Medicinal plants

Sorrel – Application & Treatment for Health


There are several hundred species of wood sorrel plants worldwide, one of which is native to Germany: the Walsauerklee , which is used in other areas in addition to medicine and folk medicine, where it is used as a medicinal plant. Consuming the plant in moderation is healthy.

Occurrence & Cultivation of Sorrel

The wood sorrel ( Oxalis ) does not come from the family of the legumes like the clover species typical in this country, but is one of the wood sorrel plants. The plant gets its name from its sour-tasting leaves, which are composed of long leaf stalks with three small, heart-shaped leaflets.

Like rhubarb , sour clover owes its sour taste to the ingredient oxalic acid. Another name for oxalic acid is clover salt. The clover plant grows in groups and reaches a height of up to ten centimetres. It should not be confused with the wood anemone, which also has white flowers. The white flowers of the sorrel appear in spring and are on long stalks.

Too much darkness, brightness, nearby vibrations or other unfavorable living conditions cause the sorrel to react: the plant folds its horizontal leaves down and the flowers close. Wood sorrel finds the best living conditions in deciduous and coniferous forests, where it is found in many areas of Europe.

Effect & Application

There are possible uses for wood sorrel beyond its use as a medicinal plant. Wood sorrel was used as a medicinal plant in ancient times. The herb gathered during the flowering period could be made into a paste capable of soothing ulcers .

In anthroposophic medicine, which supplements conventional medicine with spiritual scientific knowledge, sour clover is used today to harmonize the metabolism. Also for biliary colic , gastrointestinal cramps and to stimulate liver activity. Wood sorrel also helps with skin diseases , serves as an emetic and as an antidote for poisoning by mercury or arsenic .

Due to the high content of vitamin C , wood sorrel can be used successfully in vitamin C deficiency . Wood sorrel has a diuretic and blood-cleansing effect. It helps against spring tiredness , sore throats , strengthens the stomach and stimulates the appetite . Compresses with a tincture or essence of wood sorrel can be placed directly on the abdomen, where it will initially feel cold.

The cold stimulus stimulates blood circulation. Depending on how you feel, leave the compress on for 15 to 60 minutes. In some cases it can be useful to apply a compress every day. A single application is usually sufficient. When fresh, the leaves of the plant can be used as a tea, which is said to relieve heartburn and skin rashes .

To prepare the tea, scald fresh wood sorrel with a liter of hot water, leave to steep for a few minutes and sweeten with honey if necessary. The roots of wood sorrel can be boiled with sugar and are useful as a laxative and for healing wounds. The fresh juice of wood sorrel, spread on ulcers and tumors that are located on the outside of the skin tissue, is also said to achieve good healing results: wash the leaves beforehand and extract the juice from them in a household centrifuge when they are moist.

The human stomach tolerates a few fresh leaves of the plant. The oxalic acid content can cause irritation in the gastrointestinal tract or the formation of kidney stones . That’s why: don’t eat wood sorrel every day. Once a month is healthy. People with a tendency to kidney stone formation should not eat wood sorrel leaves: oxalic acid inhibits the absorption of calcium and promotes the formation of kidney stones.

Importance for health, treatment & prevention

Sorrel works through the skin and stomach. It supports and harmonizes the metabolism of the digestive organs and has a diuretic effect. It is also suitable as a therapy for flatulence and cramps in the abdominal area. Therefore, wood sorrel promotes mental balance, since signs of mental imbalance are usually indigestion .

We are all at the mercy of the stress of everyday life. Many new impressions and demands that we do not process immediately allow us to take in food too quickly: the result is a congestion in the stomach. If we take in sorrel and treat ourselves to a break at the same time, there will be an impulse of harmony that will help us to calm down.

In the case of restlessness, nervousness, abdominal cramps and non-specific abdominal pain, wood sorrel has a calming effect. It strengthens vitality, stimulates digestion and quenches thirst. Its use is also recommended for vegetative disorders in the stomach and intestines, for biliary and renal colic, for insect bites and sensitivity to the weather .

Wood sorrel is not suitable for injuries in the abdominal area. In the kitchen, the leaves of the sorrel can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in soups, jams and other dishes because of their sour, lemon-like taste. In some areas it is common to preserve the leaves of the sorrel in sugar as a spice for the winter.

For many years, the salt of oxalic acid was used in textile dyeing to remove stains. In addition, copper and brass could be cleaned with it. However, the salt can now be produced synthetically, which means that wood sorrel has lost its importance in this regard. Other possible uses are wood sorrel compresses such as ready-to-use compresses and fresh plant compresses.

Ready-to-use compresses can be placed directly on the skin and are ideal for on the go. The fresh leaves of wood sorrel (fresh plant compress) can also be placed directly on the skin. This is a free and effective way to use wood sorrel.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.