Botanical description: A tall variable perennial. Yellow dock and Broad leaved dock interbreed easily and therefore the true species can be hard to find. Curled dock can be identified by the wavy leaf margin and the fact that the persistent perianth has no teeth.
Parts used: Root
Habitat,cultivation and harvesting: Common European plant. Not normally necessary to cultivate. The roots are harvested in the spring or the autumn and are cut into sections before drying.
History/folklore/taste/energetics: As well as being used as a treatment for nettle stings, the leaves can be combined with dandelion leaves as a spring tonic. Reduces Chi stagnation in the Liver, Gall Bladder and Large intestine meridians. Roots; Mucilaginous, bitter,slightly sour, cool, damp, astringent. Leaves; sour, astringent. Releases wind damp and heat in the skin.
Constituents: Anthraquinone glycosides, including neopodin Tannins, Runicin, Oxalates, Flavonoids including quercetin
Botanical description: Can be distinguished from docks by their sagittate pikestaff leaves which are variable in size. The plant is 4-40 cm tall and is a creeping perennial The flowers are unisexual. Common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) has longer leaves with a more typical arrow shape and grows in grasslands and open woods. They are interchangeable therapeutically according to some authors.
Part used: Leaves
Habitat, cultivation and harvesting: Well drained acid grasslands and sandy habitats. Leaves are harvested throughout the year as available. Can be cultivated from seed or divided in spring.
History/folklore/taste/energetics: Cooling, sour. Sheep’s sorrel is one of the ingredients in Essiac tea