Science in our home this year has consisted of studying herbs; their medicinal properties, identification, harvesting and preparation for use through a monthly study called Herb Fairies. This curriculum is put out by Learning Herbs.
I am just beginning on my journey of immersing my children in the benefits of herbs. Plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today.
Our study this month was on Burdock: Arctium is a genus of biennial plants commonly known as burdock. The plants have dark green leaves that can grow up to 28" long. They are generally large, coarse and ovate, with the lower ones being heart-shaped. They are woolly underneath. The leafstalks are generally hollow. The plant generally flowers from July through to October. The prickly heads of these plants (burrs) are noted for easily catching on to fur and clothing, thus being the inspiration for Velcro.
Burdock has many medicinal uses, one of which uses the roots to make an infusion in oil. Burdock oil is used mainly on hair to lessen thinning hair, improve growth, strength and luster and to also give relief from dandruff and itchy, irritated scalp.
This is the recipe that we used from our Herb Fairy book on Burdock.
First, we needed to make an infusion in oil. We took our herb which I purchased in root form from Mountain Rose Herbs. We put about 1/4 cup of the ground up root into the top of our double broiler pan and covered it with olive oil. We let that simmer for about 2 hours on the stove.
Next, we strained all the herbs out and placed the remaining oil into a pint size mason jar. It needed to sit for two days in the sun to separate any water from the oil. Here is what our finished oil looked like when it turned out. Since we used dried root instead of fresh, there was no water separation. The oil is now good to use.
Here is our final guinnea pig, I mean herbalist trying out the new oil. To use, place a small amount, massage into hair and then rinse out. Dry hair as usual and enjoy that soft, silky feeling.
I also found this very informative video from Herb Mentor.
Disclosure:I am not a medical professional and do not have any "professional" education in regards to medicine. Please use common sense when using any recipe found on the internet. Any advise given on this blog is simply a sharing of our family's experiences. Not everything works for everyone. If you have more questions, please contact your medical provider. (Or preferably an herbalist or alternative medicine provider.)