Yellow Dock: Bitters & Blood Purifier
*Disclaimer: None of the following is meant to be medical advice! Please seek the advice of a naturopath or trained herbalist for specific advice on using medicinal plants. Yellow Dock, aka "Curly Dock", or Rumex Crispus is a common "weed" that grows by roadside ditches and wasteland. The pictures here were taken along the B&A trail in Pasadena, MD where there is lots of beautiful Dock growing. Yellow dock flowers are yellowish-green and have no petals. This unusual flower is located on a long slender, branching cluster at the top of a stem; flowers turn reddish-brown in the Fall, when they mature. The photo on the right shows the dead stalk (if you look closely). The leaves, stems and seeds can be eaten in small quantities, but they are high in oxalic acid which can interfere with other nutrient absorption. Leaves are generally harvested BEFORE the stem appears. Typically the root is harvested, cleaned, dried and powdered, or it can be boiled and made into a tincture or syrup. The root is bitter, alterative, tonic, laxative and astringent. "Rumicin is the active principle of the Yellow Dock, and from the root, containing Chrysarobin, a dried extract is prepared officially, of which from 1 to 4 grains may be given for a dose in a pill. This is useful for relieving a congested liver, as well as for scrofulous skin diseases. (from Botanical.com, A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve). According to herbalist, David Hoffman, "Yellow Dock is used extensively in the treatment of chronic skin complaints such as psoriasis. The anthraquinones present have a markedly cathartic action on the bowel, but in this herb they act in a mild way, possible tempered by the tannin content. Thus it makes a valuable remedy for constipation, working as it does in a much wider way than simply stimulating the gut muscles. It promotes the flow of bile and has that somewhat obscure action of being a 'blood cleanser' The action on the gall-bladder gives it a role in the treatment of jaundice when this is due to congestion." I use it as one of the 4 ingredients in my YEGG pills I learned to make from Jeanne Rose's Herbal Studies Course: Yellow Dock, Echinacea Angustifolia, Goldenseal and Siberian Ginseng - powdered root taken in pill form (dosage varies). I have taken these pills for years for everything from bronchitis to colds to flu. A word of caution about harvesting wild plants, you must make sure they are not in an area that is sprayed with pesticides or spoiled by runoff - which is nearly impossible these days. I used to harvest plants when I lived on a horse farm because, for obvious reasons, they did not treat the fields with pesticides. The other caution is not to over harvest a plant, especially when taking it's root. For rare species of plant, is best to cultivate your own varieties.
There is great information on this site on how to harvest Yellow Dock, and it's fellow bitters, Dandelion and Burdock root: https://theherbalacademy.com/3-medicinal-roots-to-harvest-in-fall-dandelion-burdock-and-yellow-dock/ Since I no longer live on a horse farm, I purchase most of the dried, powdered roots I use from: http://jeansgreens.com/ in New York.