Botanical Name: Arctium Lappa | Family: Compositea (thistle group)

Common name(s): Burdock, Common Burdock, Lappa, Rox’s Clote, Thorny Burr, Beggar’s Buttons, Cockle Buttons, Clot-Bur


  • Biennial, herbacious | zones 3-7 | full sun to light shade | 3 – 4′
  • Any and all soils


Parts used: Root

Harvest the root in September or October. Use a weed tool, they set roots deep like dandelions. Sometimes the roots go 2 – 3′ deep!


Decoction/tea: Bring 1 tsp roots in 1 cup of water to boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day.

Tincture: take 2-4ml of the tincture 3x/day

Food: Roots can be steamed (a steamed version called Gobo is found in Japanese restaurants).

Combinations: Use Yellow Dock, Red Clover, or Cleavers for skin issues


Constituents: flavonoid glycosides, bitter glycosides, alkaloid, antimicrobial substance, inulin

Actions: alterative, diaphoretic, diuretic, carminative, bitter

Uses: skin issues (particularly dry and scaly conditions), stimulation of digestive juices, especially bile secretion, cystitis, externally to heal wounds and ulcers

Cautions: None! It is one of the safest, tastiest and most effective detoxifying and cleansing herbs in both Western and traditional Chinese medicine.


  • Medicinal Herbs, Rosemary Gladstar
  • A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
  • photo credit: woolcarderbee via photopin cc

I left a couple of plants that look like burdock growing in my yard this year. However, I think they might be a different variety, not common burdock. Since burdock is a biennial, I’ll wait to see what kind of flower they have.

Little did I know that burdock is the plant that creates that burr that is THE WORST to get out of dog fur until I went looking for pictures of it! This picture above shows the flowers before they get to that dried brown sticky burr stage.

An interesting fact: Burdock burrs were the inspiration for velcro.