Appearance and General Info
Burdock is a stout biannual, with large, wavy leaves and round heads with purple flowers. The lower leaves are large, heart-shaped while the upper leaves of the burdock plant are egg-shaped, and much smaller in size. Burdock varies greatly in appearance, most notably due to its first or second year of growth. Burdock can grow to be four feet tall or more. The seeds are nature’s example of Velcro and stick to everything passing by to assure its survival.
The Burdock root is most commonly used medicinally, although the seeds make a great tea with similar properties. Burdock assists in purifying the blood. It also is useful in clearing up acne and other skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis through moving the toxins out of the system. The tea can be used as a wash to assist the healing of bruises, boils and ulcers. Burdock used topically on the skin is so effective due to the plant’s oily composition. It helps the skin absorb and restore moisture and promotes overall health for the largest organ of the human body. The root, either eaten raw or used as a tea, helps bind and remove heavy metal toxins. The root oil extract known as bur oil, is used as a scalp treatment in Europe to strengthen the hair, aid in the prevention of hair loss, and help reverse scalp conditions such as dandruff. Modern studies validate that the high content of essential fatty acids in bur oil provide the nutrients required for maintaining a healthy scalp and promoting natural hair growth.
Burdock is a biannual plant which means that it produces large basal leaves the first year, flowers and seeds the second year and then dies and reseeds itself. The taproot is a delicious food similar to a sweet flavorful potato and is best harvested in the fall of its first year or the spring of its second year. The root will be most succulent and tender before the plant goes to seed. The young flowering stocks are also edible, and are harvested in the late spring before its summer petals appear. The root can be spiralized into spaghetti and eaten as noodles with a sauce.