Find out why yellow dock is a must-have in your natural medicine cabinet. Especially if you are pregnant!
Around the twenty-second week of my second pregnancy, I was getting fatigued, muscle aches and weakness, and light-headed. I had my iron level checked – low, but normal for this point in pregnancy. Just what was going on?
I had low hemoglobin levels, a common issue when blood volumes nearly doubles around that mark of pregnancy. I had tried a handful of iron-boosting supplements, and none worked well. Then, my mother in law suggested using yellow dock, something she used every pregnancy. I was revived almost instantly, and since then, I suggest other moms consider having it on hand when the mid-pregnancy blood increase occurs. It’s a game-changer.
Luckily, this weed is all over my garden, and its tell-tale yellow root is readily available to make my own tonics from. It’s something you should have in your natural medicine cabinet, too.
What is yellow dock?
Yellow dock, scientific name Rumex crispus, is also called curly dock, broad-leaf dock, or field sorrel. The roots are used medicinally, while the leaves and stalks are consumed. Native to Europe, it grows as a weed throughout North America. The Native Americans used the herb for inflammation, constipation, and to heal open sores.
Yellow dock grows tall, green stalks littered with broad leaf green leaves, small, grain-like green to yellow bud flowers, and of course, it’s character yellow root (it is actually a rhizome).
Yellow Dock as a Remedy
Yellow dock has been called a panacea for centuries, and has been used to treat the following conditions:
- Anemia. Anemia is caused by a low iron level in the blood or poor assimilation. Yellow dock boosts iron absorption as well as red blood cell counts in the blood, reducing anemia symptoms.
- Blood cleansing.
- Liver detoxification. Dock is a bitter which stimulates the bile in the liver to remove unwanted toxins and hormones.
- Hormonal imbalances. Dock is known to get lymph moving and has been used extensively to help with hormonal issues, imbalances, and PMS.
- A powerful antioxidant that combats oxidative stress.
- Wound healing (as a poultice). Natives would use yellow dock poultice to treat rashes, poison ivy, eczema, and age spots.
- Laxative. One of dock’s most popular uses is its laxative effects, partially thanks to its amazing ability to cleanse the blood and liver. It also increases stomach acid and enzymes to get digestion moving. Glycosides in the root stimulate colon movement.
- Helps with PMS and menstrual cramps.
- Diabetes prevention.
- Sore throats and cough treatment
- Treats bacterial infections and STDs. It’s even been used to treat scurvy.
- Pain and Swelling from Inflammation. Thanks to yellow dock’s antioxidants as well as high mineral content, it can lower pain and swelling from inflammation.
How to use Yellow Dock
Yellow dock should not be consumed raw, but the root should be cooked. Use the root in in a tincture, capsule, or tea. Tinctures are typically the strongest, followed by the dried herb capsules or an infusion. A tea is the weakest form, but a great place to start a new herb regimen.
Always check with your physician before trying yellow dock, especially if pregnant or nursing. Most midwives feel that using a small amount of yellow dock throughout a pregnancy is safe.
Yellow Dock Bitter Recipe
It’s easy to make your own bitters at home. Bitters are herbal tinctures that have strong properties to improve digestion by increasing stomach acid, bile excretion, and liver function.
– 1 half pint mason jar
– 1 cup of organic vodka (40 proof)
– 1/3 cup of dried yellow dock root
Place the roots in the jar, and cover with the vodka. Cap with the jar lid, and shake gently. Place in a dark, quiet corner of your kitchen. Allow 6 weeks – 4 months for the root to infuse. Finally, strain out the roots and bottle the remaining infused vodka (back into the mason jar is fine). Take a sip 30 minutes before meals to improve digestion.
You can also try your at hand using yellow dock in a traditional root beer recipe. Root beers were lactofermented drinks that included local herb roots.
Yellow dock is one of the most nutrient-dense herbs to have on hand – and you likely have it plentiful in your yard!
Have you used yellow dock?
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