Wild Weed Wisdom

Nurture Your 'Inner Wild' with Foraged Edible and Medicinal Plants

Burdock Root


Burdock Root

Digging up wild roots in many parts of Great Britain, Europe, and North America is against the law. One must get special permission from park authorities or the land-owner, unless you are digging on your own property. This is an ethical question I sometimes struggle with: in the case when a plant is considered a nuisance, a common weed, wouldn’t it be better for a forager like myself to remove this plant and make good use of it? As opposed to prevelant ‘weed management’, where the plant is removed anyway, and often with harmful pesticides? I know of numerous instances where I respected the law, only to see that the roots I’d have loved to harvest had been dug up en masse by park authorities…

I do understand that we also can’t have everyone digging up as many roots as they like!

Pretty tricky.

Anyway, the delicious burdock roots shown in this photo came from just down the street, from the Korean “Toko” shop; where gobo (its Asian name) is sold for use in traditional Korean and Japanese dishes. If you’ve eaten vegetarian maki, you’ve probably eaten gobo (牛蒡 or ごぼう). Korean use the term “u-eong” (우엉) or “tong u-eong” (통우엉), meaning, “whole burdock”. If you have never tried this before, head over to your local shop and pick some up.

The cultivated roots of burdock can grow about one metre long and two centimetres across, though I believe the wild, first-year burdock would have more medicinal properties than a cultivated one. Burdock root is crisp with a sweet, mild, and pungent flavour and earthy smell.  Its helpful to soak it, julienned or shredded, in water for five to ten minutes to keep it from turning grayish-brown once the outer layer has been removed (remove it as one would peel a carrot).

In macrobiotic cooking, burdock root is considered  healing, warming, and calming. It helps one think more clearly and stay even-tempered. It is an excellent jet-lag remedy.

Burdock Root (Articum lappa) is great added to soups, stews, and stir-fries. I add it to my ‘almost-famous’ Boston Baked Beans dish. I will post this recipe at a later date and link it to this page. I’ll also continue to add photos of burdock in various stages of growth to help you locate your own; as well as describe all the other amazing things burdock has to offer.


Author: It's a Wild Thing

Nature-crazy forager sharing a love of wild medicinal & edible plants & a passion for all wild things. Events & classes on sustainable foraging, bringing the wild into your life & nature therapy: itsawildthing.com

3 thoughts on “Burdock Root

  1. I have been drinking a lot of burdock tea lately and definitely feel the results. Thank you for this interesting post! I look forward to learning more. Best wishes-Julie

  2. Pingback: Burdock and Co | Kitchenette Finds

  3. Pingback: Feeling Grounded | Wild Weed Wisdom

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