In traditional Chinese medicine, burdock fruit has been used continually for thousands of years. It is known to balance internal heat, is specifically helpful for supporting skin health, and is associated with lung and stomach meridians. It is considered energetically cold and having a slippery consistency that soothes mucus membranes. The root is also commonly cooked in order to change its energetic properties and specifically to make it easier to digest. In European folk medicine, an infusion or decoction of the seeds was employed as a diuretic. It was helpful in enhancing health through supporting digestion, and as topical poultice.
It is a mild bitter; taken internally, it gently stimulates the appetite and increases digestive secretions and motility, while supporting healthy populations of intestinal flora. Burdock is used tonically to treat arthritic conditions such as gout, osteoarthritis, and rheu- matoid arthritis. Its antirheumatic qualities likely stem from its ability to support the kidneys, as well as its diuretic and alterative qualities.