Once Gordon, Joe and Graham announce the challenge, we have five minutes to gather all of our ingredients to prepare our dish. The pantry was amazing. It was fully stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables and the burdock root was calling to me and I knew I had to incorporate this into my dish.

I decide to wrap my scallops in burdock root such as most of us know bacon wrapped scallops; I wanted to re-create this with burdock root. “Baskets” as the judges called them were not my intention but a healthier version of bacon wrapped scallops was!

Burdock root contains a number of medicinal properties that have been used for hundreds of years.  Traditionally herbalists all over the world use Burdock Root as a blood purifier.

Herbalists have used burdock worldwide to treat a variety skin diseases such as abscesses, acne, carbuncles, psoriasis and eczema. The beneficial effects of this herb includes increasing circulation to the skin, helping to detoxify the epidermal tissues.   burdock root has been reported to destroy bacteria and fungus cultures.

It is a popular detoxifying agent that produces a diuretic effect on the body, which aids the filtering of impurities from the bloodstream.   By promoting perspiration, burdock root eliminates toxins through the skin.   By producing a detoxifying effect, burdock root aids blood circulation and produces a variety of positive side effects.

Burdock’s contains inulin which is a carbohydrate that strengthens the liver. The high concentration of inulin and mucilage aids in the soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. The high concentration of inulin is helpful for individuals that are afflicted with diabetes and hypoglycemia as it provides helpful sugar that does not provoke rapid insulin production. Inulin, which is very high in Burdock, is a resinoid or camphor-like hydrocarbon that is aromatic, stimulant, expectorant, tonic, stomachic, and antiseptic.

Burdock Root contains polyacetylenes that gives the herb its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is used as a mild laxative that aids in the elimination of uric acid or gout.  It is classified as an alterative, diuretic and diaphoretic. It helps the kidneys to filter out impurities from the blood very quickly. It clears congestion in respiratory, lymphatic, urinary and circulatory systems.    Burdock releases water retention, stimulates digestion, aids kidney, liver and gallbladder function.  It also functions as an aperient, depurative, and antiscorbutic.

Decoctions of Burdock have also been historically used for soothing the kidneys, relieving the lymphatic system, rheumatism, gout, GI tract disorders, stomach ailments, constipation, catarrh, fever, infection, fluid retention and skin problems. An article in Chemotherapy identified the chemical arctigenin contained in Burdock as an “inhibitor of experimental tumor growth.”

Burdock is an aid to circulation because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

A recent study showed that Burdock blocked dangerous chemicals from causing damage to cells, suggesting to the possibility that burdock may help decrease the risk of developing cancer from toxic chemicals.

Some other miscellaneous disorders burdock root is good for are:

Helpful in cellular regeneration

Useful in cleansing and treatment of Crohn’s disease and diverticulitis

Aids in alleviating distress related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Useful in the treatment of recovery from Hepatitis

Burdock stimulates the appetite, so modern experts recommend it for anorexia nervosa

In markets, burdock is sold with the dirt still lingering on the roots because it wilts quickly once you have washed.  The white flesh immediately discolors once peeled; therefore you will want to soak it in lemon juice and water until you’re ready to use to maintain the color.

Scrub the root, but you do not need to peel it if it is organic. Slice it razor-thin on a diagonal, oriental-style, or use the finest slicing disk of a food processor.  Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. You can also sauté burdock root, but add liquid and cook it in moist heat another 10 minutes afterwards, or it may not get tender.    You may also harvest the immature flower stalk in late Spring, before the flowers appear, while it’s still tender and very flexible.  When you peel it and steam or braise for 1 minute the bitterness dimishes, it tastes like artichoke hearts, and it will enhance any traditional recipe that calls for the heart of artichokes. Juicing burdock root really makes your skin glow

Its hearty flavor is a little like that of potatoes, although it’s related to artichokes. Mashed roots can also be formed into patties and pan seared.  The white pith can be added to salads or simmered in coconut sugar to make a syrup for candy or fermented in culture to have a probiotic addition to any meal increasing protein absorption and digestion overall.