Common name Burdock

Latin name Arctium lappa

Parts used Root

System affinities

Burdock is particularly indicated for the digestive system.  It is particularly effective in treating liver complaints, and purifying the blood.

Energetics/characteristics/flower essence/dosha

Burdock is an alterative.  It is thus used to cleanse the blood of impurities, and relax tension or torpor.  It is particularly effective at fortifying the liver and kidneys.  It is indicated for the kapha dosha, who have a tendency for excess water retention.  

Taste and quality

Burdock is acrid and slightly pungent.


Burdock finds itself useful in a variety of situations.  As it helps to increase blood circulation, especially to the skin, it is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and fungal infections.  As a blood purifier it is particularly sympathetic to the liver and helpful in treating liver conditions like jaundice and cirrhosis.  Due to its relaxing nature, it is used in treating arthritis and joint pain.


History and lore

The name Arctium is derived from the Greek arctos, “bear” Lappa is from the Greek “to seize”, and llap is from the Celtic for “Hand”. The word Dock in its common name refers to its large leaves and Burr is from the Latin Burra which means “Wool” alluding to the fruit’s tendency to get caught in fur or wool of passing animals. It is said that George de Mestral, the Swiss inventor of Velcro, got the idea after examining the fruit of a burdock plant that had stuck to his dog’s fur.


Burdock thrives along river banks, disturbed habitats, roadsides, vacant lots, and fields. It grows throughout North America but not in the southern regions.

Dosing and formulas