burdock | arctium lappa

COMMON NAMES: Greater Burdock, Beggars Buttons, Thorny Burr, Love Leaves, Lappa, Fox's Clothes | FAMILY: Asteraceae (Daisy & Sunflower Family) | PARTS USED: Root, Leaves, Seeds | NATIVE TO: Europe, Middle East, Scandinavia, China, Japan, India, Mediterranean, Grows all over the United States | TASTE: Bitter, Sweet | ENERGY: Cooling, Moistening, Neutral | PLANET: Saturn & Pluto | ELEMENT: Water | GENDER: Feminine | CHAKRA: Root Chakra | DEITY: Venus, the Goddess of Love & Beauty / Earth Mother, who rules over our values and desires

history & folklore

Burdock's genus name is Aretium which derived from the Greek word “arctos” or bear. The species, lappa is also Greek, meaning to seize or Celtic roots use “llap” which means hand. Referring to its common name (Burdock), “Burr” comes from "Burra" which means wool in Latin, as the burrs of the plant would often get caught on the fur or wool of animals. The second part of the word "Dock" is Flemish, referring to its very large leaves.
In parts of Europe, Burdock Root thought to determine if a love was true. If you throw a burr at the hem of your love and it stuck, your lover was true. If the burr did not stick or fell off, it meant their affection would not be reciprocated.

In Edinburgh, there is a traditional Burryman Parade that has gone on for centuries. Though the origin of the parade is unclear. given Burdock's spiritual connection to the Underworld, it was believed it would keep negative energy and evil spirits away. He was declared a symbol of regeneration, rebirth and fertility, similar to the Green Man. The chosen Burryman would suit up from head to toe in burrs and even flowers, and parade through the street, receiving whiskey through a straw from people watching the parade. (Source)

Burdock was the inspiration for Velcro. It is said that 1940s George de Mestral, the Swiss inventor of Velero, got the idea after examining the fruit of a burdock plant that had stuck to his dog's fur. [5] Under a microscope, he looked closely at the hook-and-loop system that the seeds use to hitchhike on passing animals aiding seed dispersal, and he realized that the same approach could be used to join other things together. The result was Velcro." (Source)

magickal uses

Burdock's magic is explained in her Doctrine of Signature. Her purple color and hourglass shape accentuates her femininity while her layer of bracts or tiny prickles design her for protection. Known as Bat Weed in folk magic and the Occult, Burdock was gathered during a waning moon and primarily used for cleansing, warding off negativity or in protection spells. Dried burrs are carried or worn as amulets (Source), to protect the wearer from the darkness or nega tive energy. Due to its deep root, it was thought to have a connection to the underworld and its dark unworldly pow.

emotional uses

On an energetic level, Burdock's deep taproots symbolize her ability to be a deep healer. She provides stability while processing deep-seeded resentment, anger, and grief held deep within the cells of the body. She makes amends to wards the deep anger, especially towards authority figures or those in power (Source).

Whether in this life or a past life, she removes the barriers that keep us feeling stuck or stagnant. She tends to the unresolved feelings and pain from lack of closure that great losses can bring on the living. She exemplifies resiliency, rising up through the wastelands and disrupted environment. Not letting chaos or less than ideal conditions sway her from flourishing. She flows through the blood of our bodies, cleansing emotional toxicity from our past and purifies our energetic body.

She washes away fear and unease, lifting us from our stagnation and oppression.. bringing about focus, clarity, endurance, patience, and perseverance. She urges us to make healthy choices for ourselves, by breaking up disruptive and co-dependent patterns in relationships, connections, society. She grounds us in the present so that we can be grateful for what we have, rather than missing what we do not have. She embodies our Feminine Empowerment.

She's a Warrior.

tender, love & care

Burdock is a biennial that grows all across the United states. Burdock grows along the roadsides, sprinkled within fields, along the edges of the woods, wastelands-prefers disturbed soil. A large plant with big elephant ear leaves that grow close to the ground in its first year. As the plant grows into its second year, long stalks emerge and by summer, progress into pinkish purple flowers. Stalks and leaves should be harvested in Spring and early Summer.

By autumn, the flowers become brown burrs that linger through the winter and into the following spring. This is the best time to harvest the roots! Brown carrot-shaped taproots extend deep into the earth's surface. Burdock's roots drink deeply from the soil around it. For this reason, it is important to notice where the plant is growing from if you intend to use it, as it can absorb toxins from outside influences around it. The root gives a slight "diffusive" quality producing a "tingly" sensation on the tongue when chewed or taken as an extract.



Burdock is most commonly used for purifying the blood and helps to soothe the kidneys. Most commonly used for purifying the blood, burdock tends to be helpful to those living in particularly compromised environment where pesticides and chemicals may be present - which is interesting as its doctrine of signature- burdock chooses to grow in some of the most disturbed conditions. She is even helpful for those who need to rid thermselves of radioactive isotopes from radiation treatments. Burdock’s been known to clear toxins that impact arthritis and rheumatism in the body as well as address deep fungal infection

soothe & calm skin conditions 

No stranger to difficult conditions, Burdock excels at treating chronic skin inflammation such as psoriasis, eczema, and, itching, rashes, bruising, sores, etc. For best results, use internally as well as topically, which can be used daily. Burdock can also be used in treatment and rinses to help alleviate the scalp of dryness and flakiness.

aids with digestion 

When digestion is sluggish, burdock is a fantastic aid. As a diuretic, it is great for relieving bloat, especially for PMS and increasing bile flow, reducing pressure.

hormone balance

Burdock is hypoglycemic and a natural source of insulin which makes it a probiotic. Burdock helps to stabilize blood sugar by reducing the amount of sugar picked up in the intestines and balances pituitary functions. If consumed on a regular basis, it can help with sweet cravings. This is particularly impactful to support the management of diabetes. Burdock can reduce anxiety, moodiness, and weight gain.

"Emotions are actually chemicals- peptides - that bind to tell receptors. The Burdock Flower Essence completes "breaks" in the energy circuits that affect how the emotions and heavy metals become bonded. However, it supports the energetic process of those bonds "unraveling", which allows the body to release both the anger and the metals."

- Diana Pepper and John Robinson, Burdock Flower Essence - Tree Frog Farm 


"On a psychological level, Burdock helps us deal with our worries about the unknown... which lurk in the dark woods beyond our control. It seizes upon deep complex issues, penetrates to the core and brings up old memories and new answers. It gives us faith to move ahead on our path, despite the unknown problems that might snare us on our way. It helps the person who is afraid become more hardy, while it brings the hardy wanderer back to his original path. it restores vigor and momentum."

-Matthew wood, Herbalist


burdock & dandelion cordial


Simmer the roots, ginger and anise in 1.5 cups of water over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the water is infused with color. Strain and measure the liquid. For every 0.5 ounce of liquid, add 0.5 ounces of honey.

Return to the pan and heat over a low heat until dissolved and thickened. Pour into sterile jars, label and date.

To Use: as a cordial in fizzy water (or alcoholic cocktails!)

Shelf Life: Will keep in the fridge for up to 1 year. Discard if musty or moldy.