Burdock: The plant can be consumed both as food and as herbal medicine

Doug Williams
 
Christian Fischer
CC BY-SA 3.0
Christian Fischer CC BY-SA 3.0

While having a peaceful walk through serene woodlands, you may have come across sticky burrs clinging to your trousers after passing through some tall leafy plants. Annoying and intimidating they may seem, these spiky balls have much more to offer, and its benefits are surprisingly in conflict with its repellent character.

 

Known as Burdock, these grow on a tall plant that could sprout out as tall as 4 feet with purple flowers that blossom during the height of summer. And the best way to deal with these annoying sticky balls is to, well, eat them.

Surprisingly Burdock is edible, both the roots and the plant itself are edible carrying numerous health benefits. You may have come across a drink with a rather horrible brown color and great taste called Dandelion and Burdock containing traces of Burdock. The plant can be consumed both as food and as herbal medicine.

It is a known fact that there is much more to learn from the past; archaeologists and anthropologists overwhelmingly agree on the fact that the ancients had more wisdom and understanding of the natural world then we give them credit for. A large number of modern medicines have been derived from the ancient practices, and there is still much more to learn from the ancient lost wisdom. Perhaps the most famous of all is the use of Aspirin which was understood and used by the ancient Egyptians from its naturally occurring form of Salicin; it was used as a pain relief medicine by the Egyptians.

The history of the Burdock’s usage as medicine and food goes back hundreds of years; Europeans were perhaps the first people who discovered the medicinal benefits of the plant and decided to use it to cure various ailments. Going to the east, Indians and Chinese used the Burdock to treat a number of complaints including various colds and flu. In the South American regions and in North America, people historically used the plant to treat gout, leprosy, and syphilis.

The medicinal application of the Burdock plant spans over a number of various minor and major illnesses. The Chinese have been recorded to have used the plant for various skin complaints such as eczema and acne.

In the most recent history Burdock gained the popular press – mostly negative- starting in 1950’s in the United States. This was the time when the cure of the cancer was the talk of the town and everyone waited for an authentic cure for cancer which was killing many people in the west especially in Americas. Many people did not hear about the plant or its medicinal uses, and then a doctor announced that he had prepared a concoction of various wild herbs including the Burdock that could cure many cancers without dangerous treatments. The doctor had to face a case of concealing information about the ingredients on the label by the FDA. There have been various scientific researches conducted to analyze Burdock’s effect on the cancer cells, and experts have varying verdicts on the matter.

 

 
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