Burdock is one of those herbs that is so well known, in such common use, and so abundant, that I think people dismiss its medicinal benefits—it’s not at all exotic, after all. Driving down the road, through a newly developed neighborhood, built on top of an old uranium processing plant, I see on the side of the road a familiar broad leaf, with some very familiar Velcro-like seed pods. I get out of the car to say hello to this friend. I don’t often see it in the wild here in Colorado because of the lack of rain and disturbed soil, but here I find it, growing in soil I wouldn’t choose to grow food in, quite happy with its life. It grows in a ditch, where it gets plenty of water runoff from the overwatered neighborhood above, and it is just loving life. I leave the burdock here to merrily clean up the toxic soil, and propagate its beautiful children to continue the cleanup.
You will read in this issue all about burdock: its traditional use as a food and medicine, and some interesting scientific and nutritional implications this “weed” has in current practice. This is an herb that goes rancid quickly because of its high fat content, so even a good-quality dried herb from a reputable supplier like Mountain Rose Herbs, wouldn’t store well after just a few months. Instead, I generally recommend growing this beautiful root yourself. It is a weed, therefore so simple to grow. You can tincture it and make goodies out of the fresh herb to preserve the medicinal qualities, which will be more stable over time than drying. Burdock is great for remediating toxic soil (but don’t eat the ones grown in toxic soil!), and for punching much-needed holes in grumpy soil to help improve water drainage and decrease the chance of flash flooding.
Have fun learning all about your new/old friend, Burdock.