Burdock Facts

Burdock Facts
Burdock is herbaceous plant that belongs to the daisy family. It originates from northern parts of Europe and Siberia, but it can be found around the world today. Burdock is classified as invasive weed in the majority of countries outside its native range. It easily occupies pastures and agricultural fields and decreases yield of commercially important crops. Burdock is mainly cultivated in Asia today, where it represents important part of human diet and inevitable part of folk medicine.
Interesting Burdock Facts:
Burdock develops thick, hairy stem that can reach 3 to 5 feet in height.
Burdock has 2 to 3 feet-long tuber with brown, woody skin on the surface and white, fibrous flesh inside.
Burdock develops large, broad, heart-shaped, coarse leaves with wavy margins. Leaves are dark green on the upper surface and whitish (hairy) on the bottom side. Leaves grow in the form of rosette near the surface of the ground during the first year of growth. Multi-branched flowering stem (formed during the second year of growth) bears smaller, alternately arranged leaves.
Burdock produces purple-reddish flowers heads surrounded with hooked bracts (modified leaves) which become stiff after drying of flowers.
Burdock blooms from June to October. Flowers attract insects which are responsible for the pollination of this plant.
Flower heads transform into prickly burrs composed of 30 to 40 grey or brown, wedge-shaped seed hidden inside spherical pods (simple dry fruit called achene).
Prickles facilitate dispersal of seed (they attach to the fur of animals that are passing near the plant). Burrs often induce irritation of eye, throat and stomach of livestock.
Young stem and leaves of burdock can be consumed as leafy vegetable. Stem tastes like an artichoke.
Tuber is more commonly used in human diet. It has sweet, parsnip- or Jerusalem artichoke-like flavor and crispy texture.
Tuber is rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins C, E and vitamins of the B group and minerals such as potassium, iron, manganese and magnesium.
Tuber needs to be thermally processed before consumption. Cooked burdock can be consumed with butter and salt or used for the preparation of soups and various dishes made of pork and vegetables.
Tuber contains inulin (type of dietary fibers) which improves digestion, regulates blood sugar level and lowers cholesterol level.
Burdock was used in the manufacture of beer before it was replaced with hop. This practice was popular in Europe in the past.
All parts of burdock can be used in medical purposes. Burdock is available in the form of tinctures, fluid extracts, capsules and teas. It can be used for the purification of blood, in treatment of eczema, dry skin, acne, liver and gallbladder disorders, sore throat and chest ailments.
Burdock is biennial plant, which means that it completes its life cycle in two years.

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