name = Burdock
image_width = 250px
divisio = Magnoliophyta
Cynareaecite web | url = http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=20706 | title = tribe Cynareae | work = Flora of North America | accessdate = 2008-01-04 ]
genus = "Arctium"
subdivision_ranks = Species
*"A. minus nemorosum"
Burdock is any of a group of biennial
thistles in the genus"Arctium", family Asteraceae. Native to the Old World, several species have been widely introduced worldwide.cite web | url = http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=102484 | title = Arctium | work = Flora of North America | accessdate = 2008-01-04 ]
Plants of the genus "Arctium" have dark green leaves that can grow up to 18" (45 cm) long. They are generally large, coarse and ovate, with the lower ones being heart-shaped. They are woolly underneath. The leafstalks are generally hollow. "Arctium" species generally flower from July through to October.
The prickly heads of these plants are noted for easily catching on to fur and clothing, thus providing an excellent mechanism for
seed dispersal. Burrs cause local irritation and can possibly cause intestinal hairballs in pets. However, most animals avoid ingesting these plants.
A large number of species have been placed in genus "Arctium" at one time or another, but most of them are now classified in the related genus "
Cousinia". The precise limits between "Arctium" and "Cousinia" are hard to define; there is an exact correlation between their molecular phylogeny. The burdocks are sometimes confused with the cockleburs (genus "Xanthium") and rhubarb(genus "Rheum").
roots of burdock, among other plants, are eaten by the larvaof the Ghost Moth("Hepialus humuli"). The plant is used as a food plant by other Lepidopteraincluding Brown-tail, "Coleophora paripennella", "Coleophora peribenanderi", The Gothic, Lime-speck Pugand Scalloped Hazel.
The green, above-ground portions may cause
contact dermatitisin humans due to the lactones the plant produces.
Food and drink
taprootof young burdock plants can be harvested and eaten as a root vegetable. While generally out of favour in modern European cuisine, it remains popular in Asia, particularly in Japan where "A. lappa ( Greater burdock)" is called "gobō" (牛蒡 or ゴボウ). Plants are cultivated for their slender roots, which can grow about 1 metre long and 2 cm across. Burdock root is very crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavour with a little muddy harshness that can be reduced by soaking julienne/shredded roots in water for five to ten minutes. Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring, before flowers appear; the taste resembles that of artichoke, to which the burdock is related. A popular Japanese dish is " kinpiragobō", julienned or shredded burdock root and carrot, braised with soy sauce, sugar, mirinand/or sake, and sesame oil; another is burdock makizushi ( sushifilled with pickled burdock root rather than fish; the burdock root is often artificially coloured orange to resemble a carrot). In the second half of the 20th century, burdock achieved international recognition for its culinary use due to the increasing popularity of the macrobiotic diet, which advocates its consumption. It also contains a fair amount of gobō dietary fiber(GDF, 6g per 100g), calcium, potassium, amino acids, [ [http://www.nikkeibp.co.jp/wcs/leaf/CID/onair/kenkou/plus/419412 nikkeibp.co.jp] ] and is also low calorie. It also contains polyphenols that causes darkened surface and muddy harshness by formation of tannin-iron complexes though the harshness shows excellent harmonization with porkin miso soup ( tonjiru) and Japanese-style pilaf( takikomi gohan).
Dandelion and burdock" is a soft drinkthat has long been popular in the United Kingdom. Burdock is believed to be a galactagogue, a substance that increases lactation.
Italian Americans are known to use the peeled stems of the burdock. Referred to as "cardune", these stems are prepared in a battered frittata, a common dish on a St. Joseph's Day Table.
Folk herbalists consider dried burdock to be a
diuretic, diaphoretic, and a bloodpurifying agent. The seeds of "A. lappa" are used in traditional Chinese medicine, under the name "niupangzi" (zh-cp|c=牛蒡子|p=niúpángzi; Some dictionaries list the Chinese as just 牛蒡 niúbàng.)
Burdock is a traditional
medicinal herbthat is used for many ailments. Burdock root oil extract, also called Bur oil, is popular in Europe as a scalp treatment applied to improve hair strength, shine and body, help reverse scalp conditions such as dandruff, and combat hair loss. Modern studies Fact|date=July 2007 indicate that Burdock root oil extract is rich in phytosterolsand essential fatty acids(including rare long-chain EFAs), the nutrients required to maintain a healthy scalp and promote natural hair growth. It combines an immediate relieving effect with nutritional support of normal functions of sebaceous glandsand hair follicles.
According to some European herbalists, combining Burdock root oil with a Nettle root oil and massaging these two oils into the scalp every day has a greater effect than Bur oil alone. Fact|date=July 2007
Burdock has been used for centuries as a blood purifier clearing the bloodstream of some toxins, and as a diuretic (helping rid the body of excess water by increasing urine output), and as a topical remedy for skin problems such as acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
Burdock and Velcro
After taking his dog for a walk one day in the early 1940s,
George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, became curious about the seeds of the burdock plant that had attached themselves to his clothes and to the dog's fur. Under a microscope, he looked closely at the hook-and-loop system that the seeds use to hitchhike on passing animals aiding seed dispersal, and he realised that the same approach could be used to join other things together. The result was Velcro.
Russian writer Leo Tolstoywrote in his journal, in 1896, about a tiny shoot of burdock he saw in a ploughed field, “black from dust but still alive and red in the center … It makes me want to write. It asserts life to the end, and alone in the midst of the whole field, somehow or other had asserted it.”
* "Arctium lappa" :
Greater Burdock, Gobō
* "Arctium minus" :
Lesser Burdock, Burweed, Louse-bur, Button-bur
** "Arctium minus nemorosum" (="Arctium vulgare") :
Woodland Burdock, Wood Burdock
* "Arctium pubens" :
* "Arctium tomentosum" :
Downy Burdock, Woolly Burdock
Because the roots of burdock closely resemble those of
Deadly nightshade(also known as belladonna or Atropa belladonna), there is a risk that burdock preparations may be contaminated with these potentially dangerous herbs. Be sure to buy products from established companies with good reputations. Do not gather burdock in the wild unless you know what you are doing.
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