Botanical Name :Rumex crispus
Species: R. crispus
Synonym: Curled Dock.Lapathum crispum Garsault [Invalid]. Lapathum crispum (L.) Scop. Rumex elongatus Guss.
Common Name :Curly dock” or “yellow dock
Habitat :Rumex crispus is native to Europe and Western Asia. It grows freely in roadside ditches and waste places.
Rumex crispus is a perennial plant growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to October, and the seeds ripen from Jul to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Wind.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
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.The leaves are crisped at their edges. The stem is 1 to 3 feet high and branched, the leaves, 6 to 10 inches long. 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.
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The root-structure is a large, yellow, forking taproot. The roots are 8 to 12 inches long, about 1/2 inch thick, fleshy and usually not forked. Externally they are of a rusty brown and internally whitish, with fine, straight, medullary rays and a rather thick bark. It has little or no smell and a rather bitter taste.
Succeeds in most soils, preferring a moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position. The plant does not need any help in growing, it is doing very nicely in Britain where it is a serious weed of agriculture. A very important food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterfly.
Seed – this plant does not require any help in its propagation.
Leaves are eaten raw or cooked. They can also be dried for later use. The leaves can be added to salads, cooked as a potherb or added to soups. Only the very young leaves should be used, preferably before the stems have developed, and even these are likely to be bitter. If used in early spring and in the autumn they can often be fairly pleasant tasting. The leaves are very rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron and the vitamins A and C. A nutritional analysis is available. Stems – raw or cooked. They are best peeled and the inner portion eaten.
Seed are also eaten raw or cooked. It can be used as a piñole or can be ground into a powder and used as a flour for making pancakes etc. The seed is very fiddly to harvest and prepare. The roasted seed has been used as a coffee substitute.
Rumex crispus has a long history of domestic herbal use. It is a gentle and safe laxative, less powerful than rhubarb in its action so it is particularly useful in the treatment of mild constipation. The plant has valuable cleansing properties and is useful for treating a wide range of skin problems. All parts of the plant can be used, though the root is most active medicinally. The root is alterative, antiscorbutic, astringent, cholagogue, depurative, laxative and mildly tonic. It used to be sold as a tonic and laxative. 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 constipation, diarrhoea, piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases. Externally, the root can be mashed and used as a poultice and salve, or dried and used as a dusting powder, on sores, ulcers, wounds and various other skin problems. 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. The seed is used in the treatment of diarrhoea. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested in the autumn before frost has touched the plant. It is only used in the treatment of a specific type of cough
The Zuni people apply a poultice of the powdered root to sores, rashes and skin infections, and use infusion of the root for athlete’s foot.
Dye & Compost
Yellow, dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots. They do not need a mordant. An alternative ingredient of ‘QR‘ herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost.
Known Hazards: 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. Avoid during pregnancy & breast feeding.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider