Yellow Dock

Curled dock has a long history of domestic herbal use. It is a gentle and safe laxative, less powerful than rhubarb in its action so it is particularly useful in the treatment of mild constipation[254]. The plant has valuable cleansing properties and is useful for treating a wide range of skin problems[254]. All parts of the plant can be used, though the root is most active medicinally. The root is alterative, antiscorbutic, astringent, cholagogue, depurative, laxative and mildly tonic[4, 21, 46, 94, 165]. It used to be sold as a tonic and laxative[212]. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present[222]. It is used internally in the treatment of constipation, diarrhoea, piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases[4, 238, 257]. Externally, the root can be mashed and used as a poultice and salve, or dried and used as a dusting powder, on sores, ulcers, wounds and various other skin problems[257]. The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic[4]. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use[4]. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis[222, 238]. The seed is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[4, 218]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested in the autumn before frost has touched the plant[232]. It is only used in the treatment of a specific type of cough[232].