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Burdock – (Arctium lappa)


Burdock is now grown in many parts of the world, but it is native to Europe and northern Asia. In Japan and some portions of Europe it is eaten as a vegetable. Related to thistles, the plant looks like a weed and it grows burrs that stick to fur and clothing. This plant will grow just about anywhere, is very hardy and requires little attention for it to flourish in just about any garden, however it is not generally grown due to its tendency to stick to clothes because of its spiny fruits.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Burdock is used in traditional Chinese medicine herbal remedies to soothe sore throats and colds. It is a blood purifier and a diuretic. It is high in iron and other nutrients. It helps cleanse the liver and balance the hormones.

Externally – Burdock can be used topically for eczema, acne and psoriasis. It is used as a rinse to get rid of dandruff and to fight hair loss.

Other Uses – Burdock root is eaten in Japan as a vegetable. They call it gobo. The herb is mixed with dandelion to make a soft drink in the United Kingdom. Its seeds were the inspiration for Velcro, after George de Mestral of Switzerland looked at how the seeds attached themselves to his clothes.

Parts Used

Root mainly – The dried root from a first year's growth is normally used, however sometimes the leaves and fruit are used as well.


Pregnant women should avoid burdock, as it may cause damage. If you are sensitive to ragweed, daisies or chrysanthemums, you may have a similar reaction to it. The herb is a diuretic, so if you are suffering from dehydration, it would be best to avoid. Do not gather in the wild or buy them from sources you are unsure about since the root resembles belladonna and deadly nightshade root very closely.

Do not mix with diuretic and diabetic medications due to possible interactions.

Preparation and Dosage

You can get the roots either fresh or dried. Supplements come in powdered form, decoctions, tinctures and extracts.

For capsules, take 1 to 2 grams three times per day.

For dried root, cover 2 to 6 grams in 2/3 cup of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink this solution three times per day. This infusion can also be used as a wash or poultice for skin problems like eczema or wounds. Do not use this on an open wound.

For tincture, take 2 to 8 ml three times per day. The tincture may also be applied topically.

For extract, take 2 to 8 ml three times per day.

For tea, steep 2 to 6 grams in 2 cups of water. Drink three times per day.

Burdock Herbal Remedies Top