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Herbs & Plants

Rumex acetosa

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Botanical Name :  Rumex acetosa
Family:    Polygonaceae
Genus:    Rumex
Species:R. acetosa
Kingdom:Plantae
Order:    Caryophyllales

Common Names: Common sorrel or garden sorrel, often simply called sorrel
Other Names: Spinach dock and Narrow-leaved dock.

Habitat : Rumex acetosa occurs in grassland habitats throughout Europe from the northern Mediterranean coast to the north of Scandinavia and in parts of Central Asia. It occurs as an introduced species in parts of North America.

Description : Rumex acetosa is a perennial herb. It is a plant like the Common Dock, but handsomer, and distinguished by its sharp-pointed leaves being narrower and longer. It grows about 3 feet high, having erect, round, striated stems and small greenish flowers, turning brown when ripe……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Edible Uses: The leaves may be pureed in soups and sauces or added to salads; they have a flavour that is similar to kiwifruit or sour wild strawberries. The plant’s sharp taste is due to oxalic acid.

In northern Nigeria, sorrel is known as yakuwa or sure (pronounced suuray) in Hausa or karassu in Kanuri. It is also used in stews usually in addition to spinach. In some Hausa communities, it is steamed and made into salad using kuli-kuli (traditional roasted peanut cakes with oil extracted), salt, pepper, onion and tomatoes. The recipe varies according to different levels of household income. A drink called solo is made from a decoction of the plant calyx.

In Romania, wild or garden sorrel, known as m?cri? or ?tevie, is used to make sour soups, stewed with spinach, added fresh to lettuce and spinach in salads or over open sandwiches.

In Russia and Ukraine it is called shchavel’   and is used to make soup called green borscht. It is used as a soup ingredient in other countries, too .

In Croatia and Bulgaria is used for soups or with mashed potatoes, or as part of a traditional dish containing eel and other green herbs.

In rural Greece it is used with spinach, leeks, and chard in spanakopita.

In the Flemish speaking part of Belgium it is called “zurkel” and preserved pureed sorrel is mixed with mashed potatoes and eaten with sausages, meatballs or fried bacon, as a traditional winter dish.

In Vietnam it is called Rau Chua and is used to added fresh to lettuce and in salads.

In Portugal, it’s called “azeda” (sour), and is usually chewed raw.

In India, the leaves are called chukkakura in Telugu and are used in making delicious recipes. Chukkakura pappu soup made with yellow lentils which is also called toor dal in India.

In Albania it is called lëpjeta, the leaves are simmered and served cold marinated in olive oil, it is used in soups, and even as an ingredient for filling byrek pies ( byrek me lakra ).

This name can be confused with the hibiscus calyces or Hibiscus Tea.

Medicinal Uses:
The root has been used in drinks and decoctions for scurvy and as a general blood cleanser, and employed for outward application to cutaneous eruptions, in the form of an ointment, made by beating it up with lard.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/d/docks-15.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumex_acetosa

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Rumex Acetosella

Sheep's Sorrel
Image via Wikipedia

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Botanical Name:Rumex acetosella L. [Fam. Polygonaceae]
Family: Polygonaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Caryophyllales
Genus: Rumex
Species
: R. acetosella
Common Names: sheep’s sorrel, red sorrel, sour weed, and field sorrel.
Forms: Aqueous extract of whole or cut dried herb

Habitat:The plant is native to Eurasia but has been introduced to most of the rest of the northern hemisphere. In North America it is a common weed in fields, grasslands, and woodlands. It favors moist soil, so it thrives in floodplains and near marshes. It is often one of the first species to take hold in disturbed areas, such as abandoned mining sites, especially if the soil is acidic. Livestock will graze on the plant, but it is not very nutritious and contains oxalates which make the plant toxic if grazed in large amounts.

Rumex acetosella is a host plant for Lycaena phlaeas, also known as the American Copper or Small Copper butterfly.

