BURDOCK root

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Eaten as a veg­etable, burdock root ( Arc­tium lappa) has anti-in­flam­ma­tory and an­tibac­te­rial ef­fects, and is used to treat skin con­di­tions such as pso­ri­a­sis, eczema and acne. It is also given as a tonic for colds, throat in­fec­tions and flu. The roots con­tain non-starchy polysac­cha­rides that have di­uretic, lax­a­tive and pre­bi­otic ef­fects, con­trol­ling blood sugar and choles­terol lev­els. It is a use­ful source of po­tas­sium with­out added sodium, so it helps con­trol heart rate and blood pres­sure. It also con­tains small quan­ti­ties of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als.

Burdock is a weed in New Zealand, but se­lected va­ri­eties pro­duce larger, more use­ful roots. ‘Takino­gawa Long’ (Kings Seeds) has 1m roots. Sow seeds di­rectly into well-dug gar­den beds from late spring to early au­tumn. Peel and grate young roots into sal­ads, or roast or stir-fry.

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