. Mucilaginous. It is best to remove the rind from the stem. Young flowering stem – peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. Seed sprouts.
Medicinal Uses:

Alterative; Antibacterial; Antifungal; Aperient; Blood purifier; Carminative; Cholagogue; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Hypoglycaemic.

Burdock is one of the foremost detoxifying herbs in both Chinese and Western herbal medicine. Arctium lappa is the main species used, though this species has similar properties. The dried root of one year old plants is the official herb, but the leaves and fruits can also be us. It is used to treat conditions caused by an ‘overload’ of toxins, such as throat and other infections, boils, rashes and other skin problems. The root is thought to be particularly good at helping to eliminate heavy metals from the body. The plant is antibacterial, antifungal and carminative. It has soothing, mucilaginous properties and is said to be one of the most certain cures for many types of skin diseases, burns, bruises etc. It is used in the treatment of herpes, eczema, acne, impetigo, ringworm, boils, bites etc. The plant can be taken internally as an infusion, or used externally as a wash. Use with caution. One-year old roots are alterative, aperient, blood purifier, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stomachic. The seed is alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antiphlogistic, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and hypoglycaemic. It is used in the treatment of colds with sore throat and cough, measles, pharyngitis, acute tonsillitis and abscesses. The crushed seed is poulticed onto bruises. The seed is harvested in the summer and dried for later use. The seed contains arctiin, this excites the central nervous system producing convulsions an increase in respiration and later paralysis. It also lowers the blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels. The leaves are poulticed onto burns, ulcers and sores.

Other Uses:..Paper.…..A fibre is obtained from the inner bark and is used to make paper. It is about 0.9mm long. The stems are harvested in late summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed in order to strip off the fibre. The fibres are then cooked for two hours in soda ash before being put in a ball mill for 2 hours. The resulting paper is a light tan/ brown colour.

Known Hazards :Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this plant, some caution is advised due to the following report for the closely related A. lappa[K]. Care should be taken if harvesting the seed in any quantity since tiny hairs from the seeds can be inhaled and these are toxic.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctium_minus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arctium+minus

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Agar-Agar

Botanical Name: Gelidium amansii
Family:    Gelidiaceae
Genus:    Gelidium
Species:    G. amansii
Kingdom:    Archaeplastida
Phylum:    Rhodophyta
Class:    Florideophyceae
Order:    Gelidiales

Synonyms:   Japanese Isinglass.

Common names:   Agar-Agar,
Japansche scheleiachtige mos, Steen-or klipbloem, Hay tsay, Olus marinus, Sajur laut, Tschintschau, Tschoo-hoae (Madlener 1977).

Chinese: Niu mau tsai (Madlener 1977).

Japanese: Tengusa, Makusa, Genso (Madlener 1977), Kanten (Rhoads & Zunic 1978), Oyakusa (Chapman & Chapman 1980).

Common names used in commerce, often for edible algae:  Shie hua ts’ai {China}; Shima-ten-gusa {Jap}

Habitat :  Gelidium amansii grows  in  Japan, China, India,Indonesia,Taiwan,  Ceylon and Macassar.

Description:
A genus of about 20 species of red seaweeds, found mainly in waters off Japan, Spain, Portugal, W Scotland, Ireland, N, S, and W Africa, Madagascar, California, and Chile. They are collected with rakes from boats or by divers from deep water, and are now cultivated by the Japanese on poles in coastal waters. Gelidium amansii is a source of agar or Kanten, a collodial extract used in similar ways to gelatin. The earliers observations of the properties of G. amansii (tengusa) are attributed to a Japanese innkeeper, Minoya Tarozaemon, in 1660, though seaweed gels have been eaten in Japan for over 1,200 years. Its use as agar, a culture medium for bacteria, was developed in the 1880s by Robert Koch, who thereby discovered the organisms that cause tuberculosis. Some 30 species of algae, belonging to about ten different genera, are used worldwide for agar production; the main ones are G. amansii (Japan), G. cartilagineum (USA), Gracilaria verrucosa (Australia), and Pterocladia pinnata (New Zealand). The 20th century saw demand for Gelidium increase in many areas, including medicine, dentistry, forensic science, and the food industry. It is prepared as strips of solidified mucilaginous extract, which gels at 32°C (90°F) and melts at 85°C (185°F). The high melting point makes agar useful in food that might otherwise melt in warm temperatures. In addition, its constituents are non-toxic and not absorbed from the gut.
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Perennial, tuft-forming seaweed, with pinnately branched, rigid, cartilaginous fronds, divided into thread-like segments. Found in intertidal and subtidal zones around China, Japan, Korea, and Pacific coasts of Russia. Width 10-30cm (4-12in).

A seaweed gathered on the East Indian coast and sent to China, it is derived from the various species of Sphaerococcus Euchema and Gelidium. It is brownish-white in colour with thorny projections on its branches; the best variety, known as Japanese Isinglass, contains large quantities of mucilage. The seaweed after collection is spread out on the shore until bleached, and then dried; it is afterwards boiled in water and the mucilaginous solution strained, the filtrate being allowed to harden, and then it is dried in the sun. The time for collection of the Algae is summer and autumn when the bleaching and drying can take place, but the final preparation of Agar-Agar is carried out in winter from November to February. The Japanese variety is derived from several kinds of Algae and comes into European commerce in two forms: (1) In transparent pieces 2 feet long, the thickness of a straw, prepared in Singapore by treating it in hot water. (2) In yellowish white masses about 1 inch wide and 1 foot long. The latter is the form considered the more suitable for the culture of bacteria.

Edible Uses:  Powdered or flaked agar is used to set jellies. Kanten is a popular food in Japan, made into a firm jelly or into tokoroten (noodles).

Constituents:  Agar-Agar contains glose, which is a powerful gelatinizing agent. It is precipitated from solution by alcohol. Glose is a carbohydrate. Acetic, hydrochloric and oxalic acids prevent gelatinization of Agar-Agar.

Properties:  A nutritive, almost tasteless, gelatinous herb that acts as a bulk laxative.

Medicinal Uses:
Agar-Agar is widely used as a treatment for constipation, but is usually employed with Cascara when atony of the intestinal muscles is present. It does not increase peristaltic action. Its therapeutic value depends on the ability of the dry Agar to absorb and retain moisture. Its action is mechanical and analogous to that of the cellulose of vegetable foods, aiding the regularity of the bowel movements.

Other Uses:   Used in invalid foods, and as a gelling and stabilizing agent in canned meats, ice cream, sauces, deserts, and dairy products.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.algaebase.org/search/species/detail/?species_id=1830
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/agara012.html
http://www.prcupcc.com/herbs/herbsa/agaragar.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelidium_amansii

Parsnip

Botanical Name: Pastinaca sativa
Family:Apiaceae
Genus:Pastinaca
Species:    P. sativa
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:Apiales

Common Name :Parsnip

Habitat : Parsnip is native to Eurasia. It has been used as a vegetable since antiquity and was cultivated by the Romans, although there is some confusion in the literature of the time between parsnips and carrots. It was used as a sweetener before the arrival in Europe of cane sugar. It was introduced into the United States in the nineteenth century.

Description:
Parsnip is a biennial  plant with a rosette of roughly hairy leaves that has a pungent odor when crushed. The petioles are grooved and have sheathed bases. The leaves are once- or twice-pinnate with broad, ovate, sometimes lobed leaflets with toothed margins; they grow up to 40 cm (16 in) long. The flower stalk develops in the second year, growing to a height of 40 to 200 cm (20 to 80 in). It is hairy, grooved, hollow (except at the nodes), and sparsely branched. It has a few stalkless, single-lobed leaves measuring 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) long that are arranged in opposite pairs. The yellow flowers are in a loose, compound umbel measuring 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in) in diameter. There are 6–25 straight pedicels, each measuring 2–5 cm (1–2 in) that support the umbellets (secondary umbels). The umbels and umbellets usually have no upper or lower bracts. The flowers have tiny sepals or lack them entirely, and measure about 3.5 mm. They consist of five yellow petals that are curled inward, five stamens, and one pistil. The fruits, or schizocarps, are oval and flat, with narrow wings and short, spreading styles. They are colored straw to light brown, and measure 4–8 mm long….click & see

Parsnip  is a biennial plant usually grown as an annual. Its long tuberous root has cream-colored skin and flesh and can be left in the ground when mature as it becomes sweeter in flavor after winter frosts. In its first growing season, the plant has a rosette of pinnate, mid-green leaves. If unharvested, it produces its flowering stem, topped by an umbel of small yellow flowers, in its second growing season. By this time the stem is woody and the tuber inedible. The seeds are pale brown, flat and winged.

Parsnips are grown for their fleshy, edible cream-colored taproots. The roots are generally smooth, although lateral roots sometimes form. Most are cylindrical, but some cultivars have a more bulbous shape, which generally tend to be favored by food processors as they are more resistant to breakage. The plant has a apical meristem that produces a rosette of pinnate leaves, each with several pairs of leaflets with toothed margins. The lower leaves have short stems, the upper ones are stemless, and the terminal leaves have three lobes. The highly branched floral stem is hollow and grooved, and can grow to more than 150 cm (60 in) tall.

Cultivation:
The wild parsnip from which the modern cultivated varieties were derived is a plant of dry rough grassland and waste places, particularly on chalk and limestone. Parsnips are biennials but are normally grown as annuals. Sandy and loamy soils are preferable to silt, clay and stony ground as the latter produce short, forked roots.. Parsnip seed significantly deteriorates in viability if stored for long. Seeds are usually planted in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked to a fine tilth, in the position where the plants are to grow. The growing plants are thinned and kept weed free. Harvesting begins in late fall after the first frost, and continues through winter. The rows can be covered with straw to enable the crop to be lifted during frosty weather. Low soil temperatures cause some of the starches stored in the roots to be converted into sugars, giving them a sweeter taste.

Propagation :   
Seed – sow from late winter to late spring in situ. Seed can be slow to germinate, especially from the earlier sowings, it is best to mark the rows by sowing a few radishes with the parsnips. The seed has a short viability, very few will still be viable 15 months after harvesting

Edible Uses:
The parsnip is usually cooked but can also be eaten raw. It is high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. It also contains antioxidants and both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.

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Parsnips resemble carrots and can be used in similar ways but they have a sweeter taste, especially when cooked. While parsnips can be eaten raw, they are more commonly served cooked. They can be baked, boiled, pureed, roasted, fried or steamed. When used in stews, soups and casseroles they give a rich flavor.  In some cases, the parsnip is boiled and the solid portions are removed from the soup or stew, leaving behind a more subtle flavor than the whole root, and starch to thicken the dish. Roast parsnip is considered an essential part of Christmas dinner in some parts of the English-speaking world and frequently features in the traditional Sunday Roast.  Parsnips can also be fried or thinly sliced and made into crisps. Parsnips can be made into a wine that has a taste similar to Madeira.

In Roman times, parsnips were believed to be an aphrodisiac.  However, parsnips do not typically feature in modern Italian cooking. Instead, they are fed to pigs, particularly those bred to make Parma ham.

Medicinal Uses:
In traditional Chinese medicine, the root of Chinese parsnip is used as a herbal medicine ingredient.

Poultice;  Women’s complaints.

A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of women’s complaints. A poultice of the roots has been applied to inflammations and sores. The root contains xanthotoxin, which is used in the treatment of psoriasis and vitiligo. Xanthotoxin is the substance that causes photosensitivity .

Other Uses:
Insecticide;  Repellent.

The leaves and roots are used to make an insect spray. Roughly chop the leaves and roots, put them in a basin with enough water to cover, leave them overnight then strain and use as an insecticide against aphids and red spider mite.

Known Hazards:
While the root of the parsnip is edible, handling the shoots and leaves of the plant requires caution as the sap is toxic.  Like many other members of the family Apiaceae, the parsnip contains furanocoumarin, a photosensitive chemical that causes a condition known as phytophotodermatitis.  The condition is a type of chemical burn rather than an allergic reaction, and is similar to the rash caused by poison ivy. Symptoms include redness, burning, and blisters. Afflicted areas can remain discolored for up to two years.  Although there have been some reports of gardeners experiencing toxic symptoms after coming into contact with foliage,  these have been small in number compared to the number of people that grow the crop. The problem is most likely to occur on a sunny day when gathering foliage or pulling up old plants that have gone to seed. The symptoms have mostly been mild to moderate.  The toxic properties of parsnip extracts are resistant to heating, or a storage period of several months. Toxic symptoms can also affect livestock and poultry in parts of their bodies where their skin is exposed.  Polyacetylenes can be found in Apiaceae vegetables such as parsnip, and they show cytotoxic activities  In sunlight, handling the stems and foliage can cause a skin rash…...click & see

