Yellow dock is a classic European blood cleanser, meaning that it stimulates the organs of waste removal into heightened action. It was used to clean out the system of toxins and thereby improve health.
Chapter from “Backyard Medicine Chest” by Dr. Douglas Schar
Chapter from “Thirty Plants That Can Save Your Life” by Dr. Douglas Schar
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
Chapter from “Backyard Medicine Chest” by Dr. Douglas Schar
Yellow dock Constipation
Got something stuck in your craw?
Its a toss up as to what is more unpleasant, having to run to the toilet every five minutes or only once a week. Sufferers of the two unpleasantries will have to duke it out over who is in a worse state. What is true is that neither are good as elimination of waste is a basic element in being alive and if you have problems
in either extremes, you do indeed have a problem.
Constipation globally seems to be on the rise. In the over the counter market drugs used to bring mother nature around are considered to be quite hot. Last year a 5% increase in constipation product sales in America had all the constipation product manufacturers in seventh heaven. Bearing in mind that nearly 740 million dollars were spent on the products a five percent increase represents lots of money. The British spent 34 million pounds on constipation and the message here is a lot of the industrialized world cant go to the bathroom without chemical help.
Our next plant, yellow dock, is a constipation classic, Gerard, our 16th century herbalist had a few words to spare on the subject.
“an excellent wholesome pot herb; for being put into the pottage in some reasonable quantity, it doth loosen the belly, helpeth the jaunders, the timpany and such like diseases, proceeding of cold causes. It prevaileth against the green sickness very greatly, and all or stoppings: maketh young wenches to look faire and cherrie like, and bringeth down their tearmes, the stopping whereof hath caused the same.” Not only will it loosen you belly, but if you aren’t careful you might end up looking cherry like.
Before we get into this god sent plant lets talk about the condition at hand. As if you didn’t already know what it is, lets take a look at one doctors definition of constipation, ” The retention of fecal matter beyond the normal time, attended by great difficulty in expulsion , with a sense of insufficiency .” Rolla Thomas , MD. 1920. So what are talking about is the inability to have a bowel movement.
If you look at the tail pipe of a car you will notice that fumes are pumped out through it. The care uses the gas to energize its moving about. In the conversion of gas into movement waste products are produced, the waste from the burning of the gas gets pumped out of the tail pipe and into the environment. Essentially people operate in the same manner. We take food into our engines via the mouth and as it moves along the pipes known as your innards the body takes all the energy out of the food. By the time the food reaches the bowel, the end of your engine, it has been stripped of all its nutrients. Your anus is your own private tail pipe, meant to excrete all of your waste products. If you car didn’t get the exhaust out of the engine it would explode and if you didn’t get your waste products out so would you.
Most people are a little uptight about their constipation problem and now might be a good time for some comic relief, at someone elses expense. The following is a case study from a doctor writing in the 1920′s, it involves a women who very nearly blew up from lack of proper elimination. “Mrs.O.,ages about twenty five years, mother of one child, complained of various aches and pains, but a gradual enlargement of the abdomen caused her to believe that she was pregnant, and attributed every new symptom that developed as due to her condition., and made every preparation for her confinement. As time passed , her condition grew worse and, having passed the time of her expected confinement, she grew anxious , and then alarmed, at her increased and enormous size. At this time, four months after her expected delivery date, I was called to the case.” Rolla Thomas md,1920.
I came across that one when researching constipation and thought it was to choice to leave out. Poor Mrs.O really had a constipation problem, didn’t she. The end of the story was that her physician gave her some of the plant we will use to treat our constipation and the poor women was delivered of 4 buckets of you know what. She lived to tell or perhaps not tell the story and if you have been to the toilet in the past 13 months you have nothing to worry about.
