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Articum lappa

Arctium lappa                           Common name: Burdock

Parts used:  Root, seeds & leaves

Constituents:  Root: up to 50% inulin (polysaccharides), tannin (phlobaphone), polyacetylenes (sulphur containing), volatile acids (acetic, proprionic, butyric, isovaleric), non-hydroxyl acids (lauric, myristic, stearic, palmitic), polyphenolic acids, and sesquiterpene lactones (arctiopicrin). Seed: 15-30% fixed oils, a bitter glycoside (arctiin) and chlorogenic acid.  Leaf: arctiol, fukinone, and taraxasterol.

Medicinal actions:  Alterative, anti-mutagenic, diuretic, diaphoretic, mild laxative, immunostimulatory, anti-inflammatory, bitter digestive stimulant & hepatoprotective, antimicrobial


Medicinal use: Alteratives may act through a combination of effects including: choleretic, cholagogue, enhancing detoxification pathways in the liver, increasing cellular metabolism, laxative, nerve tonic, and stimulation of glandular functioning. Arctium is useful in conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, and possibly in the treatment of cancer. It is a useful adjunct in the treatment of rhuematoid arthritis and tonic to the digestive system.


  • Polysaccharides like mucilage & inulin are soothing to the digestive tract and immunostimulant.
  • Polyacetylenes & Sesquiterpene lactone arctiopicrin is bitter glycoside and and antibiotic

Pharmacy: Infusion: 1 tsp root/cup; 1 cup TID for several weeks. Tincture: (1:5, 40%), 2-4 ml TID. Best when used long-term.

Toxicity:  None reported, although a gentle approach with this herb is advisable since it can be a powerful detoxifier in some individuals.

Interactions: Increases gut motility, thus may theoretically decrease absorption of medications taken simultaneously.




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