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parsnip
http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Pastinaca+sativa

Burdock (Arctium lappa)

BotanicalName: Arctium lappa
Family: Asteraceae/Compositae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Genus: Arctium
Species: A. lappa

Other Names: Lappa, Lappa minor, Beggar’s buttons, Clothburr, Cockleburr, Cockle buttons, Fox’s Clote. Thorny Burr. Beggar’s Buttons. Cockle Buttons. Love Leaves. Philanthropium. Personata. Happy Major. Clot-Bur.

Parts Used : Root, herb,leaves and seeds (fruits).

Habitat: Waste places, most of our area. It grows freely throughout England (though rarely in Scotland) on waste ground and about old buildings, by roadsides and in fairly damp places. The Burdock, the only British member of its genus, belongs to the Thistle group of the great order, Compositae.
Flowers: July – September

English: Arctium lappa

English: Arctium lappa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Description: Burdock is a biennial plant found in the Eastern and Northern U.S. and in Europe, along fences, walls, and roadsides, in waste places, and around populated areas. The root is long, fleshy, gray-brown outside, and whitish inside. In its second year, the plant grows a furrowed, reddish , pithy stem with woolly branches. During the first year burdock has only basal leaves.
Both basal and stem leaves are oblong, green and hairy on top and downy gray underneath. The purple flowers appear in loose clusters from July to September.

click to see the pictures…>.….(01)...(1)…...(2).…...(3).…..(4).…..(5)…..(6).

A stout handsome plant, with large, wavy leaves and round heads of purple flowers. It is enclosed in a globular involucre of long stiff scales with hooked tips, the scales being also often interwoven with a white, cottony substance.
The whole plant is a dull, pale green, the stem about 3 to 4 feet and branched, rising from a biennial root. The lower leaves are very large, on long, solid foot-stalks, furrowed above, frequently more than a foot long heart-shaped and of a grey colour on their under surfaces from the mass of fine down with which they are covered. The upper leaves are much smaller, more egg-shaped in form and not so densely clothed beneath with the grey down.

The plant varies considerably in appearance, and by some botanists various subspecies, or even separate species, have been described, the variations being according to the size of the flower-heads and of the whole plant, the abundance of the whitish cottonlike substance that is sometimes found on the involucres, or the absence of it, the length of the flower-stalks, etc.

The flower-heads are found expanded during the latter part of the summer and well into the autumn: all the florets are tubular, the stamens dark purple and the styles whitish. The plant owes its dissemination greatly to the little hooked prickles of its involucre, which adhere to everything with which they come in contact, and by attaching themselves to coats of animals are often carried to a distance.

‘They are Burs, I can tell you, they’ll stick where they are thrown,’

Shakespeare makes Pandarus say in Troilus and Cressida, and in King Lear we have another direct reference to this plant:
‘Crown’d with rank Fumiter and Furrow-weeds,
With Burdocks, Hemlocks, Nettles, Cuckoo-flowers.’
Also in As You Like It:
ROSALIND. How full of briers is this working-day world!
CELIA. They are but burs, cousin, thrown upon thee in holiday foolery. If we walk not in the trodden paths, our very petticoats will catch them.
The name of the genus, Arctium, is derived from the Greek arktos, a bear, in allusion to the roughness of the burs, lappa, the specific name, being derived from a word meaning ‘to seize.’
Another source derives the word lappa from the Celtic llap, a hand, on account of its prehensile properties.

The plant gets its name of ‘Dock’ from its large leaves; the ‘Bur’ is supposed to be a contraction of the French bourre, from the Latin burra, a lock of wool, such is often found entangled with it when sheep have passed by the growing plants.

An old English name for the Burdock was ‘Herrif,’ ‘Aireve,’ or ‘Airup,’ from the Anglo-Saxon hoeg, a hedge, and reafe, a robber – or from the Anglo-Saxon verb reafian, to seize. Culpepper gives as popular names in his time: Personata, Happy Major and Clot-Bur.

Though growing in its wild state hardly any animal except the ass will browse on this plant, the stalks, cut before the flower is open and stripped of their rind, form a delicate vegetable when boiled, similar in flavour to Asparagus, and also make a pleasant salad, eaten raw with oil and vinegar. Formerly they were sometimes candied with sugar, as Angelica is now. They are slightly laxative, but perfectly wholesome.

