Arctium lappa Linn

Family ► Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat ► Native to northern Europe; now found in western Himalayas, Kashmir and Simla.

English ► Common or Great Burdock.

Folk ► Phaggarmuul (Kashmir).

Action ► Hypoglycaemic (plant extract caused reduction of blood sugar with an increase in carbohydrate tolerance). Roots—inhibitory of tumour growth, cardiac stimulant, diuretic, spasmolytic. Leaves and seeds—anticutaneous (used in psoriasis, seborrhoic eczema).

Key application ► As dermatolog-ical agent. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)

Important constituents of Burdock roots are fatty acids, organic acids, phenolic acids, lignans, sesquiterpenes, tannin, inulin and mucilage.

Extracts of the fruit are reported to have hypoglycaemic activity in rats. Arctigenin (lignan) is a weak inhibitor of experimental tumour growth. The antimicrobial properties are due to polyacetylenes (of the root). The root exhibits antibiotic activity against Staphylococcus, and is used for fungal and bacterial infections. A flavonoid, arctiin, shows smooth muscle relaxant properties.

Areca catechu Linn. 59

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