Getting back to you, clinically speaking there are two sorts of constipation, acute and chronic. Acute constipation is when not being able to go to the bathroom and eliminate is a departure from your normal routine. Say a person that normally can go without a second thought suddenly finds themselves unable to eliminate. This could be caused by nerves, change in diet,, change in water supply, say while traveling abroad. The list of possible causes for temporary constipation is quite long. Generally speaking constipation happens to everyone from time to time. With a little help this should clear up rather quickly and in fact it would generally clear itself up. This is a situation that requires caution as it can be a signal of the onset of some sort of problem.. If the constipation doesn’t clear fairly quickly the sufferer needs to see a health care provider to find out what has caused this change in routine.
There is another miserable lot, those that are chronically constipated. In speaking to my local pharmacist it became clear to me that people that suffer from constipation tend to suffer from it chronically. According to her she doesn’t see that many first time buyers of laxatives, rather the same old faces time and time again coming to get packets to get some relief from not going to the bathroom. As far as I am concerned this is a terrible situation and bespeaks the degree to which we as a species have departed from the graces of nature. People are meant to defecate and on a regular basis. There is nothing more natural than eliminating and if you dont you have a problem.
Just like a car, when the body burns fuel waste products result and defecation is one of the means the body has to get rid of these wastes. If you are not defecating you are not getting the wastes out of the body that are meant to be gotten out. I feel this retention of waste is one of the reason we see so much cancer of the lower intestinal tract. The wastes sit around the lower intestine, irritate the tissue, and if this happens long term the tissue becomes so aggravated it becomes cancerous. It would appear that constipation is one of the pleasures of the wealthy world, developing nations seem to have no problem going to the toilet on a regular basis.
Herbalists feel the rich nations have chronic constipation problems due to two factors not present in developing nations. The first is a nearly fiber free diet we eat and the second is a steady diet of stress and nervousness. The fiber found in coarse foods like whole grains and fruits and vegetables form missiles if you will that move their way through the intestinal canal and ultimate out of the system. Without these missiles materials just float about without any direction. In the industrialized nations we eat very little roughage and the lack of missiles needed to move the stuff out. Additionally our diets are loaded with constipating foods, dairy products and meat being prime offenders. Our diet results in a lot of people being constipated chronically.
On the stress side of the equation people overwrought tend to be living in a clenched state, they have a hard time relaxing and defecating requires relaxation. Most of us run around all day long and never slow down long enough for mother nature to knock, so to speak. A lot of people leave the house in the morning before their body is ready to eliminate and once they get to work the tense environment isn’t conducive for it to occur. The body ends up getting all backed up.
The message here is if you suffer from chronic constipation you have a potentially serious health problem. Retaining all those wastes isn’t good for the body and all sorts of problems can result, the most famous of course is the big C, cancer. According to my pharmacist most modern people rely on chemical laxatives rather than changing their diets and developing a more relaxed lifestyle. If you suffer from constipation all the time add fiber to your diet and slow down long enough to go to the toilet. Work on these two things before you use anything medicinal to resolve your problem.
One of the problems with chemical laxatives is that people develop a dependance on them. Their bodies wont eliminate without the taking of the laxative. This a really sad statement. The plant we will use to treat acute and or chronic constipation can be used as a substitute for the chemical preparations and can be used to wean yourself off the chemical variety if you are interested in living a more natural life.
Acute and chronic constipation can be relieved by a number of plants in the herbal pharmacopeia quite effectively. Senna pods and buckthorn are classic treatments for acute cases of constipation, their effectiveness is due to chemicals contained in the plants known as anthriquinones. These chemicals cause the muscles of the bowel to contract and the consequence is to obvious to mention. These plants and many others like them are rather harsh. Another plant containing milder versions of the same chemicals, yellow dock, is the plant we will keep in the medicine cabinet for the occasional case of constipation.
The part of yellow dock we use for the constipation problem is the root, and like the more severe herbal laxatives, the active constituents are anthrigquinones. The reddish brown roots contain anthraquinone glycosides based on nepodin,chrysophanol,phys cion, and emodin. These anthriquinones cause the bowels to contract ejecting the much missed feces out of the operative apertures.
