Yellow Dock Benefits

Yellow Dock
Latin Name

Rumex crispus

Also Known As

Curly Dock, Garden Patience, Narrow Dock, Parell, Patience Herb, Sour Dock

Origin

Europe, Africa

Parts Used

Roots

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Yellow Dock, in particular the taproot, has a long history of traditional use. Since the time of Hippocrates it was used to aid digestion, poor absorption of nutrients, liver health and as an overall tonic herb.

In the days before antibiotics, Yellow Dock Root was included in many herbal preparations that were used as a remedy for many ailments. This was because of the perceived blood cleansing properties of the herb and its ability to "invigorate the body".

Yellow Dock Benefits

Liver Health

Yellow Dock Root is particularly rich in glycosides, plant compounds that are known for their hepatoprotective effects (protecting the liver). These phytochemicals can help to stimulate the liver, which in turn helps heal poor absorption of nutrients and increases bile production.

Also high in antioxidants, Yellow Dock works to scavenge oxidative damage and stress caused by free radicals, including within liver tissue. Regular consumption of this herb will stimulate the detoxification process in liver and boost the production of bile. This assists the liver in eliminating toxins, excess hormones and other waste products.

Digestive Health

Yellow Dock is classed as a bitter herb – bitters stimulate the production of saliva, digestive enzymes and bile in readiness to digest and absorb the food we consume. They improve the quality of stomach acid, making them useful in cases of indigestion or heartburn. A necessary part of a healthy digestive process, bile acids are particularly useful in helping to break down fats in the liver.

With a gentle, natural laxative action, it also improves digestion by encouraging regular bowel emptying. The anthraquinone glycosides contained in Yellow Dock promote the release of water in the intestines, which encourages the release of waste from the bowels.

Finally, Yellow Dock soothes and cleanses the digestive tract without upsetting the delicate balance of gut bacteria.

Anaemia

Yellow Dock is one of the best sources of plant based (non-heme) iron - it concentrates iron from the earth and combines it with the vitamins and minerals needed to absorb this valuable mineral. This makes Yellow Dock an excellent herb for treating mild cases of anaemia caused by iron deficiency.

It also has natural chemicals known as bio-flavonoids that strengthen capillaries which in turn will boost blood circulation.

Immune Support

Yellow Dock leaves are extremely high in vitamin C – an essential vitamin for a healthy immune system. So high is the vitamin C content that it was used to treat scurvy – the disease that plagued the early European sailors.

The root is effective at boosting an ailing and stressed immune system when lymphatic inflammation and liver deficiency are present.

Skin Health

With naturally astringent properties, Yellow Dock can be applied topically to alleviate swelling, bruising, rashes, sores, fungal infections, insect bites, acne and eczema.

Its astringent properties also make this herb an excellent skin toner, helping to remove dirt, traces of perspiration, and make up from the surface of the skin. It also closes pores to prevent dirt and bacteria from entering. Its soothing and cooling action can provide relief from inflammation and reduce facial redness.

Typical Use

Yellow Dock Root Tincture

Can be added to water or fruit juice and taken when required.

Traditionally Taken: 2-3ml taken 2-3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.

Folklore and History

With a history that stretches back into ancient times, Yellow Dock was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his "Herba Britannica" (AD 23). The Greek physician and pharmacologist who authored the famous "De Materia Medica", Dioscorides, recommended the various Docks as pot herbs that would help clear afflicted skin and allay itching. 

The Anglo Saxon text "The Lacnunga" recommended mixing Yellow Dock seeds with Irish wax. After a short ritual it was placed on the wounds of a horse that had been "elf shot". This term was used to explain many different illnesses that set on suddenly in both Anglo Saxon and Norse times. In this particular case, the term likely refers to a horse suddenly going lame for some unknown reason.

Yellow Dock
Constituents

Yellow Dock contains: anthraquinones including emodin, aloe emodin, chrysophanol, rhein, and physcion; rutin, flavone glycosides; vitamin C; many different carotenoids including beta-carotene, chlorophyll, organic acids (i.e., malic, oxalic, tannic, tartaric and citric) and phytoestrogens. Minerals include calcium; phosphorus; magnesium; potassium, and silicon, along with iron, sulphur, copper, iodine, manganese, and zinc. Yellow dock root contains: 2-4% anthraquinones including chrysophanol, emodin, nepodin and physcion (aglycones). Tannins such as Catechol (5%) (condensed-type). Other plant constituents documented include oxalic acid, oxalates, chrysophanic acid and a complex volatile oil.

Precautions

Do not exceed recommended dose - overconsumption of Yellow Dock can cause nausea, diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

Not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Please consult your healthcare practitioner if you are taking any prescription medications.