Yellow Dock infusions and decoctions are traditionally used to help support constipation, liver problems and joint pain. It is regarded as a cleansing herb, that can be useful to support skin problems. Traditionally, the root is a supportive against internal bugs. The whole plant is also said to be widely employed in case of vascular disorders and internal bleeding. Externally, it can be applied to support ulcers and boils.
Description: Yellow dock is a robust, leafy herb of up to 1.5 m in height, bearing large leaves with distinctive sheathing leaf bases. Numerous small greenish flowers are produced on an extensive panicle, followed by small, reddish brown, winged fruit. The various Rumex species are difficult to tell apart. Rumex species are closely related to the well-known useful plants known as rhubarbs (Rheum species).
Origin: Europe and Asia. It has become a weed in many parts of the world.
Parts Used: Sliced and dried roots.
Therapeutic Category: Stimulant laxative.
Preparation and Dosage: Decoctions or infusions can be prepared from 1 - 2 g of the crushed root in 150 mL water. For topical use, a hot poultice is made from the pounded roots and leaves.
Active Ingredients: Members of the Polygonaceae are well known for the presence of anthraquinones. Rumex roots contain glycosides of emodin and chrysophanol (such as chrysophanein) and also tannnins. Oxalic acid is typical for Rumex.
Pharmacological effects: The laxative effect of Rumex root is due to chrysophanol and related anthracene glycosides, that are also found in Rheum and Aloe. Oxalic acid is toxic in high concentrations, but is used in health (5% solution, together with 5% malonic acid) as a haemostatic agent.
Notes:Rumex acetosa, R. acetosella and Oxalis acetosella (Oxalidaceae) contain high amounts of oxalic acid and its salts. They are used as vegetables and for health as diuretics and against skin disorders.
Status: Traditional health; Pharm.
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Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tea bag for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the pot, cover and let steep for 2-4 minutes. Pour into your cup; add milk and natural sweetener to taste.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea itself. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into the serving pitcher straining the tea bags. Add ice and top-up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.
Large doses should be avoided due to the oxalate content.
As with all stimulant laxatives, yellow dock should not be used continuously for more than a week or two. Do not use during pregnancy, while breastfeeding, in young children or in persons suffering from inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
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