Saturday, July 6, 2013

Herbal Highlight | Burdock

This weeks herbal highlight features an herb that is often overlooked because of it's common weed label. But for those with circulatory problems, toxicity, diabetes, hyperglycemia, and skin diseases there is great help to be found in it's medicinal properties.

So, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to Burdock.

The Herb Girl


Scientific Name: Arctium

Medicinal Uses: Detoxifying, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal, Anti-Inflammatory
Blood purifier. Promotes good circulation.  Used in the treatment of Skin Diseases (i.e. acne, abscesses, psoriasis, eczema, and carbuncles), Diabetes and Hypoglycemia (contains inulin, which strengthens the liver), Crohn's Disease, and to alleviate the body's distress from Chronic Fatigue.

Constituents: Up to 50% Inulin, polyacetylenes, volatile acids (acetic, proprionic, butyric, isovaleric), non-hydroxyl acids (lauric, myristic, stearic, palmitic), polyphenolic acids, and tannins. [source]

Preparations: Tea (most common), Tincture, Capsule
Sometimes eaten raw.

Portions Used: Root (most common), Leaves and Fruit

Identification: Often mistaken as a common weed, Burdock grows strong and sturdy with annoying burrs.  The plant grows relatively tall, growing 3-6 feet, and can be about 1.5 feet in diameter at the base.

Burdock is easily identified by it's large, wavy, heart-shaped leaves that are green on the top and whitish on the bottom.  Its prickly purple ball flowers (burs) on the tips bloom between June and October.

Thrives along river banks, roadsides, fields, and disturbed habitats.



  1. So how do you use it? Boil the leaves?

    1. Actually the root is used for the tea most commonly. You would forage the root, wash it, then shred it using a potato peeler and let it dry. (Don't use a heat dehydrator, just sitting outside on the porch works great...and turn it a few times while it's drying.) Use a small amount of the dried root (like a pinch) to make a cup of Burdock tea.

      Anther note: don't ever boil your herbs. Get the water steamy (hot but not boiling) and pour it directly over the herbs in a cup. Boiling ruins the medicinal properties.

    2. Wonderful! Thank you so much for the tips! I didn't know that about boiling. I'll remember that. :)