Arctium lappa or burdock can reach up to 10 ft (3M) tall and is cultivated as a root vegetable. It is a beneficial herb for detoxifying and cleansing in both Western and traditional Chinese medicine.
The plant thrives and is considered a weed by many. Its prickly seedpod was the inspiration for velcro -- as they seem to stick to whom or whatever passes by. Its leaves are huge and it spreads its seed pod and grows quiet aggressively.
Burdock root can be steamed or cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Burdock can be used in place of carrots or added to soups or stews. It's tasty and easy to cook. "Medicine" at its finest.
And burdock can be used in teas, decoctions, and tinctures to support the skin and liver. Powdered burdock can even be made into pastilles or drops.
Burdock can also be used externally as well. A tea can be used in the bathwater or by soaking a cleansing cloth in the tea.
Burdock is said to be a "cooling" herb and when used as a tincture can be used several times daily for a month or so to help calm a stressed liver.
Burdock is also used to support the lymph system. When there is lymph stagnation one suggestion is to drink 3 to 4 cups of burdock tea for several days.
As far as safety goes burdock has an excellent track record. It is widely used and one of the safest herbs available. However master herbalists suggest to stick to using burdock as food in reasonable doses when pregnant. And if you are taking pharmaceuticals burdock increase absorption of drugs as it can support healthy digestion and better nutrient assimilation. As always consult any health care professional you are working with.
I of course use essential oils, carriers, and butters to support the skin and liver topically but burdock (especially when used alongside that other friendly weed -- dandelion) can be a safe, effective way to further enhance the benefits of aromatherapy.
I began making a honey face wash years ago for my daughter that she used alongside a hydrosol and lotion. I had a recently request for something similar but this time I also added in a burdock tea to be taken daily for two weeks to support the body both inside and out.
If you have questions about burdock, aromatherapy, essential oils, etc. contact Tricia.