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burdock (bûrˈdäk), common name of any plant of the genus Arctium of the family Asteraceae (aster family), coarse biennials indigenous to temperate Eurasia and mostly weedy in North America. The flowers, usually purple, are followed by roundish many-seeded burs. The great burdock (A. lappa) has been used medicinally and (in Japan) cultivated as a vegetable called gobo. The young leaves are eaten as a salad in Scandinavia and Japan. The common burdock is A. minus. The cocklebur is sometimes confused with burdock. Burdock is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
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Where the idea for velcro came from- the spiky round seed pods stick to clothing. There are not many plants that can clean your liver, rebuild your blood and feed probiotics better than burdock root. Large rhubarb-like leaves. Reddish-purple thistle-like flowers. Very popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-tumor herb, strong liver purifier, detoxer and blood cleanser. Because it cleans blood so well, that makes it one of nature's great SKIN cleansers for acne, rashes, infections, psoriasis, eczema, etc. Removes acids from the blood. Helps remove heavy metals. Great for eczema, psoriasis, herpes, ringworm, even gonorrhea. Balances hormones, arthritic and gland problems. Very rich in minerals and trace minerals for bone, cartilage, tendon and ligament formation. It’s half inulin, a great food source for probiotics and intestinal gut flora. Only the very young leaves emerging in the spring are consumable. (blend in smoothies etc) Don't eat the big leaves- the root and seeds are the parts you want. You can make tea or powder with them. Slice up the root and cook on top of potatoes for super delicious meal, or dry, grind into powder and add to food and drink. You want the roots from the first year growth, not the older stuff which turns to wood and starts to decay. It's a biannual, just like wild carrot. Burdock Seeds have been used to help everything from flu to smallpox and scarlet fever. You can grind up the prickly seed pods into powder and add to food, drinks, or use fresh as a breakfast cereal, porridge or pancakes. Store seeds to sprout in winter for consumption. Seeds lower blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. The root gives you strength and vitality. Can be used like a carrot. The young flowering green or purple spike-pods can be made into an ointment and used on skin to effectively help clear up acne. Take a handful of the flowering spike-pods and put in oil (like olive oil), and let sit for a week. Then squeeze the plant so all the good stuff goes into the oil. What you are left with is a medicinal burdock oil to put on your skin. Meanwhile, take the seeds and root internally to help clean the body from the inside out, so you're hitting the problem from the inside and the outside at the same time. Of course you must stop whatever is causing the problem in the first place (bad food choices etc). Do not confuse burdock leaves with rhubarb leaves, which are poisonous. Burdock has purple-pink flowers and velcro-like burr clusters that stick to your clothes. Rhubarb has greenish white or rose reddish clumpy flower clusters. Young burdock shoots and small young leaves can be consumed, but not mature ones.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
a coarse weedy Eurasian plant of the genus Arctium, having large heart-shaped leaves, tiny purple flowers surrounded by hooked bristles, and burlike fruits: family Asteraceae (composites)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005