Time for some herbal insight! Here at Moon Valley Organics we cultivate organic burdock, which is a valuable herbal remedy for skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. You can find burdock in one of our top-selling skincare products--the Eczacalm Salve.
Burdock’s Latin name is Arctium Lappa. Arctium translates to “a bear,” which is referring to the rough coated fruits on the plant. Lappa translates to “seize,” referencing the burs that cling to everything that passes by. Burdock, belongs to the Asteraceae plant family. The name Asteraceae comes from the Latin word Aster, which translates to “star”. This star reference is used to describe the flower’s beautiful star-like appearance.
Burdock is a biennial plant, meaning the plant has a lifecycle of 2 years. In the first year, all of the energy is directed into growing the taproot, whereas in the second year more energy is directed into the stem growing taller and flowering. We sow our burdock seeds in the springtime. It takes about 1-2 weeks for the little seeds to sprout into seedlings that are then distributed throughout our herb fields. Burdock requires partial shade to full sun, which makes our Northwest Summer climate the ideal location for them to thrive in. After about 3 months, the root is ready to be harvested. Our roots can grow up to 2 feet in length and some burdock root varieties can get up to 9 feet in length!
The roots, leaves, and seeds can all be used for various herbal remedies. Here at Moon Valley Organics, we are most interested in the roots of burdock, because that is where the skin healing properties are located. However, we don’t waste any part of the plant. The leaves are edible and can be cooked like spinach. Once the hard outer shell has been removed, the stem is also edible and resembles water chestnuts. You can find burdock root in many Asian recipes, as it is rich in nutrients and has many beneficial health properties. We save our seeds so that we can continue to create Eczacalm Salve with the same strength consistency. Anything left over from the plant we compost and incorporate back into the soil.
The root applied topically has a variety of beneficial healing properties, which include antioxidants and immune boosters. The following vitamins can be found in the root: Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B3. Both Vitamin C and E are powerful natural antioxidants that help the human body stave off infections, cancer, and neurological conditions. Burdock root is antibacterial in nature, meaning it kills or inhibits the growth of unwanted microorganisms. Polyacetylenes are the active component that fight disease-causing-bacteria and fungi. The root contains antirheumatic properties that alleviate and prevent rheumatism, which encompasses swelling, inflammation and pain in joints and muscles. Traditionally, the Cherokee Native Americans used burdock to treat rheumatism. Antiscorbutic is another property found in the burdock root, which works to prevent skin hemorrhages. Lastly, burdock root is an alterative, meaning it aids in restoring your skin back to normal health.
If you have ever used our Ezcacalm Salve, now you know a little more about one of the powerful herbs that makes this medicinal salve so effective. We hope that by sharing this information you have a better understanding of how burdock is actively working on your skin. Here at the Moon Valley Organics farmacy, we put a lot of love into growing each and every Burdock plant. It is truly an amazing herb with so many medicinal and health benefits.
If you have ever used anything with velcro, you can thank burdock for inspiring the invention! In the early 1940’s, George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, became curious with how burdock seeds kept getting caught to his clothing and his dog’s fur. He looked at the seeds under a microscope to discover a hook and loop system. Mestral realized this same system could be used to join other things together, and so Velcro was created.