Curly Dock or Yellow dock
A little about curly dock:
Common Name: Curly Dock
Scientific Name: Rumex crispus
Family: Buckwheat/Smartweed Family (Polygonaceae)
Other Common Names: Curled Dock, Yellow Dock, Yaller Dock, Sour Dock,
Bitter Dock, Bloodwort, Coffee-weed, Garden-patience, Narrowdock, Out-sting,
Flower Color: Green
Habitat: Fields, highway ditches, waste grounds, disturbed soils,
riverbanks, found coast to coast in North America
General Bloom Dates: June - September
Caution do not let sheep eat curly or yellow dock it can kill
The tiny green
flowers grow in dense heads up a spire. Each flower has six sepals that are
light green/white/pink in color. Curly dock is a biennial plant, which means it
takes two years to reach the flowering stage.
Alternate. The leaves have a coarse texture and wavy leaf margins with
noticeably curled edges. Small veins curve out towards the edge of the leaf and
then back in towards the central vein. Older leaves have a red primary vein. At
the base of the stalk there is a basal rosette of leaves. The leaves grow in a
circular pattern and are long (up to 2 ft) and narrow (3 1/2 in wide). There is
a papery sheath that covers the seed and the leaf axil, a common characteristic
of the Buckwheat family.
The winged seeds are dark brown. Seed wings are described as triangular shaped
or heart shaped. There are up to 40,000 seeds per plant!
The plant grows 3-5 feet tall. New growth can be observed in the spring
alongside last year's brown stalks. The new plant is green, 12 - 18 inches high
with wavy green leaves.
Taproots are long, stout, and yellow. A plant can regenerate from only the
- EDIBLE PARTS:
Leaves, flowers and seeds. HARVEST TIME:
Only collect plants from areas you know have NOT been treated with pesticides.
Gather leaves during early spring through early summer. Gather flowers during
spring and summer. SAFE HANDLING
PROCEDURES: Wash edible parts thoroughly
with warm water. Do not use dish detergent or any type of sanitizer. These
products can leave a residue. Use fresh in salads. Or, add leaves to soups and
stews. Steep into a liquid that can be used to create a lemonade-type drink.
Leaves can also be used to stuff fish. As leaves mature, they lose their
sourness. To freeze, blanch for one minute, drain, pat dry and pack in plastic
bags. Use flowers in salads or cooked. Seeds (collected during spring through
summer) are very small but can be ground into meal. Boiling the seeds adds a red
color and variety to liquids or soups. SOURCE: Larson, Ken. 1995. God's Free
Harvest, Rhema Publishing, Inc., Suwanee, GA. 231 pp.
- For Rumex crispus, Curly dock: EDIBLE
PARTS: Edible as cooked greens in limited quantities; cook in 2 waters and add
baking soda to neutralize acid. HARVEST TIME: Use young leaves in early spring.
SAFE HANDLING PROCEDURES: Cook leaves in small amount of water for about 10
minutes. If too bitter, change water 2-3 times. SOURCE: Elias, T.S. and P.A.
Dykeman. 1982. Field Guide to North American Edible Wild Plants. Outdoor Life
Books, New York, 286 pp. Peterson, L. 1978. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants.
Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 330 pp.
HOW IT WORKS IN THE BODY
The presence of anthraquinones in yellow
dock enables the herb to function as a laxative. In fact, yellow dock is mainly
prescribed by herbal medicine practitioners for its laxative and cleansing
properties. The anthraquinones invigorate the colon which in the process helps
to throw out the waste and toxins from the body. It may be noted here that any
substance that has laxative property also helps in cleansing the system when
taken in small proportions. However, when they are taken in large doses they act
as purgatives leading to peristalsis (causing a rippling motion of muscles in
the intestine) and gripping
Nevertheless, when yellow dock is taken in the right doses, it acts gently and
helps to alleviate constipation. In addition, the yellow dock is also beneficial
for the digestive system. When mixed with other herbs, yellow dock is also
useful in assisting the liver, removing toxins from the skin as well as healing
ailments like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Yellow dock also acts as a cleansing
agent in the musculoskeletal system where there is regular accumulation of
toxins owing to constipation.
Things you can so with it...
important next to using the leaves and roots, is making flour with the
is very much like buckwheat flour and super good for you.
- Once the seeds have turned brown
harvest them and make sure you pick out anything that is not seed. i.e.
bugs, rocks, grass, whatever it maybe.
- It is super easy to make flour, get
your blender out and pulse the seeds till they become flour. If you
are not using the flour that day consider storing in the fridge or
freezer. Use in the same way you use whole buck wheat flour...trust
me they make yummy pancakes.
Fermented Curly Dock Leaves
large handfuls of young curly dock leaves
1 T salt(5ml)
1 clean quart-sized Mason jar
your curly dock leaves well. Take a clean quart sized canning jar and place
rolled leaves into jar.
salt to roughly 3 cups of water and pour over curly dock leaves, leaving at
least 1 inch of headspace in the jar.
leaves down to the bottom of the jar, and if they float to the top you will need
to weight them down.
leaves need to be submerged below liquids, otherwise mold will form! Cover
tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days, then transfer to cold
storage (refrigerator or root cellar).
Slowly boil the roots until
half the water has evaporated. Strain and melt the honey in the liquid, heating
slowly. Keep this syrup cool: it's ideal in the fall for treating respiratory
ailments. Take 1 t (5 ml), 3 times daily, as a pectoral, and laxative syrup.
Now I know this is not a
traditional root beer. Traditional root beer is brewed with yeast, is mildly
alcoholic — and can be tricky to make. This recipe will give you a root beer
flavored syrup that tastes amazing, is stable in the fridge for a year, and
needs only seltzer water or club soda to become a wonderful homemade root
When you make your root beer,
start with a tablespoon of this syrup to a pint of seltzer water.
You can adjust the strength
of your drink from there.
Makes 2 quarts.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
6 cups of water
3 ounces of sassafras roots
1 ounce of curly or yellow
¼ cup molasses
1 star anise
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 drops wintergreen extract
or peppermint extract
6 cups sugar
Run the sassafras and
burdock roots in a food processor until they become small pieces into small
pieces, about ½ inch or smaller.
Put the roots in a
medium-sized heavy pot with the clove, star anise and coriander seeds and
cover with the water. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer this for
Add the molasses and simmer
another 5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add
the wintergreen or peppermint extract. Put the cover back on the tea.
When the mixture cools,
strain it though cheesecloth to remove any debris.
Return it to the pot with
an equal amount of sugar. Stir to combine.
Bring it to a simmer and
cook it for 5 minutes, uncovered.
Pour into sterile quart
mason jars and seal.
Keeps a year in the fridge.
Caution do not let sheep eat curly or yellow dock it can kill them.
milk comes from cows
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