Herb of the Day: Burdock

great burdock

burdock seed


Burdock  (Arctium Lappa) can grow up to nine feet tall, but most generally is around the 3-5 foot stage in North America. Seeds are disbursed via the oval seed pods with tiny burrs on them. You frequently find them attached to your clothes and socks after a walk through a field or a forest.

Also known as:

Bur or Burr Buttons

Cockle Buttons

Grass or Great Burdock

Turkey Burrseed


Niu Bang

Lappa minor

All parts are very useful and very healing as confirmed through laboratory studies.  The roots are particularly useful in treatment of acne, psoriasis, and eczema in salves.  Tinctures are known to be antifungal, antibacterial, and bacteriostatic (meaning that it inhibits the growth of new bacteria). 

Used as a blood purifier, it can assist with liver detoxification efforts, it is one of the ingredients in Essiac Tea, which is known to many herbalists as a treatment for many different types of cancers. It activates the pancreas, which in turn will help keep blood sugar levels lowered, detoxifies the pancreatic cells (the pancreas is a huge filter for the body). 

As a gut stimulating agent, it helps bolster a weak digestive system. It will help alleviate flatulence, and indigestion as well as act as a bacteriocidal agent in the gut in the event of gastro-intestinal infections.

Burdock has a mild diuretic action, therefore it will help the kidneys, bladder and urinary tract eliminate harmful bacteria or other toxins.

It can also be used as a tea to help alleviate fever, sore throat, coughing, a common cold, laryngitis, pharyngitis.

It has antiviral properties and has been used as a tea in alleviating the length and severity of chicken pox and measles.  With it’s antifungal properties, it can be used to treat ringworm and athlete’s feet, or skin surface candida albicans.

As a tea or used in salves, it can be used to help alleviate the symptoms of gout, rheumatism and arthritic discomfort.

Seeds are high in essential fatty acids, Vitamins B2 and A.

Recommendations for use will vary from one herbalist to another, but per Herbs2000.com and several of my books, about 2-4 ml of burdock tincture in a non-carbohydrate drink once a day, or using it in capsule form, 1-2 grams, 3 times per day is sufficient.

For use with urinary issues such as a urinary tract infection, kidney or bladder infection, or to help minimalize the incidence and severity of kidney stones, use a burdock tincture in conjunction with tinctures from cleavers, virgin corn silk, yellow dock, red clover, or catnip in teas.

While the healing effects of burdock are well known, and few side effects are known, it is in the best interest of women who are pregnant, not to use herbal concoctions or tinctures without the advice and consent of their obstetrician. Burdock can stimulate uterine cramping and should not be used by pregnant women.



  As a decoction in salves and ointments for use on skin conditions.  As a tincture, in teas. Especially good when combined with other herbs as listed above. As a poultice, crushed or shredded, and applied directly to skin conditions, including ulcerated areas.  As a  wash, macerated, boiled, strained and cooled liquids applied to acne, eczema, psoriasis or other skin disorders.


 As an infusion, in water leaves allowed to simmer in boiling hot water for 20 minutes, cooled and sweetened with honey to taste to aid in treatment of digestive, liver or kidney disorders.  As a poultice directly on skin disorders. As an infusion in oil, to apply directly to varicose veins.


As a decoction, used in teas to alleviate fever, apply as a wash to skin conditions, as a cough and cold remedy and as a detoxifier.

Keep in mind when using burdock internally that it acts as a mild to moderate
laxative and diuretic and that it lowers blood sugar.

Leaves – harvest before flowering – used for stomach upset, improve digestion,
mild laxative, diuretic

Seeds – harvest when ripe in late summer to early fall – used for inflammation,
fever, mild antibacterial, diuretic, lowers blood sugar

Roots – harvest in late fall – used for cancer treatment (Essiac Ojibwa Tea),
cleansing and detox, moderate laxative, mild antibacterial, treat arthritis,
diuretic, topically for wounds, eczema and infection


Goat Mastitis Prevention: Herbal Treatment

Our Gabby lost a set of twins and we’ve had ongoing issues with her having mastitis. This is information shared from our vet and from personal experience. The following picture is not Gabby, but one that I found online to show you what mastitis in goats looks like. It is something that must be treated, otherwise the soft tissue in the teat will become permanently damaged and kids born to that doe will not be able to nurse her,

picture of goat mastitis

Goat Mastitis Prevention

If milk tastes salty, the goat usually has mastitis
Too full of milk will cause milk leakage

Eliminate chapping. Use a good quality teat dip

Use a bag balm after milking. Make sure to towel dry the udder after washing it. Use an antibacterial milking soap.

Milk 3x a day to evacuate bacteria out of the udder.

Infection leads to tissue damage.. the white blood cells can get ‘outgunned&# 39;

Bed in straw over sand. Silica gives no source for bacteria to live.. clean the straw daily to every other day. Strip stalls.

Mastitis prevention: Apple cider vinegar. 1 cup to 1 gallon of water. Add molasses if you like. Milk does with mastitis or suspect of it LAST! And always wash your hands between milking different animals

Teat dip; Dry powdered goldenseal root. Use as you would for any other dip, except it is dry.

Medicine Balls for Mastitis:

Add these dry powdered herbs to molasses.. stir to doughish consistancy, roll in wheat flour and/or slippery elm and dry.

Equal parts, Thyme, Garlic, Rosemary, Oregano, Sage, Mustard. Give
approximently 1 TB every 12 hours for 7-10 days