This section is from the book "A Text-Book Of Pharmacology, Therapeutics And Materia Medica", by T. Lauder Brunton. Also available from Amazon: A text-book of pharmacology, therapeutics and materia medica.
The root of Lappa officinalis.
Characters. - About twelve inches (30 centimetres) or more long, and about one inch (25 millimetres) thick; nearly simple, fusiform, fleshy, longitudinally wrinkled, crowned with a tuft of whitish, soft, hairy leafy stalks; grey-brown, internally paler; bark rather thick, the inner part and the soft wood radially striate, the parenchyma often with cavities lined with snow-white remains of tissue; odour feeble and unpleasant; taste mucilaginous, sweetish, and somewhat bitter.
Uses. - It has no marked therapeutic properties, but is said to be alterative, diaphoretic, diuretic, and purgative. It is chiefly used as a domestic remedy as a decoction prepared by boiling 2 oz. of the recent bruised root in three pints of water to two. One pint is taken daily. Burdock is employed in obstinate skin diseases, both internally and in the form of poultices of the leaves. It is given also in syphilis, scrofula, rheumatism, gout, and renal disease.