The genus name Arctium was derived from the Greek word for 'bear' and likely refers to the scruffy, brown look of the burs.
Common burdock fruit and roots were used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from coughs asthma, venereal diseases, rheumatism, lung and skin diseases, and scurvy.
Velcro was inspired by the tiny hooks on the burs of this plant that stick to fur and clothing, similar to the sticky side of Velcro.
Burs often stick to sheep reducing the value of the wool.
The foliage can give milk a bitter taste if eaten in large enough quantities by cattle.
Common burdock is reported to have a high mineral and vitamin content and is commonly found in health food stores in pill form.
Native Americans used burdock roots as food in winter. The root of a related burdock species is widely cultivated in Japan as a vegetable and is known as 'gobo'.