Burdock is from the Asteraceae family of the Genus Arctium of which there are several species. The most common used is Arctium lappa. The plant grows on a basal stalk with large leaves resembling common dock. Burdock is often treated as a weed when it grows naturally along roadsides where wind blows the seed and it settles along fences and other catchment areas.

The heads of these plants were considered the precursor to Velcro (hook and loop) due to the way they cling to clothing. These “burrs” and other parts of the plant that are above ground (leaves, step flowers etc,) have been known to cause skin irritation in some people.

Historically, Burdock was used for treating several complaints. Herbalists used Burdock root on boils and other skin conditions. It was thought to benefit rheumatism. In America Herbalists have used Burdock for more than 200 years. Some cultures believe it can be used to treat skin cancer.

Burdock has a Taproot much like a carrot though typically longer and thinner depending on the species and growing conditions. It is not as common as it used to be in many parts of the world as new tastes have evolved with new generations. It is still commonly eaten in Asian countries.

Burdock can be prepared for the table in many ways, Sliced, Julienne, grated or peeled or scrubbed whole.

Burdock root is high in carbohydrates and dietary fibre. It is low fat and contains many essential vitamins and minerals, including – Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. It is not a huge source of B Group vitamins but it does contain Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate and Pantothenic Acid. Burdock is a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Iron, Zinc, Copper, Magnesium and Selenium are also present.

Burdock is recognised for its beneficial use in skincare. It can be found in many Skin and hair care products and cosmetic lines. Burdock can be found in many skin conditioners and cleansers, Hair shampoos and conditioners, moisturisers and masks.

Try incorporating Burdock into your diet by:

- Chop Burdock root and add to a mixed pan of roast vegetables.

- Cut Burdock finely and add to stir fries in a similar fashion to ginger.

- To incorporate Burdock into your diet and hide it from the kids, try grating it and adding it to rissoles or add it to soups and stews.

- I have seen burdock pieces infused in vinegar where they can add a flavour by using the vinegar on salads and in preserves.

- Burdock can be used cooked and served as a side vegetable with carrots and drizzled with honey.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites...

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