Description:
Perennial weed commonly found in meadows, disturbed areas, waste places and in dry gravely places in most of the globe except for the tropics, grows ½ – 3’ high with small reddish flowers, leaves are usually tinged with a deep red hue..
It has green arrowhead-shaped leaves and red-tinted deeply ridged stems, and it sprouts from an aggressive rhizome. The flowers emerge from a tall, upright stem. Female flowers are maroon in color.

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Sheep’s sorrel is widely considered to be a noxious weed, and one that is hard to control due to its spreading rhizome. Blueberry farmers are familiar with the weed, due to its ability to thrive in the same conditions under which blueberries are cultivated. It is commonly considered by farmers as an Indicator plant of the need for liming.

Culinary Uses:-
There are several uses of sheep sorrel in the preparation of food including a garnish, a tart favoring agent and a curdling agent for cheese. The leaves have a lemony, tangy or nicely tart flavor.

Active Ingredients:
Sheep sorrel dried aerial parts contain: rutin (0.53%), flavone glycosides (i.e. hyperoside or quercitin-3d-galactoside) 0.05%, and hyperin (12mg/100g). Sheep sorrel also contains vitamins: C, A, B complex, D, E, K, P and U. Total vitamin C of the leaves varies from 750-1200mg/100g based on dry weight. The ash (8.1%) contains, in the oxide form, 20.0% calcium; 13.9% phosphorus; 13.4% magnesium; 28.3% potassium, and 11.5% silicon, along with iron, sulphur, copper, iodine, manganese, and zinc. The leaves and stems contain beneficial carotenoids, chlorophyll, organic acids (i.e., malic, oxalic, tannic, tartaric and citric) and phytoestrogens. The plant also contains anthraquinones including emodin, aloe emodin, chrysophanol, rhein, and physcion.

Sheep Sorrel contains constituents including beta carotene, tartaric acid, oxalates (oxalic acid), anthraquinones (chrysophanol, emodin, Rhein), Glycosides (Hyperoside, quercitin-3d-galactoside).

Medicinal Uses:

Traditional Usage:
– Anti-diarrhea
– Anti-inflammatory
– Antioxidant
– Cellular Regeneration
– Cleansing
– Detoxifying
– Diuretic
– Laxative
– Scurvy
– Vascular Disorders


At least ten Native tribes of Canada and the United States have used this plant, also known as sour grass or sour weed, as a food and medicine. Sheep sorrel is a popular ingredient of many folk remedies and the tea was used traditionally as a diuretic and to treat fevers, inflammation and scurvy. Sheep sorrel was considered the most active herb in Essiac for stimulating cellular regeneration, detoxification and cleansing, based on reports by Rene Caisse and her doctor colleague who did studies with mice bearing abnormal growths on the original eight herb formula. Interestingly, even though it is not a legume, sheep sorrel contains significant levels of phytoestrogens with notable estrogen receptor binding activity, similar to the isoflavone phytoestrogens common to red clover, licorice and soy, all legumes known for their strong health restorative properties. The herb also contains several anthraquinones that are effective antioxidants and radical scavengers. Although research is limited on sheep sorrel, closely related species contain a powerful antibacterial compound called rumicin, which is effective against Escherichia, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. The high tannin content of the tea can also provide astringent action, which is useful for treating diarrhea and excessive menstrual bleeding. At low doses, most Rumex species are useful for treating diarrhea; however, at higher doses, they are laxatives due to the presence of anthraquinones that directly effect the neuromuscular tissue, stimulate peristalsis, increase the mucous production of colonic mucosa cells and stimulate secretion of water into the intestinal lumen, thereby exerting a laxative effect. A comparison of the distribution of anthraquinones in 19 representative species of Rumex showed an identical profile between Rumex acetosella and Rumex acetosa and good similarity to R. crispus. Rumex crispus has been used traditionally to treat anemia, anthrax, diarrhea, eczema, fever, itch, leprosy, malaria, rheumatism, ringworm and tuberculosis.

