Burdock

Chickweed, Clover, Dandelion, Lambs Quarter, Plantain, Purslane, Sheep Sorrel, Violets, etc.
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jack oostenbrink
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Posts: 37
Joined: Fri 17-Dec-2021, 21:48

Burdock

Post by jack oostenbrink »

I've been dabbling a bit in medicinal herbs and burdock leaves are great for healing skin irritations like rashes, itches, acne and eczema while the roots are useful as a liver toning agent. This is the plant that produces burrs that get stuck in your socks or pet's fur. When I lived on the prairies, it was quite abundant but there isn't much of it in our region. I have ordered seed and plan to grow it this year for the roots, which are particularly high in nutrients. I will have to be careful that it doesn't go to seed though, or our dog Rex will never let me hear the end of it!
Food Security Steph
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon 03-Jan-2022, 21:21

Re: Burdock

Post by Food Security Steph »

Hi Jack - I did an in-person Foraging workshop this summer lead by Mrs Locavore (she's on Instagram) in Langley as I want to learn about medicinal and herbal properties of plants too. She took us on a tea foraging workshop through the Langely Demonstration Garden and Arboretum. She pointed out a huge array of plants that have medicinal uses and helpful properties. Interestingly, many of them would be considered weeds by many and were found along the edges, margins and open fields rather than in intentionally planted areas. Burdock was one of them that had great properties as you mentioned but it is also listed on the BC Invasive plant list (as is Comfrey, St. John's Wort and Foxgloves) so I'd put a disclaimer out there just so everyone knows: https://bcinvasives.ca/invasives/burdock/

Mrs Locavore really advocated for using your networks or making friends with people who have the plant you're looking for in these situations because one person's weeds are another person's dinner. Case in point, at the workshop I met a lady who had bought Purslane seeds as she was hoping to grow a lot for her stir-fries. I invited her over to pick as much as she wanted from our farm rows as we have it naturally occurring.

I think as a society we have so much to learn and unlearn. I remember a community gardener planting Canadian Thistle in her garden plot and it was challenging to communicate why it was causing an uproar in the garden community (it's also on the list). She was growing it for the seeds for their liver cleansing and tonic properties.
jack oostenbrink
Site Admin
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri 17-Dec-2021, 21:48

Re: Burdock

Post by jack oostenbrink »

Thanks for that Stephanie, I know it is invasive in parts of the province. Didn't know it was on the list though. I think I will treat it as an annual and remove the plants to the compost after harvesting the roots. As a biennial it shouldn't flower in its first year. Or do you think I am asking for trouble by even planting it?
Food Security Steph
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon 03-Jan-2022, 21:21

Re: Burdock

Post by Food Security Steph »

Hi Jack - I think you're fine to treat it as an annual and manage it that way. I haven't seen it aggressively spread in this part of the province but it's good to include in the discussion as it might be a bigger problem in other areas.

I manage a patch of stinging nettles (not on the list - there is a native and a non-native variety here in BC) much to my husband's frustration. He'd like them gone as the sting hurts and new plants could pop up in other areas on the farm. But I harvest the leaves like fresh spinach and cut the plant right back so it can't make seeds. So far it's contained the patch.
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