Monday, August 08, 2011

Honouring Great Gobo (burdock root)

Upon transplanting some herbs in the front yard I came across a huge burdock plant that had been hidden from view, growing to it's hearts content.  I needed to remove it order to continue my new planting - usually I have had to dig the big burdock roots in order to get them out entirely, but with the ground so dry from little rain this season the long deep root came out easily in one pull.  I immediately sliced it into small pieces for quick drying, as once the root hardens it becomes virtually impossible to cut.  I will store the dried root slices and use them as valuable medicine over the winter months.  Burdock, also known as Great Gobo, can actually be eaten if the roots are fresh and young (steamed, cooked in soups, or stir-fried), but the tougher late summer-fall roots are best dried and used in tinctures or decoctions (i.e. strong teas made of roots).  Burdock is extremely health promoting, considered to be one of the superior tonic herbs.  It is rich in iron and other vitamins and minerals, great for any skin conditions (eczema, etc), promotes healthy kidneys, and is used specifically for the liver.  The leaves and seeds can also be used.  Don't bypass this wonderful medicinal plant that is so often overlooked - we all likely have burdock growing in our own yards, or in woods or parks nearby.  Often the most common of plants are the best healers.

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