Contributed by Dori Cranmore RN
The wild leafy plant, yellow dock (Rumex crispus), is found growing throughout the world and belongs to the buckwheat family. This flowering perennial is characterized by the narrow leaves that curl along the edges, which is why it is also called curled dock, narrow dock, narrow-leafed dock and garden patience.
The name of the plant is associated with the yellow color of the herb’s fleshy root, which shows when it is slightly scraped.
The root of yellow dock is the major source of its medicinal properties. However, its sour-sweet leaves are not only added to salads, but also found as an ingredient in herbal remedies. Seeds are rarely used for medicinal uses.
When used as a powder, the yellow dock root is useful in treating psoriasis and other chronic skin conditions, itching, boils, sores, swellings and scabby eruptions. Yellow dock is prepared for medicinal uses as a syrup, a tincture or an ointment.
Anemia symptoms respond well to yellow dock because of the high iron content. It’s been known to be used to relieve a congested liver. Over the years it has shown benefits for the digestive tract, skin and to nasal passage inflammation. One of the primary uses by herbalists is for skin conditions associated with poor digestion or poor liver function. There have been reports that it has been helpful for rheumatism and disorders like scurvy ad scrofula (glandular swellings).
Because of its mild laxative effect, it appears to stimulate the release of bile and digestive enzymes. The astringent action of the plant’s seeds is sometimes described as beneficial for the treatment of dysentery. Blood diseases, bleeding of lungs and anemia are reported to be successfully treated with yellow dock preparations. The homeopathic tincture made of the herb while it is in its pre-flowering stage is a good remedy for an irritable tickling cough of the upper air-tubes and the throat.
Due to a lack of research, little is known about the side effects of using yellow dock. Yellow dock contains oxalic acid, which irritates the bowels and may cause mild diarrhea in some people.
Yellow dock should not be used by people taking drugs that decrease blood calcium, such as diuretics, Dilantin®, Miacalcin®, or Mithracin®. Yellow dock should not be used by people with kidney disease, liver disease or an electrolyte abnormality.
Information here is intended for educational purposes and not to diagnose, cure or treat any diseases. Seek advice from your health care provider.
Dori Cranmore RN is the owner of All About Herbs, Inc in Wasilla, AK. Call for more information 907-376-8327