Herb: Herb Patience

Latin name: Rumex patienta

Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)

Medicinal use of Herb Patience:

The juice, and an infusion of the root, has been used as a poultice and salve in the treatment of various skin problems. An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of constipation. The leaves have been rubbed in the mouth to treat sore throats.

Description of the plant:


150 cm
(5 feet)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Waste land.

Edible parts of Herb Patience:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Eaten like spinach or made into a delicious puree, they are often mixed with a quarter part of sorrel in order to add flavour to them. A fairly mild flavour, they make an excellent vegetable. The leaves are produced very early in the year.

Other uses of the herb:

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 Herb Patience:

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:

Waste land.

Known hazards of Rumex patienta:

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.