Use the dried, chopped root in tea blends or toss into simmering soups or braised foods.

Use with caution if there is a history of kidney disorders or gastrointestinal problems due to the herb’s diuretic effects.​

Acrive Ingredients


Brdock Root, Europe

Arctium lappa

Burdock root is harvested as a vegetable in Japan and was once used to provide bitter flavor to European beers. The sliced, dried root is used to make infusions and decoctions, usually for the purposed of preparing a poultice.    

Flavor profile
Slightly sweet but mildly pungent. Good companion for bitter tasting herbs and roots.

What else you should know
​Although burdock isn’t native to North America, various Native American tribes used the herb once it was introduced by European settlers. The Ojibwa tribe, in particular, held burdock root in high esteem. In combination with slippery elm bark, turkey rhubarb root and sheep sorrel, burdock root was a component in the traditional Ojibwa tonic later adapted by Rene Caisse, the Canadian nurse who presented the world with the formula known as essiac tea.
Arctium is a genus of biennial plants commonly known as burdock, family

Asteraceae. Native to the Old World, several species have been widely introduced

Food and drinkThe taproot of young burdock plants can be harvested and
eaten as a root vegetable. While generally out of favor in modern European cuisine,
it remains popular in Asia.  Plants are cultivated for their slender roots, which can
grow about one meter long and two centimetres across. Burdock root is very crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavor with a little muddy harshness that can be reduced by soaking julienned or shredded roots in water for five to ten minutes.Immature flower stalks may also be harvested in late spring, before flowers appear; their taste resembles that of artichoke, to which the burdock is related. The stalks are thoroughly peeled, and either eaten raw, or boiled in salt water.
​Leaves are also eaten in spring in Japan when a plant is young and leaves are soft. Some A. lappa cultivars are specialized for

​ this purpose. A popular Japanese dish is kinpira gobō, julienned or shredded burdock root and carrot, braised with soy sauce, sugar,mirin and/or sake, and sesame oil. Another is burdock makizushi (sushi filled with pickled burdock root; the burdock root is often artificially colored orange to resemble a carrot).

​In the second half of the 20th century, burdock achieved international recognition for its culinary use due to the increasing popularity of the macrobiotic diet, which advocates its consumption. It contains a fair amount of dietary fiber (GDF, 6g per 100g), calcium, potassium, amino acids, and is low in calories. It contains a polyphenol oxidase, which causes its darkened surface and muddy harshness by forming tannin-iron complexes. Burdock root's harshness harmonizes well with pork in miso soup (tonjiru) and with Japanese-style pilaf (takikomi gohan).

​Dandelion and burdock is today a soft drink that has long been popular in the United Kingdom, which has its origins in hedgerow mead commonly drunk in the medeival period. Burdock is believed to be a galactagogue, a substance that increases lactation, but it is sometimes recommended to be avoided during pregnancy based on animal studies that show components of burdock to cause uterus stimulation. 

​In Europe, burdock root was used as a bittering agent in beer before the widespread adoption of hops for this purpose.

The American composer Christian Wolff composed a work for variable performers entitled "Burdocks" in 1970-71.

Traditional medicine
Folk herbalists considered dried burdock to be a diuretic, diaphoretic, and a blood purifying agent. The seeds of A. lappa are used in traditional Chinese medicine, under the name niubangzi (Chinese: 牛蒡子; pinyin: niúbángzi.

​Burdock is a traditional medicinal herb that is used for many ailments. Burdock root oil extract, also called Bur oil, is currently used in Europe in the belief that it is a useful scalp treatment.[citation needed] Modern studies indicate that burdock root oil extract is rich in phytosterols and essential fatty acids (including rare long-chain EFAs). 


Decoct the chopped root in boiling water to make poultices and skin washes.

Part of Plant Used


Dried, powdered

Mucilage, acetylene compounds, polyacetylenes, bitter guaianolides