Burdock’s sweet, carrot-like roots have been eaten in Japan and China for thousands of years as a nourishing and cleansing vegetable, while the roots, leaf, and seeds are used medicinally in Europe and the West as a spring tonic to uplift and purify. Classified as an herbal “Alterative,” Burdock’s actions are both physiological and rooted in esoteric, plant wisdom. An alterative is a gentle yet profound herb that can gradually restore balance and function in the body, increasing vitality and vigor through direct action on the cell and assisting elimination of waste. Burdock’s action is “related to bitter stimulation of digestive juice secretion, especially bile secretion. Thus it helps with digestion and appetite…Burdock will move the body into a state of integration and health, improving indicators of systemic imbalance” (Hoffman, 528). Burdock is gently moving and easily complements any detox formula.
In broad terms, an alterative herb assists the metabolic process and improves nutrition, movement, and elimination. David Hoffman describes alterative herbs “as helping the body eliminate waste though kidneys, liver, lungs and skin… Alteratives can be used safely as supportive therapy in many diverse conditions and should be considered first in cases of chronic inflammatory and degenerative disease” (485). From a clinical perspective we see that Burdock can aid these conditions through its innate ability to assist the breakdown and removal of metabolic waste. When the body is unable to keep up with its own immunological or inflammatory reactions, a watershed of discomfort and symptomology can occur, much like a sewer system getting backed up, or an electrical current on the fritz. Burdock gently encourages the system to remove waste at a proper rate without overstimulation, while simultaneously providing nutritional building blocks to invigorate and sustain the body.
Burdock is a gentle tonic that cleanses, supports digestion of the modern diet, increases digestive fire, mends inflammatory and impure skin conditions like acne and boils, and invigorates the body. Lean on Burdock to harmonize, and rebalance the immune system when stimulants like Echinacea are counter indicated.
Reference & Reading List:
- Medical Herbalism the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine, By Daivid Hoffman
- Herbal Vade Mecum by Herbacy Press
- Western Herbal Energetics by Paul Bergner
- Herbal Tinctures in Clinical Practice: Second Edition by Michael Moore
- An Elders Herbal – David Hoffman
- Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health by Aviva Romm
Written by Elizabeth Willis, Clinical Herbalist and Nutritionist
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.