top of page


Burdock Monograph

Botanical Name

Arctium Minus / Arctium Lappa

Common Name

Burdock, Gewone klit, greater burdock, gobo, beggar's buttons, thorny burr



Parts Used

Root, leaf, seed/fruit

Native To

Temperate regions of Europe and Asia

Harvesting Guidelines

Burdock root is a popular ingredient in traditional medicine and cuisine, and it's best harvested during the first year of growth in the fall season. It's important to harvest the root before the flower stalk appears, as the root becomes too tough and fibrous for consumption once the stalk emerges. If you miss the fall harvest, you can also dig up the root in early spring of the second year before the seed stalk appears. However, digging up burdock root can be a time-consuming task due to its large size, so it's recommended to choose medium-sized plants for easier harvesting.


Burdock, a plant commonly used in Western herbal medicine, has been known for its potential health benefits for centuries. While its exact effects on the body are not fully understood, it has been described as an alterative, meaning it may help improve metabolism and act as a general tonic. However, due to its complex nature and potential effects on multiple body systems, it is difficult to define burdock's benefits in a simple, reductionist manner. Nonetheless, burdock remains a popular choice for those seeking natural remedies for various health concerns. (1)

Burdock, a plant native to Europe and Asia, has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its various health benefits. The root of the plant is particularly valued for its ability to increase urine flow and flush out the urinary tract, making it useful in treating minor urinary tract complaints. Burdock root is also known to soothe chronic skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis, and is used as a natural remedy for loss of appetite. Modern herbalists continue to use burdock for its diuretic, antilithic, and alterative properties.(2)

When it comes to blood purification, burdock root does wonder. The plant eliminates toxins from the blood and boosts its flow throughout the body. One study reveals the root could help regulate blood glucose levels and be helpful for diabetes. Burdock root works well with Yellowdock, Nettle leaf and sarsaparilla.

Native American tribes such as the Menominee and Micmac used the root of the burdock plant to treat skin sores, while the Cherokee tribe used it for a variety of ailments. In traditional Chinese medicine, burdock root was used to treat coughs, colds, sore throats, tonsillitis, measles, sores, and abscesses. Today, burdock is still used in herbal remedies for its potential health benefits.

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, burdock root is used to balance the kapha and vata doshas, which are associated with earth and air elements, respectively. According to Ayurveda, imbalances in these doshas can lead to various health issues, and burdock root is believed to help restore balance and promote overall health and well-being.

Burdock root has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various health issues. It is known for its ability to purify the liver and aid in the elimination of toxins from the body. Burdock root is particularly beneficial for those with arthritis, glandular issues, and skin problems. It supports the kidneys, lymph nodes, colon, and skin in their elimination processes, making it a valuable addition to any natural health regimen.(3)

Burdock, a plant with large leaves and purple flowers, has a long history of cultivation in Japan as a vegetable. Its popularity has spread to other Asian countries such as Taiwan and China, where the root is enjoyed for its crisp texture, mild sweetness, and slight pungency. Burdock can be eaten both raw and cooked, making it a versatile ingredient in many dishes. (4) Burdock root has been traditionally used for its digestive benefits, thanks to its high content of inulin. Inulin is a prebiotic fiber that helps to nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut, promoting healthy digestion and overall gut health.(5)

Burdock root is known for its ability to stimulate the digestive system by increasing the production of bile, which aids in digestion and improves appetite. Additionally, burdock root is a mild bitter and cholagogue, which supports the overall health of the body.(6)

Burdock root possesses a combination of bitter, sweet, and oily properties, making it particularly beneficial for addressing dry and atrophic conditions. It effectively supports the enhancement of secretions, tissue nourishment, and tissue purification. The bitter components of burdock root stimulate secretion within the digestive tract, while its oily nature promotes increased bile production. This, in turn, facilitates the improved absorption of fats and oils in the small intestine, enhances gallbladder function, and aids in the liver's processing of oils.

Burdock root is especially recommended when there is insufficient bile secretion, as evidenced by dry stool, constipation, and inadequate emulsification of fats and oils. Insufficient lipid absorption leads to a depletion of these vital substances throughout the body. Consequently, burdock root is commonly associated with dry, scaly skin conditions and overall dry skin. Furthermore, when the sebaceous glands become obstructed due to limited oil flow, inflammation can occur. Therefore, burdock root is often connected with alleviating acne and boils, which arise from such blockages. Additionally, it helps address dryness in the sinuses, lungs, and limited kidney secretions.


Adult Dose

Decoction: 1 cup (1 teaspoon dried root in 8 fl oz water


While burdock has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, caution should be taken when using it alongside synthetic diuretics. The European Medicines Agency advises against its use in any form during pregnancy or lactation due to limited safety studies. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating burdock into your health regimen.


Alterative, Analgesic, Antiinflammatory, Antioxidant, Antilithic, Bitter, Cholagogue, Diuretic


Cooling, Moistening



(2)European Medicines Agency. (2010). Community herbal monograph on Arctium lappa L., radix. Retrieved from

(3)Li, X., & Wei, W. (2002). Chinese materia medica: Combinations and applications. St. Albans, England: Donica Publishing.

(4)Bae, S., Lim, K.M., Cha, H.J., An, I.S., Lee, J.P., Lee, K.S., … An, S. (2014). Arctiin blocks hydrogen peroxide-induced senescence and cell death though microRNA expression changes in human dermal papilla cells. Biological Research, 47(1), 1-11.

(5)Li, D., Kim, J.M., Jin, Z., & Zhou, J. (2008). Prebiotic effectiveness of inulin extracted from edible burdock. Anaerobe, 14(1), 29–34.

(6)Hoffmann, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.


Scientific Research


Information offered on Achula and on this page is for educational purposes only. Achula makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Women who are pregnant or nursing, and persons with known medical conditions, should consult their licensed healthcare provider before taking any herbal product. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. Achula neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.



bottom of page