Herb: Mexican Dock

Latin name: Rumex mexicanus

Synonyms: Rumex salicifolius mexicanus

Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Medicinal use of Mexican Dock:

An infusion of the leaves has been taken by childless women to help them become pregnant. A strong infusion of the root has been used to help a woman become pregnant. The infusion was taken four times a day (upon rising, at midday, at sunset and upon going to bed) for a month. An infusion of the leaves has been used in the treatment of sore throats. A decoction of the white root has been used to regulate the menstrual cycle. There is a suggestion that it was used to facilitate an abortion. A decoction of the red root has been used to treat fevers. A poultice of the crushed root has been used to treat burns. A decoction of the plant has been used to treat intestinal disorders and liver complaints. A decoction of the plant has been used externally to treat swellings and painful joints.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Habitat of the herb:

Rich soils, occasionally brackish.

Edible parts of Mexican Dock:

Young leaves - cooked. Used as greens. Seed - cooked or ground into a powder and used for making gruel or added to cereal flours and used for making bread. The seed is rather small and fiddly to harvest.

Other uses of the herb:

The dried, crushed roots have been used as a tinder. Although no specific mention has been made for this species, 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.

Propagation of Mexican Dock:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rich soils, occasionally brackish.

Known hazards of Rumex mexicanus:

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.