As the earth starts to warm up and the land magically reappears from its white blanket, I like to stroll around our land to see what was peeking up from the earth. I give particular pause to my medicinal garden. I generally give free range to the plants that want to share our land but choose who stays in the garden. It’s fair since there are acres and acres for all the herbs to occupy. I only have 10’x 8’ piece of land where I invite only a few of my beloved herbs.

Every year, different herbs try to make their way into the garden; some get to stay, while others are evicted. I try to start early in the spring, in hopes they don’t get comfortable or establish themselves too deeply in the garden. Yellow Dock (Rumex spp.) loves my garden. I think dock is the perfect name for it, because once it moves in and has “docked” in your garden it’s almost impossible to eradicate; nonetheless, I try every year.

digging Dock up

Digging up Yellow Dock, only about half way there.

My favorite tool for removing Yellow Dock is a pitchfork. Susun Weed suggests that it is best to start in the east, and then move in all four directions. Plunge the pitchfork in and rock it back and forth, continue until you have loosened the soil all around the root and then use a spade to remove the loosen soil.  As a rule, the roots are at least 12 inches or more in length and about 1 inch thick, sometimes, however, they extend 2 to 3 feet, making it necessary to dig by hand for quite a while. When attempting to remove Dock, one must have a lot of time and patience as it goes down very deep.

Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect Yellow Dock, but it does perfectly fine elsewhere on the land. I was first introduced to Yellow Dock during my pregnancy and experiencing anemia. Yellow Dock is one of the best organic sources of iron available. It is an excellent tonic during pregnancy as its roots contain biochelated iron along with other vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals help with iron absorption. As a vegetable source of iron, it is easier to digest and absorbed, instead of promoting constipation as other sources of iron can do, it relieves it. It is definitely an ally during pregnancy, as it’s a blood-enriching tonic, eases digestive problems and helps eliminate constipation, indigestion and gas. It’s also high in calcium.

Yellow Dock is a gentle laxative that helps your body produce more bile to break down the fatty foods you eat. It improves the flow of bile and other digestive juices and contains low levels of anthraquinone glycosides, which stimulates the secretion of water into the intestines; both functions encourage a laxative effect. It also helps reduce the amount of irritation and inflammation in your bowels. Yellow Dock has diuretic properties, which help increase urine production and helps the body eliminate toxins.  Both laxative and diuretic properties make it an amazing and gentle way for the body to remove toxins, which is very helpful to the body’s overall health.  It is fantastic for occasional bouts of constipation, such as when traveling or taking pain relievers. However, is should not be taken long-term. If you suffer from persistent constipation, it is best to seek medical attention.

Since Yellow dock is a laxative and a diuretic it can decrease potassium in the body. It is important to remember that a “water pill” can also decrease potassium in the body. Taking Yellow Dock along with “water pills” might excessively decrease potassium in the body. Some “water pills” that can decrease potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide and (HCTZ, Hydrodiuril, Microzide). Therefore, it’s best to be wise and not take with these “water pills.”

Most herbalists prefer to use roots that have been harvested in the fall after the plant has gone to seed and the vital energy is most concentrated within after being sent down into the root. Early spring is also an acceptable time, the earlier the better, before many leaves and the stem has started to grow. As I was digging up the Dock, the aroma was amazing. The minute the root was released from the ground, I could smell the powerful medicine. The pungent scent and bitter taste is very easy to recall from the first time I took it when I was pregnant. The root is a beautiful yellow, between the color and scent there is no mistaking Yellow Dock. I did a fairly decent job removing the Yellow Dock and decided to tincture half of it and dry the rest for later use. Within a day of tincturing, the menstruum had turned a beautiful orange glow, the combination of the yellow roots and orange reminded me of an up side down Tequila Sunrise.

Yellow Dock tincture

Yellow Dock tincture

What do you like in your garden? Please share and I will continue to share.

All information is shared for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.