It has a number of purported uses and folk remedies that include treatment for inflammation, cancer treatment, diarrhea, scurvy and fever. A tea made from the stem and leaves can be made to act as a diuretic. It also has certain astringent properties and uses. Other historical uses include that of a vermifuge, as the plant allegedly contains compounds toxic to intestinal parasites (worms).

Its alleged use as a cancer treatment, generally considered a folk remedy, is as a primary ingredient in a preparation commonly referred to by the name Essiac.

Rumex acetosella Traditionally used to cool fevers, stomach ache and inflammation. Very Nutritious, aids in digestion. Used to help treat cancer as it aids in breakdown of tumors as well as ulcers. Contains chlorophyll helping bring oxygen to the tissues, aiding in healing, as well as benefiting skin, urinary and kidney diseases. Also used as a cooling drink in all female disorders. Relieves ulcers of the bowels, gravel and stone in kidneys.

Contradictions: High in oxalic acid, large amounts can cause poisoning and kidney irritation.

Instructions: Use whole plant in infusion to bring fever down, fresh leaves used as a cooling diuretic. A salve or poultice of leaf and flower may be used externally for skin problems and tumors. Use one or two cups a day for no longer than 5 days at a time.

Properties: Good source of vitamin C, chlorophyll, and carotenoids. Contains oxalic acid which is where its bitter taste comes from, quite safe for consumption in small quantities. Anti-tumor, diuretic, refrigerant, astringent, laxative, diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory.

Suggested Amount:
Sheep sorrel can be taken as a tea with the recommended dosage of one to three cups per day, using one teaspoonful of dried aboveground herb per cup of boiling water. Culpeper recommends that the leaves be used for their diuretic property and taken as an infusion with a dosage of 1oz (28g) to 1pt (568ml) of boiling water – in doses of 2fl oz (56ml). He recommends the leaf juice as a tonic for the kidneys and urinary tract taken in doses of half to one teaspoonful.


Drug Interactions:

In large dosages, the anthraquinones-type laxative compounds may increase the action of other laxatives and so should not be taken at the same time.

Contraindications:
Sheep sorrel and other plants of the Polygonaceae family contain oxalates in their fresh and cooked leaves and are contraindicated in cases of kidney stones. These plants with a characteristic tart taste, including rhubarb, should not be eaten in quantity (just as a flavouring or spice in small amounts) because the oxalates may interfere with calcium metabolism in the body, especially in a calcium-poor diet. Sorrel and rhubarb leaves contain enough oxalates and anthraquinones-type laxative compounds to cause poisoning and possibly even death if eaten in excessive amounts. One death has been reported for a man consuming a soup made with 500g of French sorrel (Rumex acetosa). Teas containing sheep sorrel (hot aqueous extracts of sorrel that do not contain any raw herb material) contain only trace amounts of oxalates, however manufactures of such teas should do routine testing to assure customers of safe levels. Large doses of sheep sorrel tea and/or concentrated extracts may also cause gastric disturbance, nausea and diarrhea due to anthraquinones-type laxative compounds.

Side Effects:
Large doses of sheep sorrel tea may cause gastric disturbance, nausea, and diarrhea due to anthraquinones-type laxative compounds. Large doses of the raw herb may even cause poisoning due to high oxalic acid and tannin content. One death has been reported for a man consuming a soup made with 500g of French sorrel (Rumex acetosa). Teas containing sheep sorrel (hot aqueous extracts of sorrel that do not contain any raw herb material) contain only trace amounts of oxalates, however manufactures of such teas should do routine testing to assure customers of safe levels.

Disclaimer: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.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumex_acetosella
http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/Canada/HealthInformation/Encyclopedias/SheepSorrel.htm
http://lyraesherbpages.homestead.com/medicinalherbsq-z.html

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)

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Botanical Name: Oxalis acetosella
Family:
Oxalidaceae
Genus:
Oxalis
Species:
O. acetosella
Kingdom
Plantae
Order:
Oxalidales

Common Names:   Wood sorrel, Common wood sorrel or sometimes Miriam

Other Names: Wood Sour. Sour Trefoil. Stickwort. Fairy Bells. Hallelujah

Habitat :Wood Sorrel  is native to  Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain, N. and C. Asia to Japan.  It grows in moist woods, moorland and on shady rocks.

