Herb of the Week: Burdock


Species: Arctium lappa

Common names: Beggar’s Buttons,Thorny Burr, Love Leaves, Gobo

 History/Folklore: Burdock is a common biennial considered by many to be a weed. However, it has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments throughout history. The seeds have been used to provide relief from measles, common cold, arthritis, tonsillitis. The seeds are usually used for more acute conditions since its actions are more immediate (but not as sustainable) than those from the root. The root is a great blood purifier, and is used to help detoxify the liver. Some conditions it is effective against include rheumatism, gout, psoriasis, eczema, ulcers and acne. The Japanese use Burdock root (Gobo) as a vegetable. The Europeans use Burdock root oil as a scalp treatment. The Burdock burr is said to be the inspiration for Velcro.


Grows to a height of 3-6 feet with heart shaped leaves. Purple flowers, which appear from midsummer to early fall, are followed by sticky burrs. Roots are generally 12 inches up to 3 feet.

 Parts Used: Roots, leaves and seeds.

Collection: Dig roots in fall of the first year or early spring of second year before flower stalks appear.

Actions: diuretic, diaphoretic, blood purifier, alterative, tonic. 

Indications: Burdock helps remove toxins and impurities from the liver allowing it to work more efficiently and effectively. It is believed that it helps regulate the body’s metabolism. Mostly used as a decoction, although leaves are used as a poultice to treat bruises and inflamed skin.

 Counterindications: Avoid if pregnant or nursing. May cause allergic reaction if you are sensitive to daisies, chrysanthemums or ragweed.

Cultivation: Seeds. Self seeds readily.

Light: Full sun to part shade

Zones : Biennialnot common in deep south.

Plant Type: Biennial

About Airmeith Naturals

Anna has over 25 years of experience working with herbs. She trained as a chef specializing in classical French cuisine. Anna has extensive knowledge of herbs used in cooking, as well as having researched the historic use of culinary herbs & spices. She is a Certified Community Herbalist who has completed multiple apprenticeships and classes with renowned Herbalists along with her own studies. Her concentration is in Western European Herbal Practices. She has attended college for Environmental Science as well as earning her certificate in Massage Therapy and is licensed in the state of Massachusetts. In addition, Anna is a Certified Reiki Master Teacher. Anna lives in Western Massachusetts with her family and has over an acre of gardens to play in. Anna is the herbalist at Airmeith Naturals in Holyoke Massachusetts
This entry was posted in Herb of the Week, herbalism, Materia medica, Natural Health, Uncategorized, western Mass and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Herb of the Week: Burdock

  1. MZink says:

    You may want to try the burdock saute recipe in the Herbal Collective FebMarch’14 issue-www.herbalcollective.ca. See link below cover photo.

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