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Arctium minus - (Hill.)Bernh.                
                 
Common Name Lesser Burdock
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
Synonyms
Known Hazards Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this plant, some caution is advised due to the following report for the closely related A. lappa[K]. Care should be taken if harvesting the seed in any quantity since tiny hairs from the seeds can be inhaled and these are toxic[205].
Habitats Waste ground, edges of woods, roadsides etc[5, 13].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa and the Caucasus.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Arctium minus is a BIENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.


USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Arctium minus Lesser Burdock


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illustration_Arctium_minor0.jpg
Arctium minus Lesser Burdock
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Alberto_Salguero
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root;  Seed;  Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Root - raw or cooked[62, 85]. The best roots are obtained from young plants[85]. Usually peeled and sliced[183]. The roasted root is a coffee substitute[183]. Young leaves and leaf stems - raw or cooked[85]. Used as a potherb[183]. Mucilaginous. It is best to remove the rind from the stem[85]. Young flowering stem - peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus[177, 183]. Seed sprouts[55]. No further details.
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Alterative;  Antibacterial;  Antifungal;  Aperient;  Blood purifier;  Carminative;  Cholagogue;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Hypoglycaemic.

Burdock is one of the foremost detoxifying herbs in both Chinese and Western herbal medicine[254]. Arctium lappa is the main species used, though this species has similar properties[254]. The dried root of one year old plants is the official herb, but the leaves and fruits can also be used[4]. It is used to treat conditions caused by an 'overload' of toxins, such as throat and other infections, boils, rashes and other skin problems[254]. The root is thought to be particularly good at helping to eliminate heavy metals from the body[254]. The plant is antibacterial, antifungal and carminative[9, 21, 147, 165, 176]. It has soothing, mucilaginous properties and is said to be one of the most certain cures for many types of skin diseases, burns, bruises etc[4, 244]. It is used in the treatment of herpes, eczema, acne, impetigo, ringworm, boils, bites etc[244]. The plant can be taken internally as an infusion, or used externally as a wash[244]. Use with caution[165]. One-year old roots are alterative, aperient, blood purifier, cholagogue, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stomachic[218, 222]. The seed is alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antiphlogistic, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic and hypoglycaemic[176, 218]. It is used in the treatment of colds with sore throat and cough, measles, pharyngitis, acute tonsillitis and abscesses[176]. The crushed seed is poulticed onto bruises[222]. The seed is harvested in the summer and dried for later use[254]. The seed contains arctiin, this excites the central nervous system producing convulsions an increase in respiration and later paralysis. It also lowers the blood pressure by dilating the blood vessels[176]. The leaves are poulticed onto burns, ulcers and sores[222].
Other Uses
Paper.

A fibre is obtained from the inner bark and is used to make paper. It is about 0.9mm long[189]. The stems are harvested in late summer, the leaves are removed and the stems steamed in order to strip off the fibre. The fibres are then cooked for two hours in soda ash before being put in a ball mill for 2 hours[189]. The resulting paper is a light tan/ brown colour[189].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds on most soils, preferably moist[200]. Prefers a sunny position. Prefers partial shade according to another report[200]. A polymorphic species[17]. A good butterfly plant[24].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - best sown in situ in autumn.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(Hill.)Bernh.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[5]Mabey. R. Food for Free.
Edible wild plants found in Britain. Fairly comprehensive, very few pictures and rather optimistic on the desirability of some of the plants.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[13]Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[24]Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden.
Fairly good with lots of ideas about creating wildlife areas in the garden.
[55]Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds.
Interesting reading.
[62]Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.
Very readable.
[85]Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.
A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.
[147]? A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
[165]Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
An excellent small herbal.
[176]Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas.
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[189]Bell. L. A. Plant Fibres for Papermaking.
A good practical section on how to make paper on a small scale plus details of about 75 species (quite a few of them tropical) that can be used.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[244]Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.

Readers comment                                         
 
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