This herb gets its name from bur, for its tenacious burrs, and dock old English for plant. Many scientists are skeptical about Burdock and its uses. However, as a healing herb it has a potential for treating cancer. Early Chinese physicians, as well as Ayurvedic healers, used Burdock as a remedy for colds, flu, throat infections and pneumonia. During the 14th Century, its leaves were pounded in wine and used to treat leprosy. From 1930-1950, Burdock was used as an ingredient in alternative cancer treatments.
The FDA noted that too much of this herb can cause side effects and lists Burdock as an herb of "undefined safety". However, German researchers have discovered fresh Burdock root contains polyacetylenes, a chemical that kills disease-causing bacteria and fungi. It also reduces mucus and prevents formation of gall and kidney stones. As Burdock contains vitamin A and selenium, it can eliminate free radicals.
Its chromium content helps regulate blood sugar levels. Other qualities of this herb, set forth in the magazine Chemotherapy, identified a chemical (arctigenin) in Burdock which acts as an inhibitor of tumor growth. This herb should not be used by pregnant women.
North American Indians were the first to discover the healing powers of this plant. They found that when the tree's inner bark comes in contact with water, the gummy substance, or mucilage, surrounding the fibers swells and produces a soothing and softening ointment. Slippery Elm was used to treat skin problems (chapped lips, burns, wounds, etc.). During the American Revolution, it was used to treat gunshot wounds. The inner bark of Slippery Elm is rich in calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, B. C, & K, which soothes organs, tissues and mucus membranes, especially the lungs.
A common summertime sight in the North American wild, Sorrel came to the New World as a salad green. Mashed Sorrel leaves mixed with vinegar and sugar were popular as a greensauce with cold meat. The sharp taste, due to its oxalic acid and vitamin C content, led this herb to be used in folk medicine. Sorrel acts as a diuretic, antiscorbutic, and refrigerant It is good for treating urinary problems and it helps purify the blood.
Sheep Sorrel, as part of the Sorrel family, was used a folk remedy for cancer. The herb relieves internal ulcers and, when applied externally, helps clear skin problems such as herpes, eczema and ringworm. Sheep Sorrel also contains silicon which aids the nervous system.
In small amounts, this herb acts as a gentle laxative and purges the body, especially the liver, of wastes and toxic matter. Rhein, a substance present in the root, inhibits disease-causing bacteria and candida albicans in the intestines, reducing fever and inflammation. A study completed during the 1980's revealed that rhubarb root also has antibiotic and anti-tumor properties.
All of the above herbs normalize body systems by purifying the blood, promote cell repair, and are effective in assimilation/elimination. When used in conjunction with traditional treatment (i.e. physician), the herbs can stimulate self-healing capabilities and assist the body to rid itself of cancer.
Magic & Medicine of Plants
by Reader's Digest.
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About The Author
The above was adapted from the following sources: Essiac International's Herbal Remedy and "Magic & Medicine of Plants" by Reader's Digest, ©1996, published by Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, New York 10570.