Burdock Growing Tips and Medicinal Uses

Burdock, or the genus Arctium, is a biennial plant once popular in Europe as an ingredient in making beer before hops stole the show. Today, burdock continues to thrive as part of the Japanese pilaf and other dishes, and the herb remains a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine.

A native of Europe and Northern Asia, burdock has also found its purpose as a soft drink ingredient in the United Kingdom.

Even if you think you are not familiar with the plant, chances are that you’ve encountered them before. Or, you may have seen the burrs of the burdock. Remember those tiny balls that cling to your pants after a walk out in the tall grass? Those are burrs, and they were the inspiration for Velcro.

Cultivation of Burdock

Burdock is a fairly easy plant to grow. Here’s how:

  • Burdock is grown from seeds. Prepare some for propagation by soaking them in water overnight. This will enhance their germination rate.
  • Find an area large enough to grow burdock which can reach up to 6 feet in height and 3 feet in width. It is also better if the spot receives full sun, though burdock can grow in partial shade as well.
  • Burdock prefers rich and well-draining soil. If the soil doesn’t seem rich enough, you can add some compost. You can also till the soil and get rid of stones and rocks that may hinder the growth of the roots. Since the plant may grow very high, tilling the soil up to two feet will help the roots grow longer and help stabilize the plant.
  • Plant the seeds ¼ of an inch deep and at intervals of up to 3 inches. Each row of seeds should be separated by at least a foot. Cover them with seed starting soil up to ¾ inch thick.
  • Though burdock can grow on its own, you can help them out by giving them water regularly.
  • In one or two weeks, you will notice some seedlings. Make sure you weed frequently but carefully to prevent accidentally pulling them out. You also need to thin them out so that there is around 3 to 4 inches of space between the plants. Remove the ones with weak root systems.
  • As the plant grows, remove the young shoots that develop by simply pulling them out. These can already be eaten, though harvesting is typically done at 10 weeks. You also need to prune the young leaves with clippers and prevent the flowers from setting seed by removing them.


Tips on Growing Burdock

  • You can use high-nitrogen fertilizer to promote the plant’s growth.
  • Burdock roots normally grow up to 4 feet long, but there are some varieties that grow up to 9 feet.
  • Wear a mask or any type of covering for your face to avoid inhaling the seeds’ microscopic hairs, which can trigger allergic reactions.
  • Burdock is a biennial plant, so you can only enjoy its benefits for a couple of years. Roots are harvested during the first year while the seeds are gathered on the second year.

Medicinal Uses of Burdock

Burdock has been used throughout history as an herbal medicine to treat many ailments. It is popular among herbalists as a natural blood cleaner, diaphoretic, and diuretic.

Works wonder for digestion and elimination – Burdock is a good source of inulin, which stimulates the appetite and the action of the stomach. It also helps the digestive system and treats stomach and digestive problems. Burdock also aids in cleansing the liver.

Purifies the blood – Burdock is one of the best-known blood-purifying herbs, and has been used for thousands of years to flush waste and toxins out of the bloodstream.

Say goodbye to skin problems – Through its blood-cleansing ability, burdock also effectively flushes out the toxins that cause skin diseases like acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Fights cancer – Scientific studies have shown that burdock, as main ingredient of some herbal formulas, can help stop the growth of tumors. Aside from stopping the development and shrinking the size of cancer growths, these herbal formulas also help relieve pain and enhance the body’s immunity which cancer patients badly need.

Home Remedies For Burdock

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