Picking burdock.


On the medicinal herblist in Sep00,

by Henriette

>I wonder if anyone would like to share their thoughts and experience of burdock? I was thinking of harvesting roots and seeds from the wild. ... I read she should be harvested in July. I'm in England (it's definitely Autumn and she looks ready). Don't know about seed - in what state should it be harvested? Is it too late for the leaf now? Also, how would you know the difference between major and minor -and medicinally, is there one? Any one have any nice recipe ideas?

There is no difference, therapeutically. Use any Arctium you can get.

Don't pick the seeds if larvae gross you out. At least three kinds live there; some of them occupy several seeds, others are happy with just one. And it's impossible to get seeds -without- this extra protein.

Photo: Arctium tomentosum 5. Dig up the root. Autumn is far better than July for that; they're biennial, so those with flowers and seeds on top aren't for you; dig those which have only a leaf rosette instead. If it's not a straight-down taproot but strange curved things or weak stringy things you haven't dug a burdock but a coltsfoot (Tussilago). Learn to tell them apart before you pick even one burdock. They're therapeutically completely different and Tussilago contains hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

Photo: Arctium tomentosum 8. The leaf is just as useful as the rest of the plant, and FAR easier to pick. It's very much more diuretic than root or seed, but after you've dug the root for a few afternoons you just ignore that. If you can find whole green leaves, without too much insect damage, go for it. If they're over the hill, well, roll up your sleeves, get out your blister band-aids, and dig.

Recipes? You chew on sliced-up dried root, you make a tea from root or leaf, you tincture root, leaf, or seed, or you make an oil or salve from leaf.