Burdock is a member of the aster family, native to Europe, Asia and Japan. The fresh taproot has a celery/potato taste and contains some antibiotics, which some people use to treat dandruff and acne.
Actually, the leaves and tender, young stems are edible, too. Roots can be eaten raw or cooked. Leaves and stems are usually cooked like spinach.
Burdock has been used in a wide variety of herbal medicines. The most common is treatment of skin and scalp problems, including combating hair loss and dandruff control. Burdock has also been used as liver treatment, to stimulate the digestive system, colds and sore throats, and even for treatment of leprosy.
In medieval times a girl would pick a bur from burdock, give it her lover's name and throw it against her dress. If it stuck he was faithful, if not, he was untrue.
Burdock is one of the principal detoxifying herbs in both Western and Chinese herbal medicine. It is an excellent blood purifier and will help cleanse the body of waste products, including heavy metals and uric acid.
Burdock's antibiotic, anti-fungal and demulcent qualities have proven valuable in the treatment of skin disorders, especially when toxicity is a factor. Taken internally and applied topically, it has been used to successfully medicate acne, boils, eczema and psoriasis.
Burdock is easily obtainable as an ingredient in teas, ointments, or pills. It is a powerful diuretic, and is safe to be taken internally, externally, or as food.