Description:
A perennial, Wood Sorrel is a small plant with leaves in three parts, which often fold up. The flowers are bell-shaped and white with a dash of blue. Despite its name, the plant is not related to Sorrel, but is closely related to the Geranium family.
It is a little plant of a far more delicate, even dainty character, growing abundantly in woods and shady places. From its slender, irregular creeping rootstock covered with red scales, it sends up thin delicate leaves, each composed of three heartshaped leaflets, a beautiful bright green above, but of a purplish hue on their under surface. The long slender leaf-stalks are often reddish towards the base. The leaflets are usually folded somewhat along their middle, and are of a peculiarly sensitive nature. Only in shade are they fully extended: if the direct rays of the sun fall on them they sink at once upon the stem, forming a kind of three-sided pyramid, their under surfaces thus shielding one another and preventing too much evaporation from their pores. At night and in bad weather, the leaflets fold in half along the midrib, and the three are placed nearly side by side to ‘sleep,’ a security against storm and excessive dews.

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It flowers between Easter and Whitsuntide.
By many, the ternate leaf has been considered to be that with which St. Patrick demonstrated the Trinity to the ancient Irish, though a tiny kind of clover is now generally accepted as the ‘true Shamrock.’

The flowers, each set on long stalks, are fragile, in form somewhat like the Crane’sbills, to which they are closely allied, being bell-shaped, the corolla composed of five delicate white petals, veined with purple, enclosed in a five-scalloped cup of sepals and containing ten stamens, and in the centre, five green, thread-like columns, arising from a single five-celled ovary. At the base of the petals, a little honey is stored, but the flower seems to find favour with few insects.

As the flower fades, its stalk bends towards the ground and conceals the seed capsule under the leaves, till ripe, when it straightens again. The case of the capsule is elastic and curls back when the fruit is quite ripe, jerking the seeds out several yards, right over the leaves.

A second kind of flower is also produced. These are hidden among the leaves and are inconspicuous, their undeveloped petals never opening out. The ripening and seed scattering processes of these self-fertilized cleistogamous (or hidden) flowers are the same as with the familiar white-petalled ones. Wood Sorrel droops its blossoms in stormy weather, and also folds its leaves.

Neither the flowers nor any part of the plant has any odour, but the leaves have a pleasantly acid taste, due to the presence of considerable quantities of binoxalate of potash. This, combined with their delicacy, has caused them to be eaten as a spring salad from time immemorial, their sharpness taking the place of vinegar. They were also the basis of a green sauce, that was formerly taken largely with fish. ‘Greene Sauce,’ says Gerard, ‘is good for them that have sicke and feeble stomaches . . . and of all Sauces, Sorrel is the best, not only in virtue, but also in pleasantness of his taste.’

Both botanical names Oxalis and acetosella refer to this acidity, Oxalis being derived from the Greek oxys, meaning sour or acid, and acetosella, meaning vinegar salts. Salts of Lemon, as well as Oxalic acid, can be obtained from the plant: 20 lb. of fresh herb yield about 6 lb. of juice, from which, by crystallization, between 2 and 3 OZ. of Salts of Lemon can be obtained.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves.
Edible Uses: Curdling agent.

Leaves – raw or cooked. A delicious lemony flavour, the leaves make a refreshing, thirst-quenching munch and are also added to salads, soups, sauces etc. This leaf should be used in moderation, see the notes above on toxicity. Flowers – raw. A decorative addition to salads. The dried plant can be used as a curdling agent for plant milks.

Cultivation:
Prefers moist shady conditions and a humus rich soil in shade or dappled sunlight. Dislikes very heavy and wet soils. Plants are hardy to about -25°c. A dainty woodland carpeter growing well in a woodland or wild garden. When well sited the plants can run aggressively and also self-sow. The plant flowers in early spring, but does not produce much fertile seed at this time. Most of the fertile seed is produced from cleistogamous flowers during the summer.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Part Used Medicinally:–-The leaves, fresh or dried.

