Burdock is a wonderful medicinal herb AND a delicious root to eat. You may have eaten it in a Japanese meal, not even knowing it! Last year for the first time, I planted Gobo Burdock(Arctium lappa) in hopes for one or two good roots for tincturing. I started the plants from seeds and had 6 seedlings to plant, 4 took where I planted them, in the raised bed. Actually they almost took over the bed!
In the fall, it was time to dig –
Being that we already had a few very cold days below 35, I thought there is no way these burdock roots will be good. Ha! They were PERFECT and not difficult to get out of the ground.
I kind of thought the burdock would be similar to digging yellow dock – nope. Maybe it was the raised beds, maybe it was the beautiful healthy soil or maybe just luck. 😀 Whatever the case may be, I will definitely plant more next year and way more.
I washed all of the roots in a bucket which took longer than digging them up but who wants dirty, gritty roots?! The roots were beautiful and I remember my teacher Patricia saying we have to clean and cut up roots right away otherwise they will get too hard to cut.
Tincturing was the next step. Fresh burdock should be tinctured at 75% alcohol, 25% water. I chopped it up tiny, weighed it and added the roots to a quart glass jar. I measured my alcohol – pure cane organic alcohol, measured my water and mixed the two liquids together.
Next step was pouring the liquid over the roots and mixing well. Perfect. Now to let it sit for a couple weeks!
Here it is after a week –
AND now for the benefits of this wonderful root!
Medicinal Benefits of Burdock:
Burdock is in the Asteraceae Family. It is a biennial that can grow 9 feet tall if allowed. The plant has large alternate cordiform leaves. Burdock has pinkish-purple flowers that develop into a spiny burr that contains many seeds. The burrs stick to everything and supposedly the plant inspired the idea of velcro!
It can grow easily from seeds but needs a large area with good loose soil. Plant early Spring and harvest the roots in the fall.
Herbal Actions: Alterative, lymphatic, diuretic, demulcent tonic, mild laxative.
Here is a breakdown of how each part of the plant is used:
Root: For chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Systemic inflammation(Rheumatic and arthritic)
Enlarged lymph glands, lymphedema, mastitis,
Chronic constipation, poor appetite and weak digestion, GI Harmonizer, poor kidney function, dandruff
Boils, cysts, sties, gout
Seeds: Chronic skin conditions topically and internally
Leaf: Topical as a fresh poultice, skin inflammation, infections, boils and cysts.
There are no know side effects from Burdock or drug interactions but you can get contact dermatitis from handling the plant.
Capsules up to 6/ 500-600mg/day
Tea – steep 1-2 tsp. dried root in 8-10 ounces of water. Decoct 15-20 minutes and steep for 40 minutes/ up to 3x/day
Tincture 1:2 ratio weight of fresh herb to volume of menstruum(alcohol & water). 40-90 drops(2-4ml) 3x/day
By Anne-Marie Bilella
Medical Herbalism, David Winston
Mountain Rose Herbs
Patricia Kyritsi Howell