Medicinal plants

Sorrel – Application & Treatment for Health


The sorrel is a popular wild and medicinal herb with a high vitamin C content, known as a salad spice and valued for its healing properties, especially for gastric and intestinal catarrh. Finely dosed in teas, sauces and salads, it shines with its sour-spicy taste.

Occurrence & cultivation of sorrel

The sorrel gets its name from the Middle High German word “amper”, which translates as “shudder, sharp, bitter”. The knotweed plant is a representative of the plant genus Rumex with around 130 to 200 different species worldwide.

It occurs mainly on damp meadows, swampy pastures, on farms, on roadsides or on rubble throughout Central Europe. Some species grow at altitudes of 1600 or even up to 2000 m. It prefers nutrient-rich locations, loamy-clayey soils and waterlogging.

The medicinal herb has a perennial, perennial and herbaceous growth habit. The dock grows in large, lanceolate and fleshy leaves that are arranged alternately. In contrast to the upper leaves, the basal leaves are entire, long-stalked with a mostly lance-shaped leaf base. A distinguishing feature is the clear median vein of the leaves. Curled dock sprouts up to 1.50 m high stalks with smaller leaves and green flowers in branchy pseudoclusters.

Roman dock, on the other hand, grows to a height of around 15 to 50 cm. The root system extends vertically and particularly deep into the soil. The sorrel species can easily be confused with each other and with other knotweed plants. Depending on the species, the collection time varies from April to May and July to August or October. It is popularly known as a large dock , lettuce , sorrel , sour knotweed and meadow sorrel .

Effect & Application

In modern herbal medicine, the curly and blunt-leaved dock and the sorrel are known as remedies. The leaves and seeds, the fresh plant sap and the dried roots are used for application. The plant components should be selected depending on the type of knotweed plant. The root of the curly dock ( Rumex crispus ) has a laxative, blood-cleansing, bile-stimulating and detoxifying effect.It is also particularly suitable for skin problems such as acne and eczema or against fungal infections and arthritic complaints . The roots are dug up, cleaned and crushed in autumn. They should be stored in a shady place and below 40°C. The leaves have a higher oxalate content and contain more oxalic acid. If you have gout and kidney stones or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, treatment is not advisable.

Poisoning in humans and animals causes vomiting , diarrhea and difficulty swallowing . In homeopathy , mainly medicines for respiratory infections and skin rashes are made from components of the curly dock . The sorrel ( Rumex acetosa ) and its leaves, on the other hand, are said to have a diuretic, blood-forming and cleansing as well as anti-inflammatory and expectorant effect. They are used to treat digestive problems , skin diseases, menstrual problems and anemia .To do this, the young leaves are cut off above the ground shortly before flowering, pour hot water over them fresh or dried and leave to infuse for ten minutes. The tea can be drunk or used externally. Another possible application is envelopes made from crushed leaves. Tea made from sorrel seeds is considered a remedy for worms. However, taking larger amounts (>15g) is not advisable here either, in order to counteract poisoning.

In conjunction with other medicinal plants such as elderberry and cowslip , sorrel herb has been proven to help against inflammation of the respiratory tract and sinus infections . The leaves of the dull-leaved dock ( Rumex obtusifolius ) or scabroot taste spicy and go well in the kitchen. They are said to have a laxative, astringent, tonic, blood-cleansing and blood-forming effect, similar to sorrel. The root has a lower oxalate content and is used as a laxative . The tannin-rich seeds of the sorrel are effective against diarrhea.

Importance for health, treatment & prevention

Dock generally contains vitamin C , oxalic acid, potassium bioxalate, iron , flavone glycosides, tannins, tannic acid, and hyperosides. In addition , it is rich in fiber , vitamins A and B6 , magnesium , calcium and potassium as well as proteins . The combination of these ingredients makes the sorrel a universally applicable active ingredient. Red blood cells are formed due to a high iron content .The general oxygen content in the body increases, organs are better supplied and the high potassium content also ensures a relieved cardiovascular system . The high vitamin C content, similar to that of a lemon, stimulates the immune system . The formation of white blood cells is stimulated, which means that pathogens are better defended against. Spring fatigue and even scurvy are counteracted in this way. The sorrel is generally said to have a refreshing and energizing effect.

The plant, known as a weed in agriculture, and its leaves and roots also have a beneficial effect on digestion. Flatulence , constipation and diarrhea can be noticeably reduced by a high fiber content. Sorrel root is a natural laxative. In addition, the dietary fibers ensure a lower cholesterol level and consequently a healthy heart. Sorrel contains a lot of fiber, but few calories and fat.

Already known in antiquity and in the Middle Ages for its cleansing and astringent effect, sorrel is also used in modern herbal medicine to treat skin impurities such as pimples or wounds and insect bites . Whole leaves or compresses with infusions are placed directly on the affected areas.

The pharmaceutical industry and veterinary medicine uses dock ingredients as components of many products in combination with other medicinal plants. With regard to a moderately strong allergic potency, sorrel should be avoided by allergy sufferers .

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.