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Arctium lappa L. Asteraceae. Greater Burdock. Distribution: Europe to India and Japan. Dioscorides (Beck, 2003) writes: '... helps those who spit blood and who suffer from abscesses ... plastered on it stems the pains around the joints that stem from twistings. The Leaves are applied beneficially on old ulcers.' Culpeper (1650) writes: ‘Burdanae, etc. Of Bur, Clot-Bur or Burdock, ... helps such as spit blood and matter, bruised and mixed salt and applied to the place, helpeth the bitings of mad dogs. It expels wind, easeth pains of the teeth, strengthens the back, helps the running of the reins, and the whites in women, being taken inwardly.’ The roots contain inulin, which is made into a non-digestible sweetener for diabetics. It has a multitude of uses in herbal medicine, in particular it is a component of a compound called ‘essiac’ that has been widely used as a treatment of cancers in the USA, but which is of no proven benefit. The young roots can be eaten raw or cooked. The seeds are hairy and care should be taken when harvesting them as inhaled they are reported as ‘toxic’. The root is licensed for use in Traditional Herbal Medicines in the UK (UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)). Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

Dr Henry Oakeley

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view Arctium lappa L. Asteraceae. Greater Burdock. Distribution: Europe to India and Japan. Dioscorides (Beck, 2003) writes: '... helps those who spit blood and who suffer from abscesses ... plastered on it stems the pains around the joints that stem from twistings. The Leaves are applied beneficially on old ulcers.' Culpeper (1650) writes: ‘Burdanae, etc. Of Bur, Clot-Bur or Burdock, ... helps such as spit blood and matter, bruised and mixed salt and applied to the place, helpeth the bitings of mad dogs. It expels wind, easeth pains of the teeth, strengthens the back, helps the running of the reins, and the whites in women, being taken inwardly.’ The roots contain inulin, which is made into a non-digestible sweetener for diabetics. It has a multitude of uses in herbal medicine, in particular it is a component of a compound called ‘essiac’ that has been widely used as a treatment of cancers in the USA, but which is of no proven benefit. The young roots can be eaten raw or cooked. The seeds are hairy and care should be taken when harvesting them as inhaled they are reported as ‘toxic’. The root is licensed for use in Traditional Herbal Medicines in the UK (UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)). Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.
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Credit: Arctium lappa L. Asteraceae. Greater Burdock. Distribution: Europe to India and Japan. Dioscorides (Beck, 2003) writes: '... helps those who spit blood and who suffer from abscesses ... plastered on it stems the pains around the joints that stem from twistings. The Leaves are applied beneficially on old ulcers.' Culpeper (1650) writes: ‘Burdanae, etc. Of Bur, Clot-Bur or Burdock, ... helps such as spit blood and matter, bruised and mixed salt and applied to the place, helpeth the bitings of mad dogs. It expels wind, easeth pains of the teeth, strengthens the back, helps the running of the reins, and the whites in women, being taken inwardly.’ The roots contain inulin, which is made into a non-digestible sweetener for diabetics. It has a multitude of uses in herbal medicine, in particular it is a component of a compound called ‘essiac’ that has been widely used as a treatment of cancers in the USA, but which is of no proven benefit. The young roots can be eaten raw or cooked. The seeds are hairy and care should be taken when harvesting them as inhaled they are reported as ‘toxic’. The root is licensed for use in Traditional Herbal Medicines in the UK (UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)). Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London. Credit: Dr Henry Oakeley. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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