History: A European native, burdock was naturalized in this country with the first foreign travelers. It was already known and widely used in the Old World. The white settler in America passed their knowledge of its usefulness to the Indians. And the plant eventually did appear in American pharmacopoeias, being listed for use as a diuretic and diaphoretic.

Constituents: Inulin, mucilage, sugar, a bitter, crystalline glucoside – Lappin-a little resin, fixed and volatile oils, and some tannic acid.

The roots contain starch, and the ashes of the plant, burnt when green, yield carbonate of potash abundantly, and also some nitre.

Edible Uses:

Uses in Food and drinks:
The taproot of young burdock plants can be harvested and eaten as a root vegetable. While generally out of favor in modern European cuisine, it remains popular in Asia, particularly in Japan where A. lappa (Greater burdock) is called gobō . Plants are cultivated for their slender roots, which can grow about 1 meter long and 2 cm across. Burdock root is very crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavor with a little muddy harshness that can be reduced by soaking julienne/shredded roots in water for five to ten minutes. Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring, before flowers appear; the taste resembles that of artichoke, to which the burdock is related. A popular Japanese dish is kinpira gobō, julienned or shredded burdock root and carrot, braised with soy sauce, sugar, mirin and/or sake, and sesame oil; another is burdock makizushi (sushi filled with pickled burdock root rather than fish; the burdock root is often artificially colored orange to resemble a carrot). In the second half of the 20th century, burdock achieved international recognition for its culinary use due to the increasing popularity of the macrobiotic diet, which advocates its consumption. It also contains a fair amount of gobō dietary fiber (GDF, 6g per 100g), calcium, potassium, amino acids, and is also low calorie. It also contains polyphenols that causes darkened surface and muddy harshness by formation of tannin-iron complexes though the harshness shows excellent harmonization with pork in miso soup (tonjiru) and Japanese-style pilaf (takikomi gohan).

Dandelion and burdock is a soft drink that has long been popular in the United Kingdom. Burdock is believed to be a galactagogue, a substance that increases lactation.


Medicinal Properties:
Aperient, Cholagogue, Diaphoretic, and Diuretic.

Medicinal Action and Uses-: Alterative, diuretic and diaphoretic. One of the best blood purifiers. In all skin diseases, it is a certain remedy and has effected a cure in many cases of eczema, either taken alone or combined with other remedies, such as Yellow Dock and Sarsaparilla.

The root is principally employed, but the leaves and seeds are equally valuable. Both root and seeds may be taken as a decoction of 1 OZ. to 1 1/2 pint of water, boiled down to a pint, in doses of a wineglassful, three or four times a day.

The anti-scorbutic properties of the root make the decoction very useful for boils, scurvy and rheumatic affections, and by many it is considered superior to Sarsaparilla, on account of its mucilaginous, demulcent nature; it has in addition been recommended for external use as a wash for ulcers and scaly skin disorders.

An infusion of the leaves is useful to impart strength and tone to the stomach, for some forms of long-standing indigestion.

When applied externally as a poultice, the leaves are highly resolvent for tumours and gouty swellings, and relieve bruises and inflamed surfaces generally. The bruised leaves have been applied by the peasantry in many countries as cataplasms to the feet and as a remedy for hysterical disorders.

From the seeds, both a medicinal tincture and a fluid extract are prepared, of benefit in chronic skin diseases. Americans use the seeds only, considering them more efficacious and prompt in their action than the other parts of the plant. They are relaxant and demulcent, with a limited amount of tonic property. Their influence upon the skin is due largely to their being of such an oily nature: they affect both the sebaceous and sudoriferous glands, and probably owing to their oily nature restore that smoothness to the skin which is a sign of normal healthy action.

The infusion or decoction of the seeds is employed in dropsical complaints, more especially in cases where there is co-existing derangement of the nervous system, and is considered by many to be a specific for all affections of the kidneys, for which it may with advantage be taken several times a day, before meals.

Preparations; Fluid extract, root, 1/2 to 2 drachms. Solid extract, 5 to 15 grains. Fluid extract, seed, 10 to 30 drops.

