This plant is a native of Europe. It grows wild in the northern parts of the U.S. and is also cultivated. The botanical name is from a Celtic word meaning “hand,” because it catches at everything with which is comes in contact.
Only 1 yr. old roots should be used. The leaves and the stems are bitter, while the ROOTS and the SEEDS are somewhat sweet to the taste.
Burdock is considered one of the finest blood purifiers in the herbal system without irritating or nauseating properties. It will slowly influence the skin, soothe the kidneys, and relieve the lymphatics. It is recommended in gouty, scorbutic, venereal, rheumatic, scrofulous, leprous, and nephritic affection.
The SEEDS serve to better advantage than the ROOTS in dropsy, as they are more prompt in manifesting their influence. They will increase the flow of urine and are of service in irritation and inflammation of the bladder, scalding urine, and where a mucous discharge is found in the kidneys and urine. The seeds should be ground or bruised in order to obtain their properties quickly. In hot infusion, they influence the sebaceous glands and are of superior importance in scarlatina, typhoid fever, and other eruptive diseases.
The bruised seeds, 1 oz. simmered in 3/2 pts. water down to 1 pt., strained and taken cold in doses of 1/3 to 1/2 teacupful 3 times daily, are said to be an unfailing remedy in almost all kidney troubles.
In skin troubles, such as rashes, pimples, boils, scurvy, and eczema, the root will give excellent results. It is said that burdock alone has cured eczema. It can be used internally or externally. In these troubles, yellow dock is considered a good addition, bathing the parts affected with a warm decoction frequently and drinking it warm at the same time, 4 to 6 wineglasses daily.
A fine remedy for the itching skin is made as follows: Simmer slowly for 2 hrs., 1# each fresh grated burdock root and leaf lard, 4 oz. suet and 1 oz. bee’s wax. Strain and apply to the affected parts night and morning, at the same time drinking freely of the decoction of the root made of 1 oz. to 1 pint water.
Where there is also derangement of the nervous system, the seeds will have a soothing influence on the nerves.
Burdock root can be substituted for Sarsaparilla or sanicle.
Both root and seed may be taken as a decoction, considered the best form of administration, made of 1 oz. to 3/2 pts. water boiled down to 1 pt. and taken in doses of 1 wine-glassful 3 or 4 times daily.