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Synonyms :Rumex arizonicus Britton,Rumex salinus A.Nelson,Rumex hymenosepalus var. salinus (A. Nelson) Rech.,Rumex saxei Kellogg
Habitat : Rumex hymenosepalus is native to the United States and it is found on sandy roadsides and fields at lower to middle elevations.It has been cultivated in the southwestern United States. It grows in dry sandy places below 1500 metres in California
Rumex hymenosepalus is a perennial flowering plant with tall reddish colored stems .Rumex hymenosepalus grows very large basal leaves early in the spring. The leaves are elliptic, thick, and wider than those of Rumex crispus. The leaves can be wavy at the margin, but usually not as much as with Rumex crispus.A tall, stout flower stalk follows with tiny green/red/yellow flowers that are replaced by showy pink/red/brown seed pods. Early leaves of this and related Rumex species are palatable as a potherb, giving rise to the “Wild Rhubarb” common name. Leaves persist through the summer but toughen with age. A number of species of Rumex are found in Canyon Country and were probably a common food for the Anasazi.
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The reproductive panicles are thickly packed . Typically, Rumex hymenosepalus leaves are among the first early signs of spring in the lower parts of the Gila. The stems are reddish with an interior that is somewhat spongy with airspaces.
Cultivation : Succeeds in most soils but prefers a deep fertile moderately heavy soil that is humus-rich, moisture-retentive but well-drained and a position in full-sun or part shade. Judging by its native range, this plant should succeed in dry soils. Extensively cultivated for the tannin contained in its root.
Propagation : Seed – sow spring in situ. Division in spring.
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Drink.
Young leaves – cooked as a pot-herb. They are usually cooked in several changes of water to remove the bitter-tasting tannin. Leaf stems – cooked. Crisp and tart, they are excellent when used in pies like rhubarb. They are often cooked with sugar, or can be baked and the central portion eaten. The stems, harvested before the flowers open, have been boiled to make a drink. Seed – raw or cooked. It can be ground into a powder, cooked with water to the consistency of a thick gravy and eaten as a mush. The powder can also be mixed with water, shaped into cakes and baked. Root. Eaten raw by children in early spring.
The use of cañaigre root in folk medicine has been as an astringent, prepared as a tea for diarrhea and as a garble for sore throat. These uses are probably effective, owing to the plant’s high tannin content. Herbalists have traditionally relied upon cañaigre as an astringent. They used its large tuberous roots to make a tea for treating diarrhea and a gargle for easing sore throat. One herbal suggests using the boiled root extract to stop bleeding from minor scrapes and cuts. For sunburn, the root can be grated fresh on the burned skin, allowed to dry and a poultice of the inner pith of the cactus placed over or the juice rubbed in. An infusion of the stems and leaves has been used as a wash for sores, ant bites and infected cuts. The root has been chewed in the treatment of coughs and colds. The dried, powdered roots have been used as a dusting powder and dressing on burns and sores. A tea made from this plant is used to treat colds. The dried root combined with water is used as a mouthwash for pyorrhea and gum inflammations. Sucking on a slice tightens the teeth. The tea is used as a wash for acne and other moist or greasy skin problems.
The roots are a good source of tannin, for use in leather tanning. It is also a source of a mustard-colored dye.
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.
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.
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