Culpepper gives the following uses for the Burdock:

‘The Burdock leaves are cooling and moderately drying, wherby good for old ulcers and sores…. The leaves applied to the places troubled with the shrinking in the sinews or arteries give much ease: a juice of the leaves or rather the roots themselves given to drink with old wine, doth wonderfully help the biting of any serpents- the root beaten with a little salt and laid on the place suddenly easeth the pain thereof, and helpeth those that are bit by a mad dog:… the seed being drunk in wine 40 days together doth wonderfully help the sciatica: the leaves bruised with the white of an egg and applied to any place burnt with fire, taketh out the fire, gives sudden ease and heals it up afterwards…. The root may be preserved with sugar for consumption, stone and the lax. The seed is much commended to break the stone, and is often used with other seeds and things for that purpose.’
It was regarded as a valuable remedy for stone in the Middle Ages, and called Bardona. As a rule, the recipes for stone contained some seeds or ‘fruits’ of a ‘stony’ character, as gromel seed, ivy berries, and nearly always saxifrage, i.e. ‘stone-breaker.’ Even date-stones had to be pounded and taken; the idea being that what is naturally ‘stony’ would cure it; that ‘like cures like’ (Henslow).

Acne, arthritis, cancer, canker sores, eczema, gout, hemorrhoids, HIV, kidney stones, lower back pain, inpotence, psoriasis, rheumatism, sciatica, to purify the blood, and ulcers.
Burdock purifies and cleanses the tissues and blood and for this reason should be used gently over a period of time. The whole plant has mild diuretic, sweat inducing, and laxative properties. It is prescribed for skin diseases such as eczema and psoriasis. Burdock has an anti-microbial action which has been attributed to the polyacetylenes in the plant. This explains its reputation for treating skin eruptions such as boils and acne.
The roots and leaves can be used to treat rheumatism and gout because they encourage the elimination of uric acid via the kidneys. The bitter taste of burdock is tonic to the digestive system; the are said to stimulate the secretion of bile.
Burdock leaves are useful externally as a poultice for bruises and skin problems. The fresh, bruised leaves are sometimes used as a remedy for poison ivy. The seeds contain an oil that is used medicinally, but only with medical supervision.
Preparation And Dosages:
Collect the root in the spring or fall of the second year, or when the plant has a stem. The root may be used fresh or dried.
Decoction: Use 1 teaspoon root with 1 cup cold water. Let stand for 5 hours, then bring to a boil. Take 1 cup a day.
Tincture: Fresh root – 1:2, dry root – 1:5 in 60% alcohol. Take 30 to 90 drops in water, chamomile tea, or regular tea, up to three times a day.
Juice: Grate the fresh root and add half again as much water. Squeeze out the liquid. Drink 1 cup a day, a mouthful at a time.

Other Uses:  The leaves of Greater Burdock provide food for the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera, such as the Thistle Ermine (Myelois circumvoluta).

Safety:
Because the roots of burdock closely resemble those of Deadly nightshade (also known as belladonna or Atropa belladonna), there is a risk that burdock preparations may be contaminated with these potentially dangerous herbs. Be sure to buy products from established companies with good reputations. Do not gather burdock in the wild unless you know what you are doing.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://www.indianspringherbs.com/burdock.htm
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/burdoc87.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burdock

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Burdock

Botanical Name: Arctium lappa (LINN.)
Family: Asteraceae/N.O. Compositae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:Asterales
Tribe:Cynareae
Genus:Arctium

Synonyms-:–Lappa. Fox’s Clote. Thorny Burr. Beggar’s Buttons. Cockle Buttons. Love Leaves. Philanthropium. Personata. Happy Major. Clot-Bur.

Parts Used:—Root, herb and seeds (fruits).

Habitat:
Burdock is any of a group of biennial thistles in the genus Arctium, family Asteraceae. Common Burdock (A. minus) grows wild throughout most of North America, Europe and Asia. It grows freely throughout England (though rarely in Scotland) on waste ground and about old buildings, by roadsides and in fairly damp places.
The Burdock, the only British member of its genus, belongs to the Thistle group of the great order, Compositae.

