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Burdock...Queen of the Herbs!

     These photos are fresh. I have just been down to a local nature reserve, near where I live, to take them.  I have been following the progress of this glorious patch of Arctium lappa (Burdock) since the early spring.
     The signatures of Burdock are complex (From the Doctrine of Signatures, an old but presently applied belief system that states the Creator placed a signature or sign on plants to indicate their healing value).  I believe that signatures go beyond the physical attributes or specific resemblance to body parts and can also encompass smell, taste, sound and feel.
     If we look at the first picture we see that  Burdock is spreading and widely reaching.  It is also strong and assured looking.  This reflects the plant itself, which is wide reaching and reliable in the systems it affects.
     One of the organs most affected by Burdock's far reaching action is the skin.  In the second picture we see the signature of the skin in the leaves, which are greatly similar in their structure to human well as the underlying vessels that serve it, implying a deeper working in skin disease than a superficial one.  The exceptionally large leaves suggests the equally large surface space occupied by our own skin in comparison to other organs of the body. Burdock is particularly specific for skin conditions that cause the point of scratching.  This specific action is reflected in the burrs themselves, as seen in the lower picture.  We see this same affiliation in other herbs of a scratching nature such as Clivers (Galium aperine) or Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) both herbs known to be excellent in the treatment of skin conditions.
     Skin conditions usually signify a toxic state of the blood.  Burdock has an effect on three major organs that play a role in keeping the blood in top form; The Liver, The Kidneys and the Skin.  It improves the action of both the Liver and the Kidneys and facilitates the removal of toxins from the body through its diaphoretic and diuretic action.
     However, Burdock's action goes deeper than that.  As a bitter herb, it is naturally cooling.  Its action in improving Liver function takes physical heat from the body.  There is also an emotional element to this function.  The liver is the centre of physical heat in the body, but it is also the centre of emotional heat, in the form of anger.  Like its roots, which run deep, Burdock can affect that deep seated and unreleased anger that sits in the liver and is directed at ones self.  It is also useful against the unresolved outward anger (anger against others) that gathers and stores in the gallbladder.  If such anger remains unresolved it hardens and rubs....and causes intermittent expressions of pain...usually expressed as gall stones in the physical sate.
     When I am mixing herbs I try to find one that matches a patient profile closely.  Burdock comes to mind quite often.  You will understand this when you think of how many people you know with unresolved anger from the past.  How many of those have gall stones?  How many have "hot" (itching/irritating) skin conditions  Guided by this understanding of plant/patient profiles, the most empathetic plant to the overall patient condition forms the primary role in my prescription while other herbs are chosen to complement and support the character of the dominant herb.
     The leaves, roots and seeds of Burdock are gathered by herbalists.  Traditionally, roots are taken from first year plants at the end of the growing season ( Autumn).  It is good if you are gathering the herb from the wild that you take it from a place where Burdock has grown regularly over the years as first year plants do not go on to develop the burs that help with identification.  Alternatively, you can grow some yourself in your garden or vegetable patch.  The roots are edible as a vegetable while the leaves can be made into tea.  I have also used the leaves, in combination with other herbs, in a salad.
     Burdock is said to be drying.  This would make sense with respect to its diuretic and diaphoretic action.  Perhaps this is why it is said to work best in the form of an infusion...the extra liquid intake working to balance its action.  
     For me Burdock has a strong connection to the water element, the moon and the feminine.  Its roots contain much mucilage...and it does like damp, albeit well drained,  habitats.  Its connection to the water element will mean it has a role to play in heat and inflammation in the body.  We have already established it as a cooling plant.  It takes heat from the body by improving the liver function and, thus, the digestive process in well as through its role as diaphoretic in fever or diuretic in inflammatory conditions of the urinary organs.
     For me, many plants with that water-moon -feminine connection are bound by a common signature....They all tend to have a white/silveriness to the underside of their leaves.  I would like to explore this idea in another blog.  In the meantime, start to jot down all the plants you find with a whiteness under their leaf...and see what their connection is to water-moon-feminine..and what role might the water element play in imbalances within the human condition?
Health and Happiness
The Green Man  

32 Comments to Burdock...Queen of the Herbs!:

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Sabine on 26 August 2013 15:52
Thanks for the article on Burdock. A lot of useful information you don't find in any of the books. Please keep them coming. Sabine
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replica omega on 15 November 2013 04:00
good news!

