Origin: United States
Botanical Name: Arctium lappa
Common Names: beggar's buttons, thorny burr
What parts of burdock root are used?
Appropriately named, the roots of this herb are used today and have been utilized for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine.
How do you identify burdock root and where is it grown?
A member of the sunflower family, burdock has heart-shaped leaves that can grow 3 feet in diameter and contains large roots. It blooms with purple, globe-shaped clusters that resemble thistles. They contain little “hooks” that will attach to anything they come in contact with.
It is often found along roadsides and field borders in Northern Asia, North America, Europe and China. The root is prevalent in Chinese, Korean and Asian cooking.
While fresh peeled Burdock stalks are considered a wild edible food in some circles, it is primarily the root that is prepared in herbalism. Tea decoctions, tinctures, oils and poultices are application methods with the Burdock root.
A tea decoction of Burdock root is prepared with 1-2 teaspoons of finely chopped pieces per eight ounces of water. Bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes. The tincture method is prepared with a base alcohol solvent in the ratio of 1:5 (chopped root to solvent).
Usually Prepared With:
Dandelion root, Chaparral, Red Clover, Sheep Sorrel and Yellow Dock root.
Interesting Ethnobotany Note: Burdock root is one of the primary components in the well-known historic Native American Ojibwe cancer formulation entitled, Essiac Tea. This blend became popular thanks to a Canadian nurse named Rene M. Caisse. The original Essiac blend included Burdock root, Turkey Rhubarb root, Slippery Elm bark, and Sheep Sorrel.