Sep 202011

[photo-burdock roots gobo Ueong]

Ingredient Name: Burdock Root.  (also called Gobo in Japanese and Ueong in Korean)

Ingredient Name in Chinese: 牛蒡 (Niú Bàng)


  • Burdock root is the root of a common weed that belongs to the same family as artichokes and daisies.  The plant typically grows to a height of 3 – 4 feet tall with purple prickly flowers that bloom from June to October.
  • The deep long roots of the plant are slender and can grow as long as it is tall above ground, to about 3 feet.
  • Burdock root has a sweet, mild and pungent flavor, with a crispy texture like that of the lotus root.
    [photo-burdock weed flower]

    burdock plant flower

  • The root of young burdock plants is harvested and eaten as food.  It is a popular root vegetable in Asian cuisines, especially with the Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans.
  • Burdock root contains a type of enzyme that oxidizes and browns its flesh when the outer skin is peeled and the flesh exposed to air.
  • In the late 20th century, culinary use of this root vegetable achieved international recognition as the popularity of the macrobiotic diet increased.  The diet advocated the consumption of burdock roots among other vegetables and food stables.

Burdock Root Benefits and Uses:

  • Burdock root has many health benefits.  It has a good amount of dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, and amino acids while having little calories, fat, or oil.
  • Seeds of burdock root (牛蒡子) is also used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve qi circulation in the liver and help expel heat.  The roots themselves are said to have cancer fighting properties and help remove phlegm.
  • Burdock root is commonly used in Asian stir frys, soups, and Chinese herbal medicine.   See a list of soup recipes using burdock root.
  • The root is also used in a traditional British drink called Dandelion and Burdock which is made of fermented burdock root and dandelion.  This drink is naturally frizzy without carbonation and has been drunk in the British Isles since the mid 13th century.
  • Burdock root oil can be used on the scalp as it is believed in Europe to improve hair strength, shine and body.


  • Rinse the outside of the root under cool water.
  • Peel the skin and cut the root to bit sized pieces before cooking.
  • The burdock root can also be put in a bowl of water to prevent it from turning brown.
  • Burdock root is best paired with pork.
  • The roots can be stored up to 4 days in a refrigerator.


  • Although burdock roots are generally very safe to purchase and use in most countries, do note that its appearance bears resemblance to a highly poisonous plant called Deadly Nightshade.
  • Some recommend that women during pregnancy should avoid the use of burdock root.

Where to Buy:

  • Burdock root can be purchased in Chinese grocery stores, while the burdock root seeds are usually sold in Chinese herb stores.

How do you use your Burdock Root? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.

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Resources and further reading: Wikipedia, University of Maryland

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