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Burdock (Arctium)

   Burdock (Arctium), fam. Ascteraceae.
   A weed, and a medicinal herb. It is rather rare in Kyiv, compared with other regions.
   The roots should be dug out either in autumn of the first year of the plant's life, or in spring of the next year (this plant is biennial). As well as the other plants of Asteraceae family (Jerusalem artichoke, dandelion, chicory), burdock roots accumulate the polysaccaride inulin (instead of starch, typical for most plant families). While starch splits into glucose in digestion, inulin gives fructose. So, it combines slow assimilation with absence of need for the body to secrete insulin. Owing to that, burdock root is included in special diets, particularly for diabetes. Inulin also promotes growth of healthy bowel microflora. Therefore, it may cause discomfort in case of overdose – it is not desirable to "overfeed" the microflora. Burdock is often used as a "blood-cleaning", diuretic and sudorific remedy, and may be also beneficial to treat kidney stone disease, gout, and even rheumatism.
   Young burdock leaves could be edible, but they are not, because of their intensively bitter taste.

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