Yellow Dock

Rumex crispus

Polygonaceae

Names: Curled or Curly Dock.

Habitat: A common European weed.

Collection: The roots should be unearthed in late summer
and autumn, between August and October. Clean well and split length
ways before drying.

Part Used: Root.

Constituents:

  • Anthraquinone glycosides, about 3-4%, includingnepodin, and
    others based on chrysophanol, physcion and emodin
  • Miscellaneous; tannins, rumicin and oxalates.

Actions: Alterative, laxative, hepatic, cholagogue, tonic.

Indications: Yellow Dock is used extensively in the treatment
of chronic skin complaints such as psoriasis. The anthraquinones
present have a markedly cathartic action on the bowel, but in
this herb they act in a mild way, possible tempered by the tannin
content. Thus it makes a valuable remedy for constipation, working
as it does in a much wider way than simply stimulating the gut
muscles. It promotes the flow of bile and has that somewhat obscure
action of being a ” blood cleanser’ The action on the gall-bladder
gives it a role in the treatment of jaundice when this
is due to congestion.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a ” general
tonic alterative with special influence upon skin eruptions.”
They give the following specific indications: simple deficiency
anaemias
. Eczema, psoriasis, urticaria,
prurigo, itching æmorrhoids.

Ellingwood considered that its “alterative properties
are underestimated. It is a renal depurant and general alterative
of much value when ulceration of mucous surfaces or disease of
the skin resulting from impure blood. It acts directly in its
restorative influence, purifying the blood, removing morbific
material and quickly cures the disease conditions.” In addition
he recommends it for the following pathologies: ulcerativestomatitis,
nursing sore mouth, syphilis, scrofula, cancer,
tuberculosis.

King’s Dispensatory describe its specific indications as
being “bad blood with chronic skin disease; bubonic swellings;
low deposits in glands and cellular tissues, and tendency to indolent
ulcers; feeble recuperative power; irritative, dry laryngo- tracheal
cough; stubborn, dry, summer cough; chronic sore throat, with
glandular enlargements and hypersecretion; nervous dyspepsia,
with epigastric fullness and pain extending through left half
of chest; cough, with dyspnoea and sense of praecordial fullness.”

Combinations: It will combine well with Dandelion, Burdock
and Cleavers.

Preparations & Dosage: Decoction: put l-2 teaspoonfuls
of the root in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer gently
for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture:
take l-4ml of the tincture three times a day.

David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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