Description:—A stout handsome plant, with large, wavy leaves and round heads of purple flowers. It is enclosed in a globular involucre of long stiff scales with hooked tips, the scales being also often interwoven with a white, cottony substance.
The whole plant is a dull, pale green, the stem about 3 to 4 feet and branched, rising from a biennial root. The lower leaves are very large, on long, solid foot-stalks, furrowed above, frequently more than a foot long heart-shaped and of a grey colour on their under surfaces from the mass of fine down with which they are covered. The upper leaves are much smaller, more egg-shaped in form and not so densely clothed beneath with the grey down.

The plant varies considerably in appearance, and by some botanists various subspecies, or even separate species, have been described, the variations being according to the size of the flower-heads and of the whole plant, the abundance of the whitish cottonlike substance that is sometimes found on the involucres, or the absence of it, the length of the flower-stalks, etc.

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The flower-heads are found expanded during the latter part of the summer and well into the autumn: all the florets are tubular, the stamens dark purple and the styles whitish. The plant owes its dissemination greatly to the little hooked prickles of its involucre, which adhere to everything with which they come in contact, and by attaching themselves to coats of animals are often carried to a distance…..click & see

Plants of the genus Arctium have dark green leaves that can grow up to 18″ (45 cm) long. They are generally large, coarse and ovate, with the lower ones being heart-shaped. They are woolly underneath. The leafstalks are generally hollow. Arctium species generally flower from July through October.

The prickly heads of these Old World plants are noted for easily catching on to fur and clothing, thus providing an excellent mechanism for seed dispersal. Burrs cause local irritation and can possibly cause intestinal hairballs in pets. However, most animals avoid ingesting these plants.

A large number of species have been placed in genus Arctium at one time or another, but most of them are now classified in the related genus Cousinia. The precise limits between Arctium and Cousinia are hard to define; there is an exact correlation between their molecular phylogeny. The burdocks are sometimes confused with the cockleburs (genus Xanthium) and rhubarb (genus Rheum).

The roots of burdock, among other plants, are eaten by the larva of the Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli). The plant is used as a food plant by other Lepidoptera including Brown-tail, Coleophora paripennella, Coleophora peribenanderi, The Gothic, Lime-speck Pug and Scalloped Hazel.

The green, above-ground portions may cause contact dermatitis in humans due to the lactones the plant produces.

Cultivation:–-As the Burdock grows freely in waste places and hedgerows, it can be collected in the wild state, and is seldom worth cultivating.

It will grow in almost any soil, but the roots are formed best in a light well-drained soil. The seeds germinate readily and may be sown directly in the field, either in autumn or early spring, in drills 18 inches to 3 feet apart, sowing 1 inch deep in autumn, but less in spring. The young plants when well up are thinned out to 6 inches apart in the row.

Yields at the rate of 1,500 to 2,000 lb. of dry roots per acre have been obtained from plantations of Burdock.

The roots are dug in July, and should be lifted with a beet-lifter or a deep-running plough. As a rule they are 12 inches or more in length and about 1 inch thick, sometimes, however, they extend 2 to 3 feet, making it necessary to dig by hand. They are fleshy, wrinkled, crowned with a tuft of whitish, soft, hairy leaf-stalks, grey-brown externally, whitish internally, with a somewhat thick bark, about a quarter of the diameter of the root, and soft wood tissues, with a radiate structure.

The seeds (or fruits) are collected when ripe. They are brownish-grey, wrinkled, about 1/4 inch long and 1/16 inch in diameter. They are shaken out of the head and dried by spreading them out on paper in the sun.

Uses:-
The taproot of young burdock plants can be harvested and eaten as a root vegetable. While generally out of favor in modern European cuisine, it remains popular in Asia, particularly in Japan where A. lappa (Greater burdock) is called gobo. Plants are cultivated for their slender roots, which can grow about 1 meter long and 2 cm across. Burdock root is very crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavor with a little muddy harshness that can be reduced by soaking julienne/shredded roots in water for five to ten minutes. Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring, before flowers appear; the taste resembles that of artichoke, to which the burdock is related. A popular Japanese dish is kinpira gobo, julienned or shredded burdock root and carrot, braised with soy sauce, sugar, mirin and/or sake, and sesame oil; another is burdock makizushi (sushi filled with pickled burdock root rather than fish; the burdock root is often artificially colored orange to resemble a carrot). In the second half of the 20th century, burdock achieved international recognition for its culinary use due to the increasing popularity of the macrobiotic diet, which advocates its consumption. It also contains a fair amount of gobo dietary fiber (GDF, 6g per 100g), calcium, potassium, amino acids,  and is also low calorie. It also contains polyphenols that causes darkened surface and muddy harshness by formation of tannin-iron complexes though the harshness shows excellent harmonization with pork in miso soup (tonjiru) and Japanese-style pilaf (takikomi gohan).

