Burdock plant, also known as cockle buttons, burr seed, beggar’s buttons and thorny burr, is a hardy perennial that is native to Europe and has been naturalized in North America. The plant has large leaves and purple flowers resembling thistle flowers. The root of the plant is used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes, including promoting healthy hair.
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According to Herbal Legacy, burdock has been used for centuries by many different cultures, which is why it has so many names. Native Americans prized the herb and made candy by boiling the stem of the plant in maple syrup. It was popular with European and North American folk healers as a treatment for purifying the blood. Nowadays, many herbalists recommend burdock root for promoting hair growth.
According to Hair Information, the normal hair-growth cycle lasts somewhere between two and three years. When your hair is in the growth stage, it will increase in length by about 1/2 inch each month. If your hair is in healthy shape, 90 percent of it will be growing at any one time, while the rest is dormant. Resting hair will fall out after three months and be replaced by new growth. A number of things can slow growth or weaken hair such as stress, illness and some medications.
According to Herbal Legacy, burdock contains a large number of beneficial constituents including mucilage, tannins, inulin, vitamin A and essential fatty acids, all of which have a number of possible benefits, including helping to nourish hair and skin, reducing cholesterol and adding fiber to the diet.
Burdock root tincture may be added to water and applied to the scalp or applied directly. According to All 4 Natural Health, burdock root oil can help strengthen hair by nourishing the scalp due to its vitamin A content and essential fatty acids. It may also reduce the symptoms of scalp conditions including dandruff, itchy scalp, redness and scalp infection.
According to All 4 Natural Health, side effects of burdock oil may include reduction or increase in blood sugar levels, electrolyte imbalances and skin allergy. Burdock root should not be used by diabetics or women who are pregnant or breast feeding. You should consult your physician before using burdock oil.