Yellow Dock

Other names: Curled dock, garden patience, rumex, sour dock

Scientific name: Rumex Crispus/obtusifolius

Common names:

Ayurvedic names: Amla vetasa

Chinese names: Chin-ch’iao-mai

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    الحُمَّاض الأصْفَر (al hummaad al asfar)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Polygonaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Root, leaf (externally)


Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 1-5 foot

Actions: Alterative, astrigent, Cholagogue, depuarative, hepatic, tonic, cathartic, alterative

Known Constituents: Chrysarobin, iron, manganese, potassium oxalate, tannin, and rumicin, iron, phosphorus, calcium, vitamins A and C

Constituents Explained:


A weed whose name comes from the deep, yellow root.  The blue-green leaves are alternative, basal?? with wavy edges.  The leaves that grow off the stem are about double the size of the leaves that grow further up off the stalk of the flower. The flower spiks have green flowerd with fruitsd that turn dark brown in Autumn.  The fruits have 3 wings??? Tends to grow in waste places.

Traditional Use:

The leaves are commonly used in salads.  When the taste is bitter they are normally bioled in 2 or more changes of water.  The leaf is used for fevers, inflammation and scurvy.

Yellow dock is famed for its high iron content.  It is also high in other minerals. It is also used as a mild laxative, and to help detoxify the liver and gall bladder.

Its often used internally and externally for skin complaints.

The root is used for constipation, diarrhea, constant menstruation, skin problems, rheuatism, and the liver.  The antrhauqinone content makes it a common remedy used to get the bowels moving effectivelty, but is much gentler than other herbs that have lower bowel purging properties.  Sometimes called a ‘blood cleanser.’

Its high Tannin content means it has been recommended to take every other week.1

The leaves have been used externally for nettle stings (a stinging herb.)

Clinical Studies:


                       Yellow Dock

Scientific Name: Rumex crispus

Family: N.O. Polygonaceae

Other name: Curled Dock.

The mature plant is a reddish brown color, and produces a stalk that grows to about 1 m high. It has smooth leaves shooting off from a large basal rosette, with distinctive waved or curled edges. On the stalk flowers and seeds are produced in clusters on branched stems, with the largest cluster being found at the apex. The seeds are shiny, brown and encased in the calyx of the flower that produced them. This casing enables the seeds to float on water and get caught in wool and animal fur, and this helps the seeds to spread to new locations.[1] The root-structure is a large, yellow, forking taproot.

Curled Dock grows in roadsides, all types of fields, and low-maintenance crops. It prefers rich, moist and heavy soils. The root has laxative, alterative and mildly tonic action, and can be freely used as a tonic and laxative in rheumatism, bilious complaints and as an astringent in piles, bleedings of the lungs, etc. It is largely prescribed for diseases of the blood, from a spring eruption, to scurvy, scrofula and chronic skin diseases. It is also useful in jaundice and as a tonic to the stomach and the system generally. It has an action on the bowels very similar to that of Rhubarb, being perhaps a little less active, but operating without pain or uneasiness.

It can be used as a wild leaf vegetable; the young leaves should be boiled in several changes of water to remove as much of the oxalic acid in the leaves as possible, or can be added directly to salads in moderate amounts. Once the plant matures it becomes too bitter to consume. Dock leaves are an excellent source of both vitamin A and protein, and are rich in iron and potassium. Curly Dock leaves are somewhat tart due to the presence of high levels of oxalic acid, and although quite palatable, this plant should only be consumed in moderation as it can irritate the urinary tract and increase the risk of developing kidney stones.

The roots have also been used medicinally as an astringent, tonic, and laxative. Compounds contained in the plant’s roots have been clinically verified to bind with heavy metals such as lead and arsenic and expel them from the body by stimulating bleary function in the liver. The plant is considered a highly effective blood cleanser and is used by herbalists to assist the body in eliminating heavy metals and to treat other hepatic disorders

Herb Name: Yellow Dock

Others names: Curled dock, Curly dock, Sour dock, Narrow dock, Narrow-leaved dock, and Garden patience

Scientific name: Rumex crispus

Family: Polygonaceae

Common part used: Root, Leaves, Seed

Description: Yellow Dock is a reddish-brown or green plant with a large yellow root, tall stalk, smooth waved leaves, a large base rosette, and clusters of green flowers. The seeds are brown and shiny, and they stick to clothing and animal fur.

Properties: Yellow Dock is an herb that is used in herbal medicine to treat constipation, diarrhea, digestive disorders, piles, lung bleeding, blood-related complaints, chronic skin disorders, cancer, and hepatic disorders. Its properties include: alterative, antiscorbutic, astringent, anti-cancer, cholagogue, depurative, laxative, poultice, salve, and tonic.

Contents: The leaves are a rich source of vitamins A, C, and B, minerals (iron, calcium, and phosphorus), and protein. The root contains anthraquinones (laxative) and tannin (astringent). 

Internal use: Internally, it is a safe and gentle laxative, and is used for treating mild constipation. When used in an appropriate dose, it can also relieve diarrhea. Yellow Dock is used as a tonic for various digestive disorders. Internally, it is also used to treat piles, lung bleeding, various blood-related complaints, as well as chronic skin disorders. It may help to restrain cancer inroads. It is also used for certain types of cough. It is an effective blood cleanser, used to eliminate heavy metals from the body, as well as to treat various other hepatic disorders.

External use: Externally, its cleansing properties are useful for treating various skin problems. The root (poultice, salve, dried, mashed, or as a powder) can be used on sores, wounds, ulcers, and other skin problems. 

Essential oil and aromatherapy use: Yellow dock is rarely used on its own as an essential oil, but it may be added to various essential oil mixes.

Safety precautions: Large amounts of oxalic acid that is found in the plants, can lock-up calcium, causing mineral deficiencies. People, who are suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, gout, hyper-acidity, or kidney stones, may have their condition aggravated following the use of this plant. Excess use can cause nausea, gastric disturbance, dermatitis, and urinary tract irritation.