Scientific name: Arctium lappa

Burdock grows easily almost anywhere, and while often treated as a weed, it’s very effective for cleansing and detoxing the body. Well known for improving skin problems too, especially for teenagers.

Fun fact: the prickly seed pods were the inspiration behind Velcro!


  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Iron
  • Chromium
  • Inulin
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Bitter glycosides
  • Flavonoids
  • Volatile oils

Health Benefits

  • Improves eczema, psoriasis, acne, and related skin issues: used internally as a tea or cold drink, or externally as a wash
  • Helpful fighting infection for burns
  • Liver remedy
  • Anti-cancer, anti-tumor: the root has been traditionally used by Native Americans in their Essiac formula (effective for some natural doctors)
  • Boost lymphatic/immune system

Cooking Tips

Most often the root is used in cooking, especially in Japan.

  • Clean and peel fresh roots, steam lightly, garnish as desired, and eat.
  • See root beer tea recipe below.

Quick Remedies

(consult a doctor if experiencing any serious conditions)

  • Liver treatment: mix a tea or tincture 1:1 ratio of burdock and dandelion. Take 2-3x per day for 4-6 weeks.
  • Swollen lymph glands: drink 3-4 cups of burdock tea for 1-2 days.
  • Skin & general health: root beer tea (see link for full recipe). Not only tasty, but far healthier than soda! Great for teens.
  • Skin or liver treatment: make tea out of the fresh or dried root by taking 1 tsp per cup of water and allowing to steep for 30 min. Drink 1 cup 3x per day with meals.
  • 1st or 2nd degree burns: rub B&W ointment on the area, and apply a fresh poultice of burdock leaves on top. Repeat as needed daily until healed.

How to Grow


Where do you live?

This plant survives just about anywhere and is very aggressive. Hot or cold, or even freezing.

Put em in the ground

Plant straight from seed.

  • Fertile, poor, or rocky soil (whatever you have it will probably grow)
  • Drought resistant (does prefer moist soil)
  • Any amount of sun, prefers full sun
  • If you want to harvest the roots later, mix wood chips into the beds

Best harvested in fall of the first year when leaves are grayish underneath, or spring of the second year. Roots will grow into the ground as far as 2 feet.


If you don’t want a garden full of burdock, or a pet full of burdock, remove the seeds in the fall before they ripen!