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Yellow dock (Rumex crispus)

Generic Name: Rumex


Herbs & Supplements


Curled dock, curley dock, curly dock, Polygonaceae (family), Rumex crispus, Rumex obtusifolius, yellow dock root.


Yellow dock is often described as helping strengthen the blood; however, very few laboratory or human studies have been conducted to confirm this traditional use.

Yellow dock is one of the original plants in the Native American anticancer herbal formula now known as Essiac®. In some versions of Essiac® yellow dock is substituted for the sheep's sorrel.

The roots have been taken internally to build healthy blood, protect the liver, or act as an antifungal or laxative. As a seed tea, yellow dock may heal mouth sores and help diarrhea. Externally, yellow dock has been used to dissolve lumps and as an antitumor and antifungal. Yellow dock root (herb and salad green) is an astringent that has been banned in Canada.


DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.


WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Acne, anemia, antifungal, anorexia, arthritis, choleretic (bile flow stimulant), blood purifier (tonic), cancer, candidal infection (rash), chronic fatigue syndrome, common cold, constipation, cramps, detoxification, diarrhea, energy booster, exhaustion, hepatitis, high cholesterol, inflammatory skin disorders (eczema, psoriasis), laxative, lymphatic disorders, menopause, mouth sores, oral hygiene, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), skin conditions (dark circles under the eyes), tonic (liver).


Adults (18 years and older):

There is no proven safe or effective dose for yellow dock in adults. Herbalists have recommended the roots and seeds daily for up to 12 months. As a tincture of the fresh roots, 10-60 drops has been used (20 drops, two or three times a day). A fresh root vinegar preparation (1-2 tablespoons or 30 milligrams) has also been used. Based on expert opinion, no more than one cup (250 milligrams) of the dried seed tea should be taken per day.

Children (younger than 18 years):

There is no proven safe or effective dose for yellow dock in children.


DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.


Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to yellow dock or its constituents. Individuals allergic to ragweed pollen may also be allergic to yellow dock pollen.

Side Effects and Warnings

There are very few available reports on the safety of yellow dock. A report exists of a fatal poisoning, with liver and kidney poisoning, after the consumption of large quantities of the leaves (several hundred grams). Use cautiously in patients with compromised renal (kidney) or hepatic (liver) function.

Yellow dock contains anthraquinones, which act as laxatives. Anthraquinone laxative abuse may be associated with colon cancer.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Yellow dock is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Based on expert opinion, pregnant women should not ingest harsh laxatives. Yellow dock is thought to fall into this category, perhaps due to the anthraquinone content. However, other herbal experts have recommended yellow dock in pregnancy because of its iron content, although this has not been proven in clinical trials.

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