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Arctium – Wikipedia

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**Description and Ecology of Arctium:**
– Plants of the genus Arctium have dark green leaves up to 70 cm long.
– Leaves are large, coarse, ovate, heart-shaped, and woolly underneath.
– Leafstalks are generally hollow.
– Arctium species flower from July to October.
– Burdock flowers provide essential pollen and nectar for honeybees.
– Burdock roots are eaten by the larva of the ghost moth.
– Used as a food plant by various Lepidoptera.
– Prickly burrs easily catch onto fur and clothing.
– Birds have become entangled in burrs, leading to harm.
– Important mechanism for seed dispersal.

**Etymology and Toxicity of Arctium:**
– Circa 16th century, from bur + dock.
– Dock refers to sorrel of the genus Rumex.
– Green, above-ground portions may cause contact dermatitis.
– Allergies may be triggered due to lactones present in the plant.

**Uses of Arctium:**
– **Food and Drink:**
– Burdock root is a popular root vegetable in East Asia.
– Known as niúbàng in Chinese and gobō in Japanese.
– Burdock root is crisp, sweet, with a mild flavor.
– Immature flower stalks can be harvested in late spring.
– Burdock achieved international culinary recognition in the 20th century.
– **Traditional Medicine:**
– Seeds of A. lappa used in traditional Chinese medicine as niubangzi.
– Burdock is a traditional medicinal herb used for various ailments.
– Burdock root oil extract is used in Europe as a scalp treatment.

**Cultural Significance and Innovation Inspired by Arctium:**
– Burdock Kilim motifs are well-known.
– Symbolic representation of being black from dust but still alive and red in the center.
– Different languages have words that link burdock to Velcro due to their similar properties.
– Burdock has culinary importance in various cuisines worldwide.
– Traditional medicine systems have utilized burdock for its health benefits.
– The plant’s ability to stick to surfaces has inspired innovations like Velcro.

**Scientific Research on Arctium:**
– Research has explored the polyphenol oxidase inhibition patterns in burdock.
– Studies have investigated the prebiotic effects of inulin extracted from burdock.
– Burdock extracts have shown potential benefits in physical performance and fatigue in animal studies.
– The plant has been used in traditional medicine for various health conditions.
– Burdock supplements are available for medicinal purposes in the form of capsules or extracts.

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