Recently talking to a local farmer friend Burdock was referred to as their worst nightmare.
Well I said, “what you don’t realize is that you are actually sitting on a gold mine.
Burdock root is very nutritious, providing Vitamin C, biotin, Vitamins B1, B6, B12 and Vitamin E.
The root also contains potassium, sulfur, silica and manganese and it even provides insulin, a helpful sugar for diabetics and hypoglycemics.”
Cooking with Burdock Root
Why it even tastes good! Burdock root, I told him, has a mild, nutty, somewhat sweet flavor that can be steamed, mixed into sauces, soups, chilies and curries or it can be baked in the oven. Like a potato it takes approximately 30 minutes to cook. When a fork penetrates easily, then you know it is done.
One can even mix Burdock root in with their stews, sweet peppers, carrots, turnips, parsnips, mushrooms and mustard greens as they all complement its flavor. In Japan it is still cultivated as a vegetable. The Japanese use it in oriental dishes as a filling usually sautéed with sesame oil, Tamari soy sauce and ginger.
Burdock Medicinal Properties
As this good farming friend looked at me with a doubtful frown I proceeded to tell him about the traditional use of this plant.
Historically this food has been used for liver dysfunction, urinary tract disorders and as s a diuretic that cleanses the entire body as it tones and soothes. In addition it acts as a general detoxifier and immune system stimulant. The demulcent effect of Burdock soothes the upper respiratory tract’s mucous membranes while its diaphoretic action makes you perspire, stimulating the immune system and promoting detoxification.
A compress of concentrated infusion of Burdock leaf can be used for eczema and it is one of the most powerful and reliable blood tonics of Herbalism. The antibiotic effect of the root has even been known to aid with staphylococcus.
Harvesting the Roots
As I rambled on I advised him that the first year roots were the ones to be used. One can collect the root in spring, summer, or fall. It is easiest to dig up the taproot after a rainstorm. You know it is ready to use when the leaves form a basal rosette.
Never looked much like a rose to me he muttered – patiently as I rambled on. Well! In all honesty I don’t think I convinced my farming friend of the potential of Burdock root as a cash crop. But! The next time you become angry at these little Bristly Burred Plants, dig some up, try a savory dish of them and think of how you might turn them into real gold.