Tips for using burdock and burdock root in herbal medicine and home remedies

Burdock root has been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years. It is greatly valued for its skin healing properties and its liver cleansing abilities. It purifies the blood, helps stop thinning hair, acts as a potent diuretic, and is useful in the treatment of mature skin.

Burdock root tea can heal eczema.
Close up of face with eczema - Photo courtesy of

Burdock root tea can help clear up eczema, dandruff, and scaly patches on the skin.

Burdock tea helps the urinary system.

Burdock root tea is a good choice when treating urinary problems, indigestion, and for cleansing the lymphatic system. It can also be used to ease symptoms of sore throat and colds. Burdock tea tastes good which is another added benefit.

Burdock is good for the skin.

Burdock root is often combined with yellow dock and sarsaparilla for treating eczema. This combination makes an excellent home remedy for many skin and scalp conditions such as skin ulcers, dandruff, and dry, scaly patches.

Burdock can ease joint pain.

Burdock may be used in the treatment of cancer, AIDS, and chronic diseases like diabetes. It is used in the treatment of arthritis, joint pain, acne, high blood pressure, and low sex drive.

Burdock root has many beneficial anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. Recent studies show that burdock contains phenolic acids, quercetin, and luteolin, which are all powerful antioxidants.

Burdock tea is easy to make.

Burdock root contains insulin which feeds beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Burdock also contains many minerals including chromium, copper, iron, and magnesium. To make burdock root tea, bring pieces of root to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for five minutes.

Burdock poultice can help heal bruises.

Burdock leaves are used in poultices and compresses. Both are useful when treating bruises, burns, wounds, and gout. The oily seeds are often used in skin tonics to promote smoothness and improve the appearance of wrinkles.

Burdock as a vegetable

In Japan, burdock plants are used as food. Known as gobo, roots are eaten fresh or cooked. The young, tender leaves are cooked like any other vegetable green. The stalks, which taste like asparagus, are eaten raw, boiled, or candied with sugar. Visit Korean Bapsang for an easy Braised Burdock Root recipe.

Burdock cockle burrs and Velcro

Burdock fruits are also known as cockle burrs. These burrs are what led to the development of Velcro in the 1950’s.

Burdock plants

Burdock plants can grow up to eight feet tall although the average height is three to four feet. The root can reach depths of three feet making harvest difficult. Burdock is considered a weed by many people but herbalists have long recognized its medicinal uses.

Herbalists have to dig deep to get burdock root out of the ground. Once harvested the root should be washed, dried, and stored for winter use.

* Pregnant or nursing women should avoid burdock. Avoid burdock if allergic to daisies, chrysanthemums, or ragweed. Do not take burdock if dehydrated. Diabetics should not take burdock as it could lower blood sugar levels. Do not mix burdock with blood thinning medications. Be careful when harvesting burdock in the wild as the plant resembles belladonna (deadly nightshade). Always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medications.


Jan's notes

I purchased dried, chopped burdock root at my local herb shop after reading that it was good for people with type A blood. I made tea using a tablespoon of root pieces with two cups of water -- boiling gently for a minute then steeping for five more minutes. The aroma was sweet and the taste was very pleasant.

After drinking a cup of burdock tea for a couple of days in a row, I noticed that my complexion was glowing. I also got more exercise because my knees quit aching! I completed so many chores that even Tony noticed and commented on it. Now burdock root it is one of my favorite teas.

I would love to grow my own burdock to use as a vegetable. We all need to try new vegetables and do all we can to get fresh foods into our diets on a daily basis. Maybe burdock will catch on in more kitchens and perhaps even specialty restaurants. I wouldn't be surprised.

Thanks so much for reading my blog. Jan.

Herb Articles by Janice Boling

"The best way to really learn about herbal medicine is to smell different herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if at all possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix so give your herbs time to work." Janice Boling -- herbalist, web designer, artist, and writer

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** Most of my posts in this blog were first published by the North Georgia News in my weekly column titled Every Green Herb.

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