“Anti-viral”Pastilles (BURDOCK)

pastille mandala

Do you know what an herbal pastille is? I did not and only discovered them recently. Like electuaries (herbal honeys) they are a great way to get herbs into older children. You can use many bases like dried fruit, nut butters . For a throat lozenge honey is used to make them. I have been been giving some serious consideration to pastilles as way to get my family to take something on a daily basis instead of using tinctures or teas. They disguise the bitter or strong taste of many plants. The key to a good pastille is the texture. They should be hard and not too gooey so that they slowly dissolve in the mouth. Herbs that are woody roots or bark may not grind to a fine powder. My first attempt was tasty, a bit like licorice candy, but the texture needed some refining. My kids were more willing to eat them than to consume the tinctures and cough syrups that I often offer them.

Anti-Viral” Pastilles

For my pastilles I chose the following herbs for their anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, or immune boosting qualities. They have become part of our family’s daily preventative care routine.

4 teaspoons each of finely powdered dried rose hips, dandelion root, burdock root, and lemon grass.

2 teaspoons each of finely powdered oregon grape root, licorice root, yellow dock root, echinacea angustifolia root

Measure out 8 TBSP of a finely powdered mucilaginous herb like marshmallow root, slippery elm bark, or dried malva leaves. This holds the pastille together and helps it dry for storage.

Place herbs in a bowl. Start adding in honey 1 tsp at a time. Eventually you want a thick paste/dough that you can roll into marble sized balls. If balls seem a bit gooey you can roll in powdered sugar or extra powder. I used granulated sugar.

Once you have a batch of pastilles place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Let them harden in a clean, dry , warm place for a few days.

Wrap individually in wax paper and store in a sealed tin. If placed in a cool dark place they will last a year.

Arctium lappa

Burdock can be a very invasive biennial plant in the Aster/thistle family. The seeds easily stick to things and travel far. It is difficult to remove once established, a challenge to dig up and harvest. The fresh root can be found in natural grocery stores as it is commonly eaten as a “vegetable”. The dried processed root is sold in many places, this may be the way to go if you would like to use this plant as medicine. Arctium is a biennial plant found along roads, in your lawn, in meadows, and in wastelands. The taproot is very long, fleshy, brown on the outside with a paler inner core. During the first year this plant produces a rosette at the base of very large, fuzzy, heart shaped leaves with a ruffled edge. Leaves are darker green on top and paler on the underside with prominent veins. For the second year the plant sends up a very tall, tough, ,grooved reddish stem with wooly branches. The leaves tend to be smaller and more spade shaped. The purple/red thistle like flowers are loose corymbose clusters that appear in later summer. The seed pods dry out, turn brown, forming a ball/burr with lots of “hooks” that easily stick to clothing.

Burdock is a powerful blood cleanser/purifier in many detox formulas to release waste products out of the cells. Historically it has been used to treat cancer, acne, eczema, abscesses, arthritis, inflamed prostate, gout, stomach ailments, ulcers, sluggish appetite, constipation, sore throat, flu, cough, fevers, diabetes, low blood sugar, water retention, childhood infections, uterine prolapse, cystitis, low energy, scabies, hair loss and yeast infections. This herb supports the liver as a bitter tonic and helps the release of bile.

The fresh leaves can be used as a compress/poultice/wash on poison ivy or oak, dandruff, bruises, swollen lymph nodes, dry skin, rheumatism, sprains, tumors, hair loss, and oily skin.

Parts used: fresh leaves in summer only. For the root harvest in the first fall or 2nd spring. The root can be used cooked in soup or raw in salads like a carrot. Some consider the seeds (tinctured) to be very powerful medicine that will act fast and go deep into the body

Taste: Bitter

Contraindications:use gently over the long term. Do not use in pregnancy. Avoid on open sores and during the late stage of viral/bacterial infections.


Element: Water

If you have ever made your own pastilles from herbs I would love to hear what plants you choose and what you thought of them. Be well-L

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

%d bloggers like this: