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 Yellow Dock :
Herbal Medicine Materia Medica
Rumex crispus


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.


  • 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.

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 About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......moreDavid Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH
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