Herb: Yellow Sorrel


Latin name: Oxalis corniculata


Synonyms: Oxalis repens


Family: Oxalidaceae (Wood Sorrel Family)



Medicinal use of Yellow Sorrel:

The whole plant is anthelmintic, antiphlogistic, astringent, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, lithontripic, stomachic and styptic. It is used in the treatment of influenza, fever, urinary tract infections, enteritis, diarrhoea, traumatic injuries, sprains and poisonous snake bites. The juice of the plant, mixed with butter, is applied to muscular swellings, boils and pimples. An infusion can be used as a wash to rid children of hookworms. The plant is a good source of vitamin C and is used as an antiscorbutic in the treatment of scurvy. The leaves are used as an antidote to poisoning by the seeds of Datura spp, arsenic and mercury. The leaf juice is applied to insect bites, burns and skin eruptions. It has an antibacterial activity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Annual/Perennial


Height:
5 cm
(2 inches)

Flovering:
June to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Arable land and waste places, it is a common garden weed where it tends to become especially troublesome in pots of plants growing in greenhouses etc.

Edible parts of Yellow Sorrel:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Added to salads, cooked as a potherb with other milder flavoured greens or used to give a sour flavour to other foods. The leaves are available all year round unless the winter is very cold, they have a pleasantly sour taste, but are very small and fiddly to harvest. The leaves contain about 86% water, 2.3% protein, 0.8% fat, 8.2% carbohydrate, 150mg calcium, 78mg phosphorus, 8mg iron, 0.6mg niacin, 78mg vitamin C, 6050ug beta carotene. The leaves contain between 7 - 12% oxalate. Use in moderation, see notes at top of sheet, Flowers - raw. A nice acid flavour and a pleasant addition to the salad bowl.

Other uses of the herb:

A slimy substance collects in the mouth when the leaves are chewed, this is used by magicians to protect the mouth when they eat glass. Yellow, orange and red to brown dyes are obtained from the flowers. The boiled whole plant yields a yellow dye.

Propagation of Yellow Sorrel:

Seed - best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. This plant does not need any encouragement.

Cultivation of the herb:

Arable land and waste places, it is a common garden weed where it tends to become especially troublesome in pots of plants growing in greenhouses etc.

Known hazards of Oxalis corniculata:

The leaves contain oxalic acid, which gives them their sharp flavour. Perfectly all right in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since oxalic acid can bind up the body's supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency. The quantity of oxalic acid will be reduced if the leaves are cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.