Great Burdock (Arctium Lappa) - Very Useful Herb for Diabetes

Great Burdock

Arctium lappa (A. majus) Asteraceae

Common throughout the northern hemisphere, great burdock isgenerally regarded as a weed. The plant thrives on roadsides andbuilding sites and grows to almost 1 m tall. Its flowerheads, covered in spiny hooks that stick to fur and clothing, inspired the inventors if the Velcro fastening system.

Parts used

  • Roots and leaves
  • The wrinkled greyish brown root is whitish and hard inside.
  • The plant is harvested in July just before flowering.
  • The root is used mainly for extracts and powders; the bitter-tasting leaves are used in infusions.
  • In herbal medicine, great burdock is often combined with other plants.


Burdock root stores plant sugars known as inulin: the sweetness can be tasted when the root is chewed. It also contains antibacterial and antifungal compounds. The leaves contain arctiopicrin, a bitter substance responsible for the plant's characteristic taste.

Medicinal uses

In traditional medicine, burdock root was used mainly to cleanse the blood and to treat eczema and psoriasis. Leaf poultices were applied to painful rheumatic joints.
Today, the plant is still used for skin disorders: the leaf is prescribed topically in creams or lotions for cracked weeping skin, grazes and insect bites, while the root is taken internally for ailments associated with oily skin such as acne, boils and other spots.The root has diuretic and purging effects, aiding the removal of the body's waste products and making it a useful detoxifier.

Experiments have shown that the root has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also lowers blood sugar levels and may have potential in the treatment of diabetes.
Root extracts have oestrogenic effects and could prove useful in treating menstrual disorders.


  • No toxicity or side effects have been recorded to date.
  • Do not give to children under 15. . Do not take in pregnancy.
  • Do not use burdock if you are suffering from diarrhea.


Sow seeds in spring in a wild part of the garden. Burdock does well on rough ground in a sunny location.


For internal use

TO TREAT skin complaints acne, spots, boils, whitlows. INFUSION Put 5g dried leaves into 1 litre of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 2 cups a day.

CAPSULES (350g root powder) Take 1 capsule three times a day before meals with a glass of water. The dose may be increased to 5 capsules a day. For external use

TO TREAT eczema, itching, cracked skin, grazes, insect bites CREAMS, OINTMENTS, LOTIONS Apply as directed by the manufacturer.



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