Dandelion and burdock is a soft drink that has long been popular in the United Kingdom, and authentic recipes are sold by health food shops, but it is not clear whether the cheaper supermarket versions actually contain either plant. Burdock is believed to be a galactagogue, a substance that increases lactation.

Parts Used Medicinally-:–The dried root from plants of the first year’s growth forms the official drug, but the leaves and fruits (commonly, though erroneously, called seeds) are also used.

Constituents:-–Inulin, mucilage, sugar, a bitter, crystalline glucoside – Lappin-a little resin, fixed and volatile oils, and some tannic acid.
The roots contain starch, and the ashes of the plant, burnt when green, yield carbonate of potash abundantly, and also some nitre.

Burdock root has a sweetish and mucilaginous taste.

Burdock leaves, which are less used than the root, are collected in July. For drying, follow the drying of Coltsfoot leaves. They have a somewhat bitter taste.

Folk herbalists consider dried burdock to be a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent. The seeds of A. lappa are used in traditional Chinese medicine,.

Burdock has been a favorite medicinal herb for centuries and is used for many ailments. Burdock root oil extract, also called Bur oil, is popular in Europe as a scalp treatment applied to improve hair strength, shine and body, help reverse scalp conditions, and combat hair loss. It is used as a natural hair oil to help get rid of scalp itching and dandruff, promote healing of skin and scalp conditions. Modern studies indicate that Burdock root oil extract is rich in phytosterols and essential fatty acids (including rare long chain EFAs), the nutrients required to maintain healthy scalp and promote natural hair growth. Regular use of Burdock oil helps restore and maintain healthy scalp and hair. The oil helps combat scalp itching, redness and dandruff, and promotes recovery of scalp irritation. It combines immediate relieving effect with nutritional support of normal functions of sebaceous glands and hair follicles.

For centuries, Burdock oil has been used to produce Burdock herbal medicines. High-quality Burdock oil has a mild attractive aroma which comes from the volatile root ingredients. This unique aroma may be used to identify genuine Burdock oil and avoid adulterated products.

Medicinal Action and Uses:—Alterative, diuretic and diaphoretic. One of the best blood purifiers. In all skin diseases, it is a certain remedy and has effected a cure in many cases of eczema, either taken alone or combined with other remedies, such as Yellow Dock and Sarsaparilla.

The root is principally employed, but the leaves and seeds are equally valuable. Both root and seeds may be taken as a decoction of 1 OZ. to 1 1/2 pint of water, boiled down to a pint, in doses of a wineglassful, three or four times a day.

The anti-scorbutic properties of the root make the decoction very useful for boils, scurvy and rheumatic affections, and by many it is considered superior to Sarsaparilla, on account of its mucilaginous, demulcent nature; it has in addition been recommended for external use as a wash for ulcers and scaly skin disorders.

An infusion of the leaves is useful to impart strength and tone to the stomach, for some forms of long-standing indigestion.

When applied externally as a poultice, the leaves are highly resolvent for tumours and gouty swellings, and relieve bruises and inflamed surfaces generally. The bruised leaves have been applied by the peasantry in many countries as cataplasms to the feet and as a remedy for hysterical disorders.

From the seeds, both a medicinal tincture and a fluid extract are prepared, of benefit in chronic skin diseases. Americans use the seeds only, considering them more efficacious and prompt in their action than the other parts of the plant. They are relaxant and demulcent, with a limited amount of tonic property. Their influence upon the skin is due largely to their being of such an oily nature: they affect both the sebaceous and sudoriferous glands, and probably owing to their oily nature restore that smoothness to the skin which is a sign of normal healthy action.

The infusion or decoction of the seeds is employed in dropsical complaints, more especially in cases where there is co-existing derangement of the nervous system, and is considered by many to be a specific for all affections of the kidneys, for which it may with advantage be taken several times a day, before meals.

Help taken from: en.wikipedia.org and www.botanical.com

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