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Yellowdock Root, (Rumex crispus) Cut and Sifted Bulk
Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)
Rumex is an ancient Latin word for "lance," referring to the shape of the leaves. Crispus is Latin for "curly," in reference to the edges of the leaf. The common name dock derives from the Old English name for this plant, docce.
Range of Appearance
Native to northern Africa, Asia, and Europe, yellow dock is a perennial that can reach a height of 1 to 5 feet. It has large, curly basal leaves. The hermaphroditic flowers are greenish. The seeds are three-sided winged capsules that turn rusty red when mature. The roots are russet on the outside and a deep yellow or orange within.
Alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiscorbutic, aperient, antiseptic, astringent, blood tonic, cholagogue, depurative, diuretic, laxative, tonic
Though introduced from Europe, yellow dock root was widely used by the Native Americans. This herb was included in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1863 to 1905. It clears toxins, moves stagnation, promotes bowel cleansing and bile flow, reduces inflammation, and inhibits the growth of E. coli and staph. Yellow dock helps to free up iron stored in the liver, thus making it more available to the rest of the body. As a tea, it aids in the digestion of fatty foods. Yellow dock is used in the treatment of acne, anemia, appetite loss, arsenic poisoning, arthritis, boils, cancer, catarrh, constipation, dermatitis, eczema, glandular tumors, indigestion, jaundice, leprosy, liver congestion, lumbago, lymph node enlargement, malabsorbtion, psoriasis, rheumatism, scrofula, sore throat, and syphilis. It also is used to encourage convalescence. Topically, yellow dock can be used as a poultice to soothe stings from nettle plants and as a poultice or salve to treat athlete's foot, boils, eczema, hives, itchy skin, ringworm, scabies, skin infection, swellings, ulcers, and wounds. It can be prepared as a tooth powder to treat gingivitis or a gargle to treat laryngitis. It also can be made into a douche or bolus to treat vaginitis.
The leaves and peeled stems are nutritive. Eat them in spring and late fall (after the first hard frost). The young greens can be eaten raw or cooked as a potherb. Older leaves need to be soaked or cooked in two changes of water to remove bitterness. The leaves have a flavor similar to that of rhubarb and can be used in pie. The seeds are used as a grain; they are usually dried, threshed, and ground into flour. They can also be roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
Yellow dock is useful for animals as well as humans; it can be prepared as a poultice to treat saddle sores on horses, mules, and donkeys and mange on dogs. The roots yield a brown to dark gray dye. In folkloric tradition, a woman will wear yellow dock seeds on her left arm to increase her chances of conceiving a child. The seeds are also used in prosperity rituals and are sprinkled about a place of business to attract customers.
Calcium, iron, magnesium, sulfur, anthraquinones, glycosides (nepodin, emodin, chryysophanol), quercitrin, mucilage, tannins, resins, oxalates
Yellow dock leaves are high in oxalate, which can impair calcium absorption and potentially aggravate kidney stones, arthritis, gout, and hyperacidity. Large amounts of the root or leaves may cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. In rare cases handling the plant may result in contact dermatitis.
Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.
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