As the days grow longer and spring equinox approaches, we can keep ourselves healthy with the help of a root that’s sometimes considered invasive. Arctium Lappa, or burdock, is a milky root that’s cooling and tonic. This short season biennial, known as gobo in Japansese, is native to Northern Europe and Siberia.
Burdock is a member of the Asteraceae family along with plants like Feverfew and Dandelion. Its root contains calcium, arcigen, flavonoids, chromium, magnesium and potassium. It relieves dry skin, strengthens hair follicles, stimulates appetite, and cleanses the liver. Its diuretic quality promotes blood cleansing, which can be helpful after a winter of slower-paced activities. Active polyacetylenes present in burdock have potent antifungal and antimicrobial properties.
Peel it, rinse it, chop it and sauté it as you would a carrot. It is also delicious simmered in soup.
Visit Harmonized Cookery to learn more about healing foods for spring, and try making the sauce below to renew your system and welcome spring.
Burdock Mushroom Sauce
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cups cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 inches burdock root, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons dry thyme
½ teaspoon each: salt and black pepper
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Heat oil in a deep skillet. Add onions and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add all the other ingredients, mix well, reduce heat to medium low, and cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
Add water and stir every 5 minutes or so. Enjoy on whole grains sourdough toast, mix into grains, or use as a garnish for tempeh or white fish.
Lisa Mase is a whole foods cooking educator, translator, and herbalist with a passion for words and nourishment. Lisa writes about healing foods, mindful eating, and cooking traditions on her blog Harmonized Cookery.