Burdock, whose scientific name is Arctium lappa, is a biennial herbaceous plant that is part of the large family of Tubuliferous Composites.
It is a vegetable that is also known by the name of great burdock or greater burdock and grows a little in every part of the Italian territory, including the islands.
The flowers of the burdock have a characteristic red-purple color and allow you to color the landscapes in which this plant grows and it is precisely for this reason that we can find it, in many cases, in the portraits of various landscape architects.
The most important characteristic of the burdock plant certainly derives from the presence of the hooked flower heads that make sure to stick to the clothes or, in particular, to the skins of the animals that graze around them, in such a way as to allow the plant a rapid and any other place.
The burdock is a plant that can reach a height of between fifty and one hundred centimeters and which can boast a flowering period from July to October.
The leaves have a characteristic oval shape, while the fruits of the burdock are represented by achenes that can boast a pappus.
In the herbal field, the root of the burdock is mainly used, which is harvested before the flowering period and which must undergo a transversal and longitudinal cutting operation before being dried.
Burdock root is characterized by being extremely rich in inulin (an excellent prebiotic), pollen, polyenes, sterols and many other substances that allow it to perform a rather important bacteriostatic and fungistatic action.
The root is not the only part of the burdock plant that is exploited, since the leaves are also often used: they are harvested during the first vegetative year.
The leaves are also particularly rich in inulin and are characterized by having a bitter principle inside them called arctiopicrina and is probably the cause of the numerous phytotherapeutic properties of this vegetable.
Burdock, especially thanks to its remarkable diuretic and sweat properties, is considered a good purifying agent. In fact, folk medicine also assigns various laxative, antirheumatic and hepatoprotective properties to this vegetable.
The external use of burdock leaves is recommended especially in cases of skin diseases, such as boils, acne, burns and herpes; moreover, the leaves can also boast of particular diaphoretic, purifying and stimulating properties on the liver and gallbladder.
The decoction of burdock can be prepared very easily, since it must be left to macerate for a few hours about 60 grams of dried root for a liter of water: then the mixture will be boiled for about ten minutes, filtered and intake should take place no more than three times a day.
On the other hand, once the root has been crushed and mixed with a little water, an excellent cream can also be obtained, which can be applied directly to the skin and can be used to treat skin conditions of various kinds.
Instead, by soaking the burdock leaves for one night with a little water and vinegar, you can get a good remedy for the treatment against rheumatism.
The decoction of burdock is recommended above all in cases of gout and lithiasis; moreover, when it is made with a little water, by adding a teaspoon of nettle root and several drops of almond oil, it is possible to obtain a good hair lotion, able to perform a strengthening action.
On the market, especially in the herbal field, we can find a whole series of products that have been made based on burdock or parts of it.
For example, we have the opportunity to purchase burdock syrups that have a beneficial action against boils, or burdock-based products that are essentially used to combat hair loss and are particularly useful in cases of oily scalp.
Furthermore, we must not forget the various products based on burdock in the form of capsules, which counteract the seborrheic processes, but there are also various purifying tonics; in the same way, we can find bottles containing tablets or tablets that perform a diuretic and purifying action essentially in the liver, in addition to normalizing the glycemic rate.
The burdock plant has no particular contraindications; only those suffering from diabetes, before providing for its use with too high doses, it is better to notify the doctor, since the simultaneous use of synthetic hypoglycemic agents and burdock could cause high and excessive reductions in blood sugar.
In addition, it is always better to avoid using the burdock plant or some products that contain its components, during maternity or during pregnancy.