Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Lappa arctium

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Arctium lappa L.


The name of the genus, Arctium, is derived from the Greek arktos, a bear, in allusion to the roughness of the burs, lappa, the specific name, being derived from a word meaning 'to seize.'
Another source derives the word lappa from the Celtic llap, a hand, on account of its prehensile properties.
The plant gets its name of 'Dock' from its large leaves; the 'Bur' is supposed to be a contraction of the French bourre, from the Latin burra, a lock of wool, such is often found entangled with it when sheep have passed by the growing plants.
An old English name for the Burdock was 'Herrif,' 'Aireve,' or 'Airup,' from the Anglo-Saxon hoeg, a hedge, and reafe, a robber - or from the Anglo-Saxon verb reafian, to seize. Culpepper gives as popular names in his time: Personata, Happy Major and Clot-Bur.


Traditional name

Used parts

Blackwood:Mother tincture of the fresh root and dilutions. U. S.P., Lappa.


Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Asteridae / Synandrae; Asterales; Compositae / Asteraceae - Composites / Daisy or Sunflower Family


Original proving

Introduced into Homoeopathic Literature by Dr. E. M. Hale, I864.

Description of the substance


Inulin, mucilage, sugar, a bitter, crystalline glucoside - Lappin-a little resin, fixed and volatile oils, and some tannic acid.


Edible burdock is a member of the Compositae family. Some of the other common names by which burdock is known are gobo (Japanese name), ngau pong (Chinese name), harlock, edible goberon, bourholm, eddick, flapper-bags, sticky buttons, beggar's buttons, clot, clod, cockly, and hurr-burrs. Also, the plant's burrs are called cuckolds, cuckles, cuckold's buttons, and cuckoldy busses.
There are two botanical species of burdock, A. lappa and A. minus. The one found growing wild throughout much of the United States is A. minus and is only slightly comparable to the cultivated A. lappa. Gobo (burdock) is a choice chinese vegetable. Although burdock grows wild and thrives throughout the United States, it is not native. It was introduced by the early settlers and was quickly adopted by the American Indians for their own gardens. These coarse perennial plants are weeds in many temperate areas. The tops die down in the winter. New sprouts arising from roots in spring are peeled and eaten raw or cooked. The dried roots from the first year's growth and the seed are used medicinally.

A stout handsome plant, with large, wavy leaves and round heads of purple flowers. It is enclosed in a globular involucre of long stiff scales with hooked tips, the scales being also often interwoven with a white, cottony substance.
The whole plant is a dull, pale green, the stem about 3 to 4 feet and branched, rising from a biennial root. The lower leaves are very large, on long, solid foot-stalks, furrowed above, frequently more than a foot long heart-shaped and of a grey colour on their under surfaces from the mass of fine down with which they are covered. The upper leaves are much smaller, more egg-shaped in form and not so densely clothed beneath with the grey down.
The plant varies considerably in appearance, and by some botanists various subspecies, or even separate species, have been described, the variations being according to the size of the flower-heads and of the whole plant, the abundance of the whitish cottonlike substance that is sometimes found on the involucres, or the absence of it, the length of the flower-stalks, etc.
The flower-heads are found expanded during the latter part of the summer and well into the autumn: all the florets are tubular, the stamens dark purple and the styles whitish. The plant owes its dissemination greatly to the little hooked prickles of its involucre, which adhere to everything with which they come in contact, and by attaching themselves to coats of animals are often carried to a distance.


As the Burdock grows freely in waste places and hedgerows, it can be collected in the wild state, and is seldom worth cultivating.
It will grow in almost any soil, but the roots are formed best in a light well-drained soil. The seeds germinate readily and may be sown directly in the field, either in autumn or early spring, in drills 18 inches to 3 feet apart, sowing 1 inch deep in autumn, but less in spring. The young plants when well up are thinned out to 6 inches apart in the row.
Yields at the rate of 1,500 to 2,000 lb. of dry roots per acre have been obtained from plantations of Burdock

History.-By De Candolle this plant is named Lappa minor,-by Gaertner, Lappa major; and by Lamarck, Lappa tomentosa. The plants named by these botanists are now considered as varieties only, and are all, at the present time, included under the one term Arctium Lappa, Linné. Burdock is indigenous to Asia and Europe, and grows freely in uncultivated soils, in waste places, and around dwellings in this country, flowering in July and August. The root and seeds are the medicinal parts; the root is to be collected in the spring, or the autumn of its first year, and loses four-fifths of its weight by drying. The root only is official in the U. S. P. A tincture of the seeds (Tinctura Lappae Fructus) is prepared by percolating with diluted alcohol (3 of alcohol to 1 of water) 4 ounces of the ground fruit, to obtain 1 pint.

La bardana è una pianta erbacea biennale che può raggiungere anche l'altezza di 2 mt. Una sua caratteristica è la grossa radice a fittone, spesso divaricata che la fissa al suolo. I fiori rosso porpora sono riuniti in capolini provvisti di squame uncinate che al momento della maturazione, attaccandosi al velo degli animali, favoriscono il trasporto dei capolini fruttiferi. Il nome "arctos", orso, si riferisce, infatti, all'aspetto irsuto e "lappa", afferrare, sottolinea come gli aculei dei frutti si attacchino ad ogni cosa.
La radice di bardana avrebbe guarito Enrico III dalla sifilide. Hill ( 1755 ) la esalta nel trattamento della gotta, Savini
( 1918 ) ne dimostra l'attività diuretica ed antiartritica, Piotrowski ( 1935 ) ne evidenzia l'azione ipoglicemizzante. Nella tradizione popolare le foglie fresche e soprattutto la  radice di bardana, vengono usate per via topica nel trattamento dei foruncoli, crosta lattea, caduta dei capelli, eczema, ulcere e punture di insetti.