Young leaves are edible raw. Older leaves are best when boiled in 1-2 changes of water with pinch of baking soda.
roots of first year plants can be cooked in a soup or stir-fry.
roots can be mashed and fried as patties. Rroots can be dried for storage. Roots can be roasted/ground as coffee substitute. Roots are best when shredded/sliced and soaked in water for 5-10 minutes to reduce harshness. White pith of young flower stalks is edible raw. Varieties in the Pacific Northwest are Common burdock (Arctium minus) and Woolly burdock (Arctium tomentosum). Look for burdock on disturbed soil sites. Menominee and the Micmac Indians, for example, used burdock as a poultice or compress to treat skin infections and sores. A poultice is a soft, moist mass that is usually heated, spread on a cloth, and applied to warm, moisten, or stimulate an aching of inflamed part of the body. Burdock is also a diuretic, blood cleanser, and bitter stimulates digestive juices and bile secretion to aid in digestion and appetite. It has been used to treat arthritis, skin disorders and infections, fluid retention, gout, hemorrhoids, herpes, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, kidney problems, liver problems, lymphatic congestion, measles, poison ivy/oak, obesity, poisons, sore throats, swelling, venereal diseases, tonsillitis, tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, various other disease states historically, and some still today. Burdock is used to treat arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory and astringic properties. Burdock was taken medicinally by creating a tea from it, consuming it as you would a vegetable, and applying it (or an extract) topically. Burdock seeds have been researched to see if they possess a mechanism to protect the stomach and treat ulcers, possibly preventing the formation of ulcers. This study found that the preparations created from these seeds had a definite effective on the activity of gastric secretions in rats and also the action of the smooth muscles in the stomach and small intestine. Do not confuse with Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium), who's leaves are poisonous if not thoroughly cooked. Cocklbur has rough rather than velvety leaves and has more solid burs.