This wonderful herb found in North America and Europe has a history of beneficial properties on both sides of the Atlantic. Yellow dock has been used since ancient times for many of its medicinal properties. The Native Americans valued the vast medicinal uses of yellow dock very highly. During the 19th century, American herbalists enjoyed the versatile uses of this common plant.
Part of yellow dock’s broad uses are due to its alterative, tonic and nutritive qualities. This is the essence of a holistic approach to health in that yellow dock has blood purifying characteristics which maintain many of the major organs, including the liver and gallbladder. This accelerates the restoration of the tissues so the organs can better carry out their functions, therefore improving health. It is used to help the body recuperate from illness.
Yellow dock also helps the glandular system and is found to be helpful for chronic lymphatic enlargements and low inflammatory deposits. The tea is helpful for lymph and blood problems. The astringent properties of yellow dock increase the tone or firmness of tissues and lessen mucous discharge from the nose and intestines. Another popular use for yellow dock is for the throat where it is commonly used for coughs, including dry summer coughs, chronic sore throats, other throat irritations and swollen glands.
Yellow dock is known to be beneficial to the liver, gallbladder and spleen. This herb has been used traditionally for jaundice and hepatitis with very good results. It stimulates the flow of bile which has a laxative effect. This highly nutritious herb has substantial amounts of iron, manganese, phosphorus and vitamin A. Due to the significant amount of iron in yellow dock (7.6 mg per 100 g), it has gained a reputation for assisting with anemia and nourishing the spleen.
Throughout history this amazing herb has been recommended externally for skin diseases, cuts, swelling, bleeding piles and wounds. Native Americans applied mashed yellow dock roots to cuts and crushed leaves for boils.
Some of yellow dock's properties include: alterative, astringent, cholagogue, diuretic, laxative, nutritive and tonic. It has been traditionally used for anemia, arthritis, purifying blood, dry cough, gout, hemorrhoids, lymph problems, mucous accumulations, scurvy, skin problems and swollen glands
As stated, yellow dock grows abundantly throughout North America and Europe which makes its health benefits widely available. Sometimes the most important herbs are in your back yard.
- Felter, H. & Lloyd, J. King’s American Dispensatory. Vols. 1 & 2. Eclectic Medical Publications, 1983.
- Lust, J. The Herb Book. Bantam Books, 1974.
- Santillo, H. Natural Healing With Herbs. Hohm Press, 1990.
- Wren, R.C. Potter’s New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations. C.W. Daniel Company Ltd., 1988.
From Summer 1997 Herbal Insights
<< back to articles