‘Velcro’ Plant Heals Bruising and Detoxifies Body

Burdock root was made famous in the 1940s by George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, after he noticed on a walk how the seeds of the plant attached themselves to his clothes and to the dog's fur – thus inspiring the creation of Velcro.

However, burdock root serves other purposes as well – including health and medicinal ones. Chris Kilham, The Medicine Hunter, met up with “Wildman” Steve Brill in Central Park to learn more about the Asian root.

Burdock root is a major medicinal plant in Eastern medicine, according to Brill. The leaves of the root are good for bruises when chopped up with water and clay and applied directly on the skin as a poultice.

When cooked, the root is considered to be a detoxifier for the liver, blood, kidneys and gallbladder. The Japanese use the root in a traditional dish called Kinpira Gobō.

“It's related to artichoke,” Brill said. “So you can cook it with slices of ginger and carrots and then add some soy sauce and lime.”

To make Gobo, slice the burdock root as thinly as possible, Brill directed. Then, sauté the root in peanut oil with ginger and carrots, add some soy sauce and wine. Cover it, and simmer it then sprinkle on sesame seed.

“You can get this dish in any Japanese restaurant,” Brill said. The root also goes well in soups and rice.