Burdock tincture and I have a special relationship. It’s one of the first tinctures I tried where I actually saw the difference within hours of taking it. The results were dramatic, and I’d never before seen herbal medicine have such a dramatic impact so quickly.
I was pretty sick, with a vicious sore throat. The lymph nodes in my neck were swollen so badly that it was becoming ever so slightly difficult to breathe. I wasn’t quite at the point of heading to the doctor, but I did need relief.
Burdock is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and I decided to give it a try before trying ibuprofen to bring down the inflammation. Within an hour of taking it, my lymph nodes were dramatically smaller, and my sore throat improved greatly.
The relief lasted about 2-3 hours before I needed to take another dose. Over the course of the next two days, this pattern stayed consistent.
I’d take burdock tincture, my lymph nodes would shrink, and then a few hours later I’d take it again as I began to feel them swelling. Burdock tincture got me through a tough spot, and I’m happy that I had it on hand.
Benefits of Burdock Tincture
Folk herbalists recommend burdock for strength and tenacity. There’s an old belief that you should look for a herbal remedy that has the qualities you want to cultivate in yourself.
Burdock roots are vigorous, determined and nearly unstoppable. As soon as you try to dig one yourself, you’ll understand.
More practically speaking, burdock root is a potent anti-inflammatory (source) and I’ve had the chance to experience its effects firsthand. Though it’s generally anti-inflammatory, burdock directly impacts the lymphatic system, helping to strengthen and cleanse it.
Historically, herbalists used burdock for skin issues, and the root is consumed to help treat skin issues, from rashes and psoriasis, to acne and boils. Modern science is actually starting to back this up, and studies are showing that burdock can help reduce the signs of aging. Part of this may be due to the nutritional profile of the root, as well as the overall health-promoting benefits of systemic anti-inflammatory action.
Medieval herbalists prescribed burdock as a cancer treatment, and again modern science is backing this up. There’s some evidence that burdock extracts can help prevent cancer from metastasizing (source, source).
Burdock is also a diuretic, and along with other spring tonic herbs like dandelion, it that helps cleanse the liver and kidneys.
How to Make Burdock Tincture
Burdock tincture is made using the roots, which store most of the medicinal constituents. The best time to harvest the roots is in the early spring or late fall.
When harvesting in the early spring, look for second-year roots. That is, roots that are in their second spring. Those roots will be large and will have all the benefits of the first year’s growing season.
When harvesting in the fall, you’ll want first-year roots. First-year roots will have grown all summer and stored their medicine and nutrition up to prepare for the winter. Second-year roots have just seeded in the fall, and they’ve used all their nutrition to form seeds.
Burdock tends to grow in weedy places, and it seems to almost always find its way around gigantic immovable rocks. There’s a local farm that grows it commercially for the Chinese market, and they have a special mechanical harvester to dig out the tough roots. For the home harvester, a sturdy shovel and a good bit of determination are essential.
If you can’t quite get burdock root out of the ground, you can buy it online here.
Once you’ve dug the root or as much of it as you have the patience to extract, take it inside for a good washing. Chop the root into chunks and fill a mason jar about 2/3 the way up. Cover the burdock root with vodka, filling the jar to within an inch of the top.
Allow the burdock tincture to infuse in a cool dark place, shaking the jar whenever you think of it. It should infuse for at least a month, but ideally 3-4 months. Once the tincture is ready, strain it through a fine-mesh strainer and store in amber dropper bottles.
Once I started making burdock tincture, my husband gave it a try and thought the flavor would make a lovely vinegar. Since he was enthusiastic, I went ahead and made a burdock root-infused vinegar.
To my palate, it’s horrible. I can’t stand it, but he loves it. Anytime his stomach isn’t quite right or he’s not feeling well, he takes a bit from that bottle and pours it into a shot glass.
He drinks it straight and thinks it’s the best medicine. I guess it all depends on what your body needs.
My body wants tincture, his body craves raw burdock vinegar.
This sounds amazing! Looking forward to trying it (along with so many of your foraging recipes I’ve saved — keeep ’em coming!)
How much of the tincture do you take at a time?
This was Ashley’s response to a previous question about dosage. “I’m not a clinical herbalist, but I did a bit of online research for you and it looks like most people recommend around 2-3 droppers full taken 3 times a day. Personally, I was taking about 2-3 droppers full every 2-3 hours to get me through an acute issue.”
I have inflammation in my muscles and joints. I am not taking NSAIDS and I hurt a lot right now. Thank you for this page. I am going out tomorrow and digging burdock. I may just start chewing on a bit as 3-4 months is a while to wait… I’ll let you know how it goes.
Wonderful, glad I could help! There are a number of traditional Asian preparations for burdock. Just search gobo recipes and you can cook it up and eat it without waiting for a tincture.
I am Arthritic and I can not take NSAIDS because I am ALLERGIC to that stuff I am asthmatic and I wheeze terribly. So my suggestion to you is TAKE MSM it is a sulfur compound of sorts and you can buy it over the counter at your Wal-Mart or super store in your area. I take 3000 per day and my Dr. SAID if it helps go for it. I did and I couldn’t be happier.
I love burdock tincture! I have used it in the past to cleanse my body, it makes you sweat within hours which flushes out toxins and promotes good health. I’m looking forward to trying it for inflammation in my hips and back, I had no idea it was edible like carrots, and so widely used in Japan. Thank you for the great post, I always live your articles!
You’re quite welcome, I’m glad I could help!
HI i begging to use herbs and essential oils for medicinal purposes. I have used them for lotions bath scrubs chap sticks and even an allergy cream. Which works really well when I have my monthly allergy shots
My question is,does the burdock grow in southern Oregon? I am not healthy and get sick alot in the winter and would love to try this
Yes! Burdock grows all over the US, and in many places, it’s almost as common as a dandelion. You should be able to find it in Oregon. Good luck!
I love reading all your post !! I have learned so much , you have so many good topic’s THANKS !!!!!!!!!!!
Any idea to make the tincture without alcohol?
Yup! It’s called a glycerite and the Herbal Academy Has a Tutorial on Making one here.
This sounds like a wonderful thing to have on hand. What is the recommended dosage?
I’m not a clinical herbalist, but I did a bit of online research for you and it looks like most people recommend around 2-3 droppers full taken 3 times a day. Personally, I was taking about 2-3 droppers full every 2-3 hours to get me through an acute issue.
Ashley, I love LOVE your website. Would you please tell me if I can take the roots of my Burdock now in the middle of the Summer? I missed the Spring to do it. Does it lose its potency?
Thank you for taking the time to answer me.
From a technical perspective, I’m not sure. From my experience though, I have done it mid-summer because it’s a shame to waste that root when you’re digging it out of the garden, and it tastes just as potent and has been just as effective for us medicinally. I think perhaps one reason it’s traditionally harvested at a particular time is because the root is used as a vegetable and it may be more fibrous in the summer when it’s putting up a stalk. As a tincture though, I think it works great anytime.
I’m not sure if clinical herbalists would disagree though, but it works for me!
I have fibromyalgia,osteoarthritis,and degenerative disk disease. Do u think it may help some
I’m sorry, but I don’t have any specific advice for you other than to consult your doctor or a herbalist. I don’t know much about those conditions, or potential issues/benefits of burdock tincture with those.
Hello, you mentioned making a vinegar infused one for your husband. Can I ask how long you let the burdock root steep in the vinegar before using it?
Good question. Honestly, I usually forget about it in the pantry with the burdock in it. When he eventually asks for a refill on his vinegar bottle, I strain it and then refill his container. He loves the stuff, takes it in a shot glass anytime he’s feeling a bit off. (I can’t even watch him do it, turns my stomach, but one man’s medicine is another’s poison). Anyhow, I’d guess it’s in there at least 4-6 weeks, but sometimes as much as 4-6 months. He never really seems to comment on it being a different strength between batches, so I’d guess that most of it infuses early on in the process.
Hi I’m a type 1 diabetic and I’ve heard great things about using Burdock to help with controlling blood sugars. Do you have a general idea for how much of the tincture should be taken?
Honestly, no idea. Try contacting a herbalist in your local area for specific recommendations.
Wondering if my burdock root temperature is supposed to be kind of a whitish color as it’s curing. Just wondering if that’s normal.
The white color that you are seeing is most likely inulin. Burdock root is very high in inulin which is a polysachharide or what is often called a PREbiotic and it feeds healthy bacteria in your gut.
Is there anyway I could make this tincture using burdock root powder?
I’d imagine that’d work just fine. You’d need a finer filter at the end, something like a coffee filter should do. Good luck!
Can I put the tincture in my coffee?
You sure can. This is actually how I take most of my tinctures.
I thought tinctures were ideally taken under the tongue because stomach acids would destroy many active compounds.
They can be taken under the tongue if you wish but it isn’t necessary. It’s possible that they might be more effective that way, but they won’t be effective at all if you aren’t willing to take them. I often take tinctures in juice and have personally still seen great results.
Great to know! My husband can’t stand them under his tongue.
Yes, it isn’t very pleasant. I really like grape juice the best because you really can’t taste the alcohol at all. My kids would never take it straight.
Do you use the entire root? or do you ‘shell it’ and use only the inside of it? I found it easier to clean? Does the outside have to be there in order to get the benefits?
I haven’t done research on the specifics of the nutrients found in the peel of the root. My guess would be that it might not be quite as beneficial peeled. In general, most vegetables and fruit have a lot of nutrition in the peel. I am sure you will probably still get great benefits without the peel but in the future I would just give it a good wash before chopping it up for your tincture.
Do you use apple cider vinegar for your husband’s infused with burdock vinegar? I’m trying to figure out how to sneak burdock root into my boyfriend without him knowing because he desperately needs its benefits in every way possible but isn’t convinced that I’ve discovered the best thing for him. He gets irritated when I cook with it and will pick it out of his food. I don’t have a place to dry it for making the powder so I’m desperate to get some tincture and possibly infused vinegar with which to cook so that he won’t know its there.
Yes, I would recommend apple cider vinegar for and infused vinegar.
I simply love your site and am so grateful for all the work you do to provide so much amazing information. Is it possible to use the dried root to make a tincture, or more beneficial to use fresh?
Also, would burdock root tea also benefit swollen lymph glands? Thank you for any information you can offer and God Bless your beautiful spirit.
Burdock root is anti-inflammatory and directly impacts the lymphatic system so it will very likely help with swollen lymph glands. If you don’t have access to the fresh root, you should still see great benefits from the dried root.
I filled the 2 thirds with dried burdock and then up to within 1 inch with vodka. After 4 days the root has absorbed the alcohol and has swollen to almost fill the jar and the alcohol level is a little over half. Should I add more alcohol?
Yes, definitely add more alcohol and keep everything submerged.