Bitter Plant Profiles: Dandelion + Burdock



If Urban Moonshine had to pick a mascot, it would probably be the dandelion. An iconic weed, dandelions are brilliant despite their sometimes unfair wrap. Their bright yellow flowers gush of spring’s arrival; their wide-ranging habitat—from lush meadow to sidewalk cracks—signals resilience and ingenuity. In bloom, dandelion is a pollen source for bees and throughout its life cycle, dandelion’s resourceful taproot brings vital nutrients to the soil’s surface. From leaf-to-flower-to-root, every part of this powerhouse plant is edible.

Dandelion root is an iconic bitter traditionally used to support liver health and clear skin.  

It can be simmered as a tea, tinctured, added to soups or broths, or eaten raw.  The leaf is known for being rich in vitamins and minerals and supporting urinary health, though it is also bitter in and of itself.  Harvest it young to add to soups and salads. The greens make for a wonderful spring tonic. The yellow “petals” can be pluck from the head of the dandelion and sprinkled over salads, battered and turned into fritters, or brewed into an old-time recipe of dandelion wine. When harvesting dandelion, be sure it’s in an unsprayed area, is located at least 20 feet away from the road, and isn’t trail-side in a dog park (ie hasn’t likely been peed on by a dog!). Dandelion root and leaf are in all of our digestive bitters and are available as a single extract as well.



If you’ve ever tried pulling burdock from your backyard, you know that nothing rivals the vigor of this deep and tenacious tap root. Burdock germinates in disturbed soils that over time become compacted. Its robust roots are incredibly resourceful, digging deep into hardpan soil—loosening it up, and bringing minerals to itself and the soil surface. Some herbalists observe a relationship between the qualities of a plant as it grows and the qualities it supports in the person taking it. Burdock root has a rich nutritional profile and is very nourishing and food-like.  Being well-nourished encourages good health and supports access to your own personal vigor. It’s a perfect ally for helping you dig deep to pull up your inner resources. Here, we see burdock’s strength mirrored.

Burdock root is highly regarded as an unrivaled digestive tonic and supporter of healthy liver function. As a bitter it is mild, yet effective.

Herbalists have long used it to support healthy skin.

The root has a slightly sweet, cool taste to it. The sweetness can be attributed to the starches it stores for itself. These starches are particularly concentrated in the fall, storing up food for itself in preparation of a long winter. Burdock’s prebiotic starches, also known as inulin, feed us as well and support our bodies in maintaining healthy gut flora. It’s wonderful tinctured, as a tea (best simmered for 20 minutes, like all roots) and is an excellent food as well. Known as “gobo” in Japan, the shredded root is a favorite in soups, salads and more. Burdock root is featured in all of our digestive bitters and is also available as a single extract.

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