We harvest great burdock in the fall just after the first frost when the leaves are crisp and the great plant sends its energy to the roots. You know the plant whose burrs stick to your clothing and are darned to get off.
The basal or oval shaped leaves are a greyish-green in color with broadly wavy leaves that cascade out over our paths and grow in urban sidewalk cracks! The most potent medicine is found in its 1st years roots. The 2nd years delicate flower stalks (see below) and roots are delicious as a vegetable or in sou in the Spring, and the seeds later nestled in the burrs act as an unfailing kidney tonic.
Burdock has an earthy, sweet and thorough way of healing , with a deeply reaching, slow acting and extensive effect on the whole system, most profoundly felt in the lymph, sweat, and oil glands and the organs of the liver, lungs and kidneys writes Susun Weed.
Burdock is a tonifying herb with minimum toxicity and touted as an anti-cancerous plant and recognized as preventive in epidemics. Burdock is notably high in chromium, iron, magnesium, silicon, thiamine (Vit. B )and rich in inulin, a soluble dietary fibre belonging to a group of carbohydrates known as fructans. Unlike most carbs, inulin is non-digestible. This allows it to pass through the small intestine and ferment in the colon. Through this fermentation process, the inulin becomes a healthy intestinal micro flora and known as a prebiotic, an important food for building probiotic, a key to a healthy gut. Inulin is very high in the roots of plants in the Autumn, especially species from the Asteraceae family, like dandelion and elecampane, being just two of many, from this family that are rich in Inulin. The fresh burdock root is rich in Vitamin C.
On the whole burdock strengthens the immune system without the stimulation that many immune herbs do.Burdock is a steady acting blood alterative.(cleansing)The root with its mucilaginous fibers has actions that nourishes the digestive system that helps to eliminate the toxins lodged in the muscles and connective tissues. Burdock is a good choice for those with colitis, stomach ulcers and colon cancer. As a bacteria static burdock treats candida and provides relief in spleen deficient digestive discomforts, sinus congestion and headaches. Burdock soothes and eases joint pain relieving chronic discomfort for those with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis, and can stabilize blood sugar levels in hypoglycemic s and moderate them for those with diabetes. Burdock with its deeply reaching effects act on the liver and treats difficult skin conditions readily.
The fresh root is best prepared as a tincture in alcohol or glycerine or as a decoction with fresh or dried root brewed on the stove. For an easy tincture preparation, harvest the fresh roots, wash the dirt and chop it vertically into slices. Fill your jar with the root and enough alcohol to cover. Fill twice and leave for 6 weeks . Decant tincture to smaller 50 and 100 ml bottles and label from what, where and when you harvested. For chronic care take 2 dropperfuls in a little water up to 3x a day for a minimum of 3 to 6 weeks. Or until your body tell s you to that is complete.
The Japanese have cooked with burdock (gobu) for centuries in soups and stews. The native Cherokee woman prepared burdock for both the woman and her womb before and after birthing. Burdock gives you stamina and strengthens the uterus.
How could we not benefit from this roots goodness? Make sure to bring a fork and an extra pair of gloves when you go to harvest burdock. She is a tough one and not for cold or the faint of heart. Burdock is for strong, fiery people. Give yourself time to let burdock works its way through for best results.
Try the Fall Nourish Tonic to strengthen you liver, lungs and kidneys, to nourish your immune system and to prevent from colds and flu s. Take a large handful each of Burdock rt, Oat straw, Hawthorn leaf and berry, Parsley, Cardamom, Ginger, Orange peel & cinnamon. Take 1 tbsp. per cup and steep for 15 min. Enjoy up to 3 x a week.
We are about to begin our Making Root Remedies teaching beginning October 12 Th. Please see the teaching page and come join us this year. Burdock will surely be one of our roots as i have two big first year plants in the garden.