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A biennial herb rich in essential oils, arctiol, fukinone, volatile (acetic, butyric, isovaleric) and propionic acids, inulin (up to 50% by weight), non-hydroxyl (lauric, myristic, palmitic, and stearic) acids, polyacetylenes, tannic acid and taraxasterol; the seeds and roots are anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antipyretic, antitussive, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant and laxative. Burdock is used for abscesses, bronchitis, chickenpox, low back pain, pulmonary congestion, syphilis and urethritis; the seeds are used to treat colds, measles, sore throat and tonsillitis; the roots and leaves are used for rheumatic complaints and gout.
Burdock is used by Western herbologists internally for bacterial and fungal infections, cystitis, fever, recuperation from strokes, renal disease, as a gastrointestinal tonic, to detoxify various organs; it is used topically for skin conditions such as acne, bites, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, gout and leprosy.
Burdock should not be used in pregnancy, as it stimulates uterine contraction, or in young children.