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Arctium lappa

Parts used medicinally: Roots

Known in herbal medicine as an 'Alterative' or 'Depurative', which basically means it helps to improve detoxification processes in the body. Traditionally it is usually used alongside Dandelion as they complement each other. Herbalist commonly use Burdock for skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and acne.

Burdock is often considered a weed or a garden nuisance but as you learn more about herbs you'll get to know that often the 'weeds' are the plants that are most powerful in their medicine. We say that weeds are only plants YOU don't want in YOUR garden! People who understand how to use plants for health often keep a patch of nettles - or burdock in their gardens to use when they need to. 
Traditionally Burdock is best known for supporting the body to detoxify. It was commonly seen in a fizzy drink called 'Dandelion & Burdock' which sold in the UK and has a lot in common with American root beer and sarsaparilla. These drinks were common in 'Temperance Bars' where alcohol was not sold. The taste is slightly sweet and malty. 

Burdock tea


  • Burdock is part of the daisy family and the name Arctium is from the Greek 'arktos' or bear because of the shaggy burrs that form after it has flowered. The seeds and root can be used to promote wellbeing. 
  • The common name burdock derives from the French 'beurre' or butter because French women wrapped cakes of butter in leaves of the plant to transport it to market. 
  • Native to Europe, it was introduced to northern Asia and America. It thrives in waste areas and by roadsides - look out for its bright pinky purple flowers in summer followed by the prickly burrs. 
  • The Burdock root is very crisp and has a sweet, mild, and pungent flavour. 


  • Burdock is a great detoxifier - it has been traditionally thought to improve the elimination of metabolic waste so it is a great addition to any wellness or fitness programme. 
  • During the Industrial Revolution, burdock was used to help people cope with the effects of pollution. With all the pollution surrounding us today this is still a very valid use of this valued plant! 
  • Bur oil is rich in essential fatty acids and phytosterols and is usually combined with nettle oil for better effect in scalp treatment. 

If you are pregnant/breastfeeding or on drug medication, be sure to consult with a professional before trying these remedies

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