Wednesday, October 6, 2010

OCTOBER 2010 HERB/SPICE OF THE MONTH

burdock (Arctium lappa)

NUTRITIONAL INFO:
125 g has 6% calcium, 5% vit C, 5% iron, 17% vit B6, 12% magnesium, 12% phosphorus, 13% potassium, 17% manganese (daily values based on a 2,000 calorie diet)(9)

MEDICINAL USE:
Support for liver, urinary tract, and skin. (1)
Researchers have found it specifically fights HIV. (2)
It's a detoxifying herb; cleanses body of waste products, including heavy metals. It's often combined with dandelion to make a cleansing tonic drink. (3)
Anti-tumor activity (see Recipe below for Essiac tea). (6)
Medicinal parts: root, seeds (only under medical supervision), leaves. Aperient, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic. The decoction (see Recipe below) of the root is aperient but may cause constipation in some. Both the decoction & tincture can be used for stomach ailments. Use fresh leaves for liver problems. A decoction of leaves is also good for sores & acne. (5)

MORE....
Use roots fresh or dried. Slice root before drying. (1)
Collect root in spring or fall of second year (when plant has a stem) (5)
Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for sore throats & colds. Eaten in Japan & some parts of Europe as a veggie. Recent studies show that burdock has prebiotic properties that can improve health. May have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, & antibacterial effects. Burdock is a member of the daisy family, but is generally considered a weed that has burrs that stick to clothing. (8)

CULTIVATION:
3-4' tall biennial. Full sun, moderate water. Sow seeds direct into garden early in spring (can stratify first by putting seeds in moistened peat moss or sand in a reclosable plastic bag & place in refrigerator til they start to sprout; then plant seeds). Space 18" apart & water moderately. Readily self-sows. Roots are harvested in fall of first year or in spring of second year. Deep taproots will require needle-nose spade or garden fork to lift out. Seed burrs may be picked in late fall of second year - do not harvest burs left over from previous year's plants in the spring...they'll probably be full of bugs. (1)

CAUTION:
Burdock is a uterine stimulant & should not be used by pregnant women. Some people may be allergic to burdock. (6)
Generally believed to be safe when taken by mouth in recommended doses for short periods of time. May cause increases or reductions in blood sugar levels & electrolyte imbalances. Caution also if you're taking prescription drugs. (7)

SOURCES:
1) Hartung, Tammi. Growing 101 Herbs That Heal. Pownal, VT: Storey Books, 2000.
2) Duke, James, PhD. The Green Pharmacy. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1997.
3) Chevallier, Andrew. Herbal Remedies. NY, NY: DK Publishing, 2007.
4) http://curezone.com/foods/essiac.html
5) Lust, John. The Herb Book. NY, NY: Bantam Books, 1974.
6) Castleman, Michael. The New Healing Herbs. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 2001.
7) http://www.all4naturalhealth.com/side-effects-of-burdock-root.html
8) http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/burdock-000227.htm
9) http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2823/2

RECIPE(S) OF THE MONTH:

Decoction: 1 t root in 1 c cold water; let stand 5 hours, then bring to boil. Take 1 cup/day for short period of time. (5)

Essiac Tea: 20 parts burdock root, 4 parts slippery elm bark, 1 part Turkish rhubarb root, 16 parts sheep sorrell, 1 part Blessed Thistle, 1 part kelp (seaweed), 1 part red clover, 1 part watercress. See Source #4 for instructions.

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