Medicinal virtues: Similar to Sorrels, but is more effectual in hindering the putrefaction of the blood. It quenches the thirst, strengthens a weak stomach, stays vomiting and is excellent in fevers.
Modern uses: The plant is particularly rich in oxalic acid and potassium oxalate, which are not suitable for those with gouty or rheumatic tendencies. It can he injurious if prescribed injudiciously. The leaves are used for their cooling action in fevers. The infusion – i oz (28 g) to i pt (568 rnl) of boiling water – is also given for catarrh and urinary tract inflammation in doses of 2 fl Oz (56 rni). Excessive or prolonged administration is not recommended. The infusion is used as lotion for skin infections. The juice is used as a gargle for mouth ulcers.

General Medicinal Usage:

Excellent in any contagious sickness or pestilential fever.

It has diuretic, antiscorbutic and refrigerant action, and a decoction made from its pleasant acid leaves is given in high fever, both to quench thirst and to allay the fever. The Russians make a cooling drink from an infusion of the leaves, which may be infused with water or boiled in milk. Though it may be administered freely, not only in fevers and catarrhs, but also in haemorrhages and urinary disorders, excess should be guarded against, as the oxalic salts are not suitable to all constitutions, especially those of a gouty and rheumatic tendency.

The old herbalists tell us that Wood Sorrel is more effectual than the true Sorrels as a blood cleanser, and will strengthen a weak stomach, produce an appetite, check vomiting, and remove obstructions of the viscera.

The juice of the leaves turns red when clarified and makes a fine, clear syrup, which was considered as effectual as the infusion. The juice used as a gargle is a remedy for ulcers in the mouth, and is good to heal wounds and to stanch bleeding. Sponges and linen cloths saturated with the juice and applied, were held to be effective in the reduction of swellings and inflammation.

An excellent conserve, Conserva Ligulae, used to be made by beating the fresh leaves up with three times their weight of sugar and orange peel, and this was the basis of the cooling and acid drink that was long a favourite remedy in malignant fevers and scurvy.

In Henry VIII’s time this plant was held in great repute as a pot-herb, but after the introduction of French Sorrel, with its large succulent leaves, it gradually lost its position as a salad and pot-herb.

The herbalist Nicholas Culpeper, writing in England in the 1500’s, reported wood sorrel’s medicinal virtues.  He recommended the plant ?to quench thirst, to strengthen a weak stomach, to stay vomiting, and he noted that it was  excellent in any contagious sickness or pestilential fever.  By the 1800’s this species of sorrel had been introduced into North America.  One herbalist noted that a decoction, or extract, of wood sorrel was being used to treat inflammatory disorders, fevers, and diseases of the kidneys and bladder.  A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers, both to quench the thirst and allay the fever. Externally, the leaves are crushed and applied locally to dispel boils and abscesses, they also have an astringent affect on wounds.  The juice of the leaves turns red when clarified and makes a fine, clear syrup, which was considered as effectual as the infusion. The juice used as a gargle is a remedy for ulcers in the mouth, and is good to heal wounds and to stanch bleeding. Sponges and linen cloths saturated with the juice and applied, were held to be effective in the reduction of swellings and inflammation. A conserve, Conserva Ligulae, used to be made by beating the fresh leaves up with three times their weight of sugar and orange peel, and this was the basis of the cooling and acid drink that was a remedy in malignant fevers and scurvy.

Other Uses :
Cleanser……..The juice of the leaves removes iron mould stains from linen. Plants can be grown as a ground cover in woodland or under the shade of shrubs. They should be spaced about 45cm apart each way

Known Hazards:   The leaves contain oxalic acid, which gives them their sharp flavour. Perfectly all right in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since oxalic acid can bind up the body’s supply of calcium leading to nutritional deficiency. The quantity of oxalic acid will be reduced if the leaves are 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

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalis_acetosella
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Oxalis+acetosella
www.botanical.com
www.health-topic.com

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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