The Green Man on 27 August 2013 20:36
Hey Sabine! Thanks for your kind comments. I am glad that my posts are helping you develop a different perspective on herbs...above and beyond the more reductionist approach. I hope you are well and things are progressing nicely for you. Drop me a line if you get time....I would like to know how things are developing. Cheers!
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download on 11 June 2014 16:00
For me, many plants with that water-moon -feminine connection are bound by a common signature....They all tend to have a white/silveriness to the underside of their leaves. I would like to explore this idea in another blog. In the meantime, start to jot down all the plants you find with a whiteness under their leaf...and see what their connection is to water-moon-feminine..and what role might the water element play in imbalances within the human condition?

Half Marathon training tips on 19 December 2013 15:35
The outstandingly vast leaves recommends the similarly substantial surface space possessed by our own particular skin in examination to different organs of the form.
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The Green Man on 20 December 2013 01:00
The vast leaves...and certain aspects of their structure (as outlined in the post) suggests our skin...yes. And in respect to the doctrine of signatures, serves as a clue to one of the organs that might benefit from this wonderful plant.

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cloudwords on 22 February 2014 18:07
I bear still trite the decamps, in consolidate with choice herbs, in a salad. Alternatively, you can reproduce some yourself in your bliss or vegetable patch. The plods are eatable as a vegetable prolong the rights can be made beneficial liquor.
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Ask doctor online chat on 26 March 2014 12:42
Nice post!! Herbs are used to treat throat infections,coughs and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract.
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The Green Man on 26 March 2014 17:34
Dear "Ask Doctor", thank you for your comments. I was not certain if your last line was a statement or a question as there was no question mark at the end. However, it is true that herbs can be used for the conditions you have listed. In another post, I wrote how I used some fresh herbs to stop a cough of mine that was disturbing the sleep of others during a camping trip. Herbs can be used for these conditions but attempts should always be made to use them in a way that is supportive to the body's own healing efforts...rather than use them for anit-bacterial properties. Bacteria are opportunists and take hold where the soil in the body is right for them...(See my post about Soil and Cycles...) If you kill the bacteria outright, then you deny the body an opportunity to strengthen its own immune system. Herbs that support expulsion and strengthen the body's own immune efforts (if needed at all) are the first choice in such situations. There are many ways to apply herbs...but they do not all originate from the same tradition or understanding. It isn't just what you use, but how you use it that matters.
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The Green Man on 29 March 2014 09:43
Dear Traffic Management Thank you for your kind comments. I hope you will return and read some of the other articles on my blog, and that they will continue to captivate your attention, inform you....and inspire you to weave herbs into the daily fabric of your life.
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The Green Man on 02 April 2014 12:24
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The Green Man on 22 April 2014 09:03
Dear Argan Oil Thank you for your remark. I am sure your product has many benefits to offer as do many natural products. However, many skin conditions need a more complex approach than a topical application. A holistic approach can offer a lasting resolution to chronic conditions when consideration is taken for other aspects that make up the human condition such as, emotional, dietary and lifestyle. Topical applications of any product do not resolve these underlying imbalances. Furthermore, the task of this blog and website is to offer, predominantly, indigenous herbs to my local readership, thus making my herbal suggestions relevant and obtainable. Although I wish you well in your business, nature offers us much of what we need for free! It is my wish to empower people through the knowledge I offer, and bring them back to what is rightfully theirs for the purpose of obtaining health and happiness. The Green Man
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The Green Man on 11 June 2014 08:41
Hi Coolum. I am looking into it still. The page does not originate with me but with the provider so I am trying to get some sense out of them. I only provide the content. Are all your associates having the same experience as you? This would help to narrow down the possible cause of the problem. You are the only one to mention such a development thus far. Get back to me and I will look into it further....You can E-mail address is on my site. All the best. The Green Man
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The Green Man on 13 June 2014 16:48
Dear Coolum I sent you an E-mail requesting permission to send your E-mail address to the technical team of my server so that they could carry out their investigations further with respect to your problem. I have not had any reply back from you to date. Subsequent to this I have been contacted again by the technical team and they advised me to tell you that at the bottom of each notification is a link requesting the cancellation of further notifications. You should try cancelling the notifications and then make a new request to see if that re-sets your system to work normally. Please give that a try and then get back to me to let me know how you got on. Kind regards The Green Man
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The Green Man on 31 July 2014 08:14
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