Monday, September 28, 2020

Common name: Burdock, gobo, beggar's buttons, thorny burr, cocklebur
Botanical name: Artium lappa
Family name: Asteraceae or Compositae (Sunflower family)

Overview: Burdock is a biennial and it literally grows just about everywhere! To harvest roots at their most nutritious/medicinal take them in their first year of growth in the fall or just before new growth starts in the spring of the 2nd year. First year plants don't have the seed stalk. Harvesting takes patience as the roots can be up to 2 feet or more in length. All parts are medicinal. 
Primary therapeutic constituents: Tannin, arctigenin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, minerals, vitamin B1, B2, C & A, carotene, flavonoids, lignans, mucilage, pectin, polysaccharides (inulin).
Medicinal actions: Alterative (supports eliminative channels), bitter, lymphatic, hepatic, nutritive, hypoglycemic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, immune supportive. 

Common uses: One of the best alteratives in herbal medicine. Especially helpful in chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema, boils, psoriasis and cysts. Arthritis, gout, rheumatism, sciatica. Great for regulating gut flora (the fructo oligo saccharide - FOS - Inulin), nourishing, blood sugar regulation (due to mineral content), reduces lipid oxidation, canine skin issues. 
Technique: Decoction - 1 tsp root simmered in water 15 minutes 3 x daily. Tincture - 2-4 ml of a 1:5 in 40% 3 x daily. Also popular as a food source in stir fry and soups. Can also nibble on the root marc or add it to a dog's food (especially if they're having skin issues)!

Cautions and contraindications: Can trigger allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to plants in the Asteraceae family. No known toxicity risk. Some folks with inflammatory bowel issues may not do well with the inulin constituent (you know who you are!). 
Taste: Bitter (leaf), sweet, salty  
Energy: Moistening, diffusive (seed)
Educational video: Here is a nice little clip from She Is Of The Woods discussing burdock. Enjoy! 

Educational video: It would be absolutely negligent of me not to include at least one recipe using Gobo (burdock root). This recipe is for Kinpira Gobo which is a very popular Japanese stir-fry dish. Looks scrummy!

Personal experience: I love burdock decoctions, it has a pleasant sweet flavor and aroma and it may sound strange but for me it has a very satisfying nutritive effect like a hearty broth would. My constitution defaults to dry so the moistening attributes of burdock is very soothing.


Common Herbs for Natural Health by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. p. 25-26

Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis Balch. 2nd edition. p. 38-39

Back to Eden by Kloss. p. 100-101

Monday Plant Exploration with Julie James. Live 092820

Herbal Academy, (n.d.) Burdock monograph. Retrieved from: https://herbarium.theherbalacademy.com/monographs/#/monograph/1007