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Burdock seed.

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They itch.

I'm away teaching this week, too, and yesterday we picked a couple of oodles of burdock flowerstalks in seed. We have the woolly burdock, Arctium tomentosum, but you can use any species you like - they all work. These are meant to juice up some connective tissue - tendons, joints, and so on.

Cleaning them went like this:
1) remove the dead flowers off the top of the seedhead
2) insert a finger into the seedhead
3) wriggle the finger inside that seedhead until the seeds fall onto the table in front of you.

That got us close to a liter of seeds with half an hour of wriggling (6 of us cleaned burdock seeds, the rest worked with the other herbs we had picked).

And that got us extremely itchy hands. And if one of us was dumb enough to scratch an itch on, say, a nose, then that nose, too, was covered in the itchy hairs of burdock. (The feeling goes something like, "Aaargh! Lemme strip everything off and take a shower!")

And there were a lot of itchy hairs in the burdock seeds on the table. So I took that liter or so of seeds and shook it in a large (as in huge) sieve, outdoors, downwind from me. Only, there wasn't much wind, and it kept turning ... I got a lot of burdock seed hairs on me, in addition to the ones I had picked up during the cleaning process. ("Aaaaaaargh!") (I did change my shirt later on, cos I couldn't stand the itch anymore.)

The seed were put into 80 % alcohol right away, cos I've worked with burdock seed before: there's lots of small-brown-fly larvae in there, and if you just dry them you end up with lots of small brown flies in your dried seeds jar.

That's a simpler's tincture: fill a jar with herb, cover with alcohol. Let sit - I plan on letting things sit for 2 weeks - then strain, pour into a bottle, label. I think 5-10 drops of this, 2-3 times a day, should work nicely for all sorts of things to do with tendons, and might help hurting joints, too. For those joints: also do 2-3 tablespoons of fish oil a day, it's amazing how much that helps things move.

Oh, and picking and cleaning burdock seed is still easier than digging up burdock root, which would also work for tendons and things.

Related entries: Burdock leaf - Burdock root - Burdock stalks