Herb: Red Dock


Latin name: Rumex aquaticus


Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)



Medicinal use of Red Dock:

The root is alterative, astringent, cholagogue, deobstruent, depurative, detergent, laxative and mildly tonic. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present. It is used internally in the treatment of piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases. Externally, it is applied to various skin diseases, ulcers etc. The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
180 cm
(6 feet)

Flovering:
July to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Shallow water at the margins of swamps. Fields, meadows and ditches.

Edible parts of Red Dock:

Leaves - cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots of many species in this genus, They do not need a mordant. The dried and powdered root has a cleansing and detergent affect on the teeth.

Propagation of Red Dock:

Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Shallow water at the margins of swamps. Fields, meadows and ditches.

Known hazards of Rumex aquaticus:

Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is 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.