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a genus of plants of the family Compositae. Members are biennial large grasses with large leaves. The blossoms are monoecious, tubular, and usually purple, in round calathides that are gathered into a common raceme. When the fruits ripen the calathides readily break off, sticking to the coats of animals and the clothing of man. The achenes are compact and have a crest of numerous rows of fibers.
There are about ten species in temperate areas of Europe and Asia; the USSR has six to eight species that grow primarily in inhabited areas, trash heaps, deserted areas, along roads, and in vegetable gardens; they sometimes infest cultivated fields. The most common are cotton burdock (A. tomentosum) and common burdock (A. lappa, A. majus). A decoction from the roots, which contain inuline, organic acids, essential oils, and other substances, is used as a diuretic and diaphoretic; a tincture of the roots with almond or olive oil is used as a hair tonic. Decoctions and pastes from the roots are also used in treating rheumatism, gout, and skin diseases. Young roots and shoots are edible. The plants are rich in nectar.
REFERENCEAtlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow 1962.
T. V. EGOROVA