It’s a Delicious Way to Support Normal Blood Pressure
In Chinese medicine, burdock root is used as a powder and an ingredient in tea mainly to clear “toxic heat” through the urine. In traditional Native American medicine, burdock is referred to as a detoxifier and a diuretic. While the Chinese-medicine version may be more poetic and more evocative of an image, they both say the same thing: the role of burdock root in medicine is to clear the body of unwanted “stuff,” particularly through urination. Interestingly, this is in contrast to most of the detoxifying herbs and treatments that work mainly through the liver. Burdock, in contrast, seems to focus its action on the kidneys.
Modern medicine does not speak about disease or treatments in such descriptive terms. Rather, modern medicine tends to be all about measures and numbers rather than the experience of the ill person. The question, though, is what “disease” are we referring to when we talk about “toxic heat?” One that immediately comes to mind is high blood pressure. At its extreme, high blood pressure can become so toxic that it can cloud a person’s consciousness. At first the person feels dizzy, which is often followed by a headache that makes clear thinking that much harder, and then in cases of so-called malignant or severe hypertension, the person could lose consciousness altogether. At times, even a stroke can occur, which can be thought of as a kind of mechanism for losing consciousness. Again, it is not unreasonable to describe this as kind of toxic heat that clouds the mind.
Native Americans dried burdock roots and used them as food in the winter. In particular, they used the dried burdock roots in soups and stews and made them into tea. Interestingly, the active ingredients in burdock root are water soluble, so using it in soups, stews and tea makes sense from an absorption and physiological perspective.
In a sense, we are re-creating the Native American use of burdock root. We dry the fresh, organically grown roots so that they can be used in the winter (spring, summer or fall) in soups and stews. The burdock roots will help support normal blood pressure, as well as clearing out all manner of “toxic heat.”
I add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Burdock Root Powder in my morning soup, but there are many other creative uses, such as sprinkling it on buttered popcorn. We are all grateful for this tenacious and hardy plant that clears us of things unneeded so we can see the world more clearly.
Tom Cowan, M.D.
The other day I was asked what I do most days. My initial response was that I see patients two days a week and go to the garden two days a week. The obvious follow-up question was, what about the other three days? After giving it some thought, my answer was, I go for a walk on the beach twice a week, but mostly I process food. That is especially true this time of year.
Our Powders Easily Add Nutrients to Soups and Stews
My good friend and co-author Sally Fallon Morell used to say that her rule with her four children was that they had to eat the breakfast and dinner she served them, and then they were free to eat what they wanted during the day. She was banking on them getting enough nutrient-dense foods during those two meals to keep them well nourished and even well fed enough so that they wouldn’t be looking for junk food.
We’re Looking for Growers!
This past weekend we hosted a small group of people who are interested in working with our company to help us create new products. We toured the Napa garden and spoke about new and innovative approaches to using plants as medicinal food. I had many ideas and examples of plants for them to see, feel and even taste, but I focused on five that I am particularly excited about and that will help us fulfill the dictum “let thy food be thy medicine.”