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Rumex crispus - L.                
                 
Common Name Curled Dock, Curly dock
Family Polygonaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
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[238]. Avoid during pregnancy & breast feeding.
Habitats Growing almost anywhere[5], it is found especially in grassy places, waste ground, roadsides and near sand dunes and is a serious weed of agriculture[17, 244].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, to N. Africa.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary

Rumex crispus Curled Dock, Curly dock


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rumex_crispus_Sturm52.jpg
Rumex crispus Curled Dock, Curly dock
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Llez
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Rumex crispus is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 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.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Lapathum crispum Garsault [Invalid]. Lapathum crispum (L.) Scop. Rumex elongatus Guss.
Habitats
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Meadow;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Coffee.

Leaves - raw or cooked[5, 85, 159]. They can also be dried for later use[12]. The leaves can be added to salads, cooked as a potherb or added to soups[183]. Only the very young leaves should be used, preferably before the stems have developed, and even these are likely to be bitter[12, 95, 257]. If used in early spring and in the autumn they can often be fairly pleasant tasting[85, 159, K]. The leaves are very rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron and the vitamins A and C[183, 244]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Stems - raw or cooked[257]. They are best peeled and the inner portion eaten[257]. Seed - raw or cooked[172, 257]. It can be used as a piƱole or can be ground into a powder and used as a flour for making pancakes etc[85, 102, 183, 257]. The seed is very fiddly to harvest and prepare[62]. The roasted seed has been used as a coffee substitute[207].
Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 21 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 92.6%
  • Protein: 1.5g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 4.1g; Fibre: 0.9g; Ash: 1.5g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 74mg; Phosphorus: 56mg; Iron: 5.6mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 1.38mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.06mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0.08mg; Niacin: 0.4mg; B6: 0mg; C: 30mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The figure for vitamin A is in milligrammes.
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Alterative;  Antiscorbutic;  Astringent;  Cancer;  Cholagogue;  Depurative;  Homeopathy;  Laxative;  Poultice;  Salve;  Tonic.


Curled dock 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[254]. The plant has valuable cleansing properties and is useful for treating a wide range of skin problems[254]. 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[4, 21, 46, 94, 165]. It used to be sold as a tonic and laxative[212]. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present[222]. It is used internally in the treatment of constipation, diarrhoea, piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases[4, 238, 257]. 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[257]. The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic[4]. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use[4]. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis[222, 238]. The seed is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[4, 218]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested in the autumn before frost has touched the plant[232]. It is only used in the treatment of a specific type of cough[232].
Other Uses
Compost;  Dye.

Yellow, dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots. They do not need a mordant[168]. An alternative ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator[32]. (is it the flowers?) 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[K].
Cultivation details
Succeeds in most soils, preferring a moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. 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[30].
Propagation
Seed - this plant does not require any help in its propagation.
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Rumex abyssinicusSpinach Rhubarb10
Rumex acetosaSorrel, Garden sorrel53
Rumex acetosellaSheeps Sorrel, Common sheep sorrel43
Rumex alpinusAlpine Dock, Munk's rhubarb42
Rumex angiocarpusCommon sheep sorrel10
Rumex aquaticusRed Dock, Western dock13
Rumex arcticusArctic Dock21
Rumex arifoliusMaiden Sorrel10
Rumex berlandieriamamastla10
Rumex browniiSwamp Dock20
Rumex bucephalophorusred dock10
Rumex conglomeratusSharp Dock, Clustered dock12
Rumex daiwoosour dock12
Rumex dentatustoothed dock11
Rumex gmelinii 10
Rumex graminifoliusGrassleaf sorrel10
Rumex hastatus 22
Rumex hydrolapathumGreat Water Dock11
Rumex hymenosepalusCanaigre, Canaigre dock22
Rumex japonicus 20
Rumex longifoliusdooryard dock11
Rumex maritimusGolden Dock12
Rumex mexicanusMexican Dock12
Rumex nepalensis 12
Rumex obtusifoliusRound-Leaved Dock, Bitter dock12
Rumex occidentalisWestern Dock11
Rumex patientiaHerb Patience31
Rumex paucifoliusFewleaved Dock, Alpine sheep sorrel10
Rumex pulcherFiddle Dock10
12
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Expert comment
 
Administrator .
Mar 19 2011 12:00AM
I mistakenly used this plants root in a recipe thinking it was a relative to Burdock root, and found myself nauseous and eventually throwing up. Do your research foragers, don't be like me!
      
Author
L.
Botanical References
17
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
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Subject : Rumex crispus  
 

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