Rumex crispus

There was a young boy who was quite anemic. He was pale and his skin looked chalky. They gave him many different medicines and compounds and drugs from the drug store. None of these medicines seemed to work. They gave him compounds that had iron in them to try to build up his blood, but they only seemed to constipate him. The boy's father was a master chemist and a good friend of Dr. Christopher. The father argued that iron was iron, whether it grew in a plant or was in a nail or in a chemical compound.

One day, the father asked Dr. Christopher what he could give his son to build up the iron in his blood for his anemia. He was told to take a nail, grind it finely and give it to his son. They both had a big laugh and the chemist father said he had already tried to give him some iron compound, but it only constipated to his son. He was then told to take some yellow dock root and make some tea or capsules for his son. Although it was quite bitter, the blood started to build up and he got over his anemia.

Yellow dock is a handsome plant with a tall center stalk and large, light-green leaves with wavy margins or edges. The lower leaves are quite wide as well as long, while the higher leaves are thinner and more pointed or lanceolate. The blossom and fruit grow on spikes or loosely whorled raceme. The light green flowers bloom in June and July.

Yellow dock is an astringent that tightens tissue and and will stop bleeding or tighten loose teeth. It is a tonic that tones up the tissue and the organs of the body; it is a cholagogue which increases the flow of bile from the gall bladder to the intestines, causing a mild laxative that helps the bowel; it is a blood purifier that will help skin problems and eruptive diseases such as scrofula and acne. Yellow dock nourishes the spleen and liver and is helpful in treating jaundice and lymphatic problems. It is high in iron which builds up the blood and, finally, it is an alternative in that it alters the condition of body and helps it to heal and mend.

Yellow dock is also known by the names of “curled dock,” “garden patience,” “narrow dock,” “sour dock,” “rumex,” and “red dock.”

Yellow dock grows from a tap root that puts out new shoots each year. This root is the part of the plant that is used. An older root will grow to the length of about ten to twelve inches long. The bark or covering on the root is usually a rust brown. The inside of the root is fleshy and white with little smell, but it is quite astringent and has a very bitter taste.

In the spring, the new leaves of the yellow dock can be steamed, or cooked, and eaten as a pot herb. His family of plants grows abundantly in soil where there is iron; that is why they are sometimes referred to as “iron plants”. According to Dr. Shook, some plants contain up to 40 percent iron compounds or oxalate. Yellow dock also contains amounts of chrysophanic acids, emodin, tannin, calcium oxalate, lapathin, manganese and nickel and vitamins A and C. Because of it's iron compounds, yellow dock has been recognized as a blood builder. However, for ages, it has also been recognized as a blood purifier. Advertisements at the turn of the century offered tonics for dirty blood. Most of these tonics were built around yellow dock, curly dock or red clover. They were advertised as cures for skin eruptions, scorbutic diseases, itch, syphilis, liver congestion, dyspepsia, biliousness, sour stomach, and a lack of pep and vitality.

Yellow dock is a good plant to get acquainted with.

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