Botanical: Rumex crispus
Family: Polygonaceae (buckwheat)
Other common names: Curled Dock, Sour Dock, Narrow Dock, Curly Dock, Rumex, Garden Patience
Yellow Dock is a tonic that has been used to cleanse the system of toxic wastes and help to relieve virtually all disorders associated with impurities in the blood. It promotes clear, healthy skin and alleviates eczema, pimples, psoriasis and acne. While cleansing the liver, it has helped to treat jaundice, hepatitis and other liver disorders. Its laxative effects promote good colon health, easing constipation, clearing bodily wastes and improving skin eruptions caused by constipation. Moreover, its rich iron content helps to enrich blood quality and relieve anemia.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Yellow Dock is one species of a widespread tribe of wayside weeds that are native to Europe and now naturalized and growing wild throughout the United States and other temperate regions of the world, where it may be found growing in roadside ditches and waste places. As a matter of fact, it is often seen in disturbed soils at the edges of roads, railroad beds and parking lots. The plant has long roots that are difficult to eradicate once well established and are considered serious invasive weeds and subject to control as pests in several countries, particularly in Australia. It has even been designated an "injurious weed" under the United Kingdom Weeds Act of 1959. Its yellow, foot-long, forking taproots send up a smooth, slender, three-foot stem, bearing lance-shaped, smooth leaves with wavy or crisped margins, and the lower leaves are larger and longer than the upper, forming a large basal rosette. This herbaceous perennial also bears numerous, pale green, drooping flowers that bloom in June and July, and the plant thrives in rich, moist, heavy soil in sun or partial shade in temperate weather (it grows poorly in hot weather). Yellow Dock's botanical genus, Rumex, is derived from an old Latin word meaning "lance," referring to the shape of its leaves, but it is interesting to note that Docks were once ranked as members of the genus, Lapathum, which is derived from the Greek word, lapazein, which (more appropriately) means "to cleanse," an allusion to its medicinal virtues as a purifying plant. Yellow Dock has been used to treat skin complaints for centuries. The esteemed seventeenth-century herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, regarded Docks as "exceeding[ly] strengthening to the liver and as wholesome a pot herb as any" in The English Physitian Enlarged of 1653, but it should be noted that Yellow Dock leaves should not be consumed in soups or salads, as they are high in oxalates and may cause oxalic acid poisoning. However, as a wild leaf vegetable, the young leaves have been consumed, but only after being boiled in several changes of water to reduce the oxalate content. Once the plant matures it becomes too bitter to consume. Yellow Dock has a rich history in American herbal history. Native Americans used it frequently in external skin remedies. The Teton Dakota tribes specifically applied it to boils to bring about the discharge of pus, and the Ojibwas applied it to cuts. By the 1800s, Yellow Dock was considered a treatment for scrofula, enlarged lymph glands, leprosy, elephantiasis, scabby eruptions and hepatic tendencies, and it was listed in the United States Pharmacopœia from 1863 to 1905. The leaves are used in herbal medicine as a bitter, astringent, cooling herb that stimulates the liver and gallbladder and cleanses toxins from the system. Some of the constituents in Yellow Dock include beta-carotene, hyperoside, quercetin, quercitrin, rutin, tannin, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, B-vitamins and vitamin C.
Yellow Dock Root has been known for centuries as an outstanding blood purifier. Its herbal 'alterative' properties help the cleansing process by stimulating the efficient removal of waste products from the system and gradually converting an unhealthy condition to a healthy one.
The herb is also believed to cleanse the liver. Regarded as a cholagogue, Yellow Dock helps to stimulate bile flow in the liver, improving liver and gallbladder function, while cleansing impurities from the blood. This application has made it a valuable treatment for hepatitis, bilious complaints, jaundice and liver disease.
The blood cleansing properties of Yellow Dock make it an outstanding tonic for healthy skin and virtually all disorders associated with impurities in the blood, including rheumatic conditions, glandular tumors, swellings and lymph gland enlargement. The elimination of pollutants in the blood and ability to cleanse the system of toxic wastes acts to clear up chronic skin diseases, such as eczema, psoriasis and rashes. It also helps to clear pimples, boils, acne, hives and other skin disorders.
Further supporting Yellow Dock's reputation as an exceptional system purifier, research has shown that the roots contain a mixture of anthraquinones and anthraquinone glycosides, which account for the herb's laxative effect. It is said to improve colon function and reduce bowel inflammation. While its laxative effects facilitate the removal of wastes from the gastrointestinal system, the herb does not encourage griping (the pain and grumbling often associated with this function). It is also used to relieve constipation, as well as the skin eruptions frequently associated with constipation.
Yellow Dock Root is rich in organic iron and is actually one of the most iron-dense plants in nature. The roots have an unusual ability to absorb whatever iron is present in the soil; and, as such, it has been used to enrich the quality of the blood. This action has made it useful for treating anemia.
As an astringent, Yellow Dock has been used internally to treat bleeding of the lungs, dysentery and hemorrhoids. The tannin content is responsible for the astringent effect of Yellow Dock, making it effective in relieving various skin conditions when used externally. When applied topically in ointments and poultices, it relieves itchy skin, scabies, ringworm and eczema. The herb has been added to tooth preparations to improve spongy gums and to gargles to relieve laryngitis.
Yellow Dock Root Herbal Supplement contains oxalates and, therefore, should not be used in excess, especially for those with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity. Excess use (many times the recommended dosage) may cause dermatitis and nausea, and using too much Yellow Dock or using Yellow Dock for too long may cause difficulty in having a bowel movement without the use of some laxative or promote low potassium in the body. Speak with your doctor before using Yellow Dock if you have an intestinal or bowel blockage or have had kidney stones.