Yellow Dock

Rumex Crispus

Also known as Curly Dock, this perennial has a sturdy taproot which is yellowish inside. Stems are unbranched below the flower clusters and grow from 50-100cm in height. The leaves are oblong to lance-shaped, with crisp curled edges, the basal leaves being larger (to 40cm wide) and long-stalked, while those of the stem are smaller, sparse, and are short stalked or stalkless. The flowers are green to rusty-brown, numerous, small, and densely whorled in leafy-bracted clusters covering the upper stems. The fruits are reddish-brown, 3-angled achenes, net-veined and with a grain-like swelling towards the base. There is little smell and a bitter taste.

Another European native introduced to North America, it has naturalized and can be readily found growing in waste places, roadsides, meadows, cultivated fields and pastures. It requires moist soil, grows in light, medium, or heavy soils, acid, neutral, or basic medium, and can grow in semi-shade or full sun.

The roots are dug in late summer and mid-fall, and split length ways before drying. Inorganic iron added to the planting medium is purported to enrich the organic iron content of the root.


* Anthraquinone glycosides (3-4%), including nepodin and others based on

chrysophanol, physcion and emodin

* Miscellaneous- tannins, rumicin, oxalates, mineral rich (iron, sulfur)


Although anthraquinones have a definite laxative action on bowel function, this plant works gently and does not cause the cramping usually associated with these glycosides. It relieves constipation also by virtue of its ability to stimulate bile secretion, rather than simple muscular stimulation alone. It is used also to clear many skin conditions often associated with internal congestion of liver, lymph, and bowel. The sulfur content contributes to the health of skin, and is needed for the creation of glutathione, the livers main detoxifier. It can treat psoriasis, eruptions, boils, and eczema, disorders of the spleen and lymphatic system, jaundice, indigestion, pruritis, shingles, and arthritis (rheumatic).

Cautions and Considerations

* Use with caution in pregnancy due to anthraquinone glycoside content.

* Any long term use of laxatives is not recommended. Address the underlying problem, rather

than rely on such agents.

How to use Yellow Dock Root

* 1 rounded tsp is simmered in 1 cup of water for 15 min. and taken in doses of ½ cup,

three times per day.

* Powder may be taken in 2-4 gram doses, three times per day.

* Tincture is prepared in a 1:5 ratio using 45% alcohol and taken at a rate of 5ml, three

times per day, to a weekly maximum of 100ml.

* An ointment or foementation (warm poultice or cloth soaked in infusion) may be applied externally to sores and haemorrhoids.


Combine Yellow Dock with Blue Flag, and Dandelion for enlarged glands. It combines well with other depuratives (plants that promote system cleansing) like Burdock, and Cleavers.

Interesting Tidbits

* North American aboriginals used the root as an antidote for poisoning.

* Used homeopathically for irritable tickling cough and throat.

  • The seeds were once in use as an astringent remedy for diarrhea.

  • The young leaves are good in salad or as a steamed green but are high in oxalic acid so avoid in kidney stones.

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