Herbal medicines tend to be quite complex by nature, yellow dock has several hundred different chemicals contained in its root, and similarly their action tends to be complicated. Though we use yellow dock for the anthriqinones it contains, it is as well rich in tannins which have the opposite action on the GIT. The tannins moderate the actions of the anthriquinones, making it a more gentle drug.
Yellow dock is a weedy plant that can be found residing in waste locations all over the globe. Originally a native of Europe the plant was carried to the colonies and once in those locations dock helped itself to entire continents. This spread around the globe has to do with the plants incredible growing power, a garden lightweight it is not. On your next shopping trip to the garden center turn a bag of weed killer over and you will see this extremely helpful plant listed on the lynching list. People with perfect lawns despise this plant as its deep penetrating roots are hard to get out once they spike their way down into the soil.
Whereas some of the other laxative options available only force the expulsion of the long awaited stool, yellow dock improves the health of the GIT as well as get things moving. Yellow dock is considered to be a better choice as it has a wide range of actions that along with relieving constipation actually improve the health of the digestive tract. The root has the ability to increase the flow of bile from the bile producing bits, the net result being food is better digested and food is more readily absorbed by the body and easily ejected when the body is through with it.
In the past century certain plants were called “blood purifiers” as disease at that time was thought to be caused by bad or impure blood. Blood purifiers were said to cleanse the blood and thus return the body to health form. Yellow dock was one of the most famous blood purifiers from that era. One doctor writing in 1883, a certain John M.Scudder MD. had this to say about yellow dock, “Dock appear to exert its silent alterative action upon the constitution in many chronic cutaneous eruptions, as scabies, the different forms of herpes, etc,:syphilis when it has assumed a constitutional form, attended with an ulceration of the fauces, eruption, or ulceration upon the surface: also in rheumatism, cancerous tumors or ulcers, scrofula-whether manifested by a general depravation of the system, enlarged glands, or foul and indolent ulcers, or in any other forms of ulcer, especially if dependant upon some constitutional taint. In caries, necrosis , or other morbid conditions of the osseous system, in scurvy or scorbutic infections, and in numerous other abnormal states, its resolvent, depurative and detergent qualities render it an excellent auxiliary and corroborant.”
This particularly physician, an eclectic, a was in agreement with all the other eclectics working at the time. Yellow dock was considered to be a tonic, alterative, or corrective. The physicians felt it was indeed great for treating constipation, but as well it was said to improve the health of the patient, even in cases of such diseases as syphilis. Today syphilis is a minor annoyance, but in the last century without the aid of antibiotics the disease was a terminal one. Yellow dock improves the overall health as well as taking care of that constipative problem.
If the bodies functioning hinges on getting the refuse out of the body its not hard to see that if the body isn’t doing this all sorts of health problems will arise. One of the symptoms of poor health is a poor complexion-one of the side symptoms frequently encountered by chronic constipation sufferers. The toxins cannot be gotten out of the body and they end up in the skin. The skin doesn’t take to kindly to this and acts up and looks nasty. In Latin America yellow dock is the preferred treatment for people with poor complexions due to constipation. Gerard agreed with this idea entirely, “being always careful to keep a good diet: it cureth the dropsie, the yellow jaunders, all manner of itch, scabes, breaking out, and manginesse of the whole body: it purifieth the blood from all corruption”.
Heres what another physician of the day had to say about the plant, ” one of the best of remedies for giving tone and strength to the system: highly valued in crofula, syphilis, leprosy, diseases of an eruptive nature, and in all cases where the blood needs purifying.” Again we see yellow dock used for a variety of skin complaints. The old time doctors felt that poor skin always had to do with lack of proper elimination of waste. The current thinking is that yellow dock helps the body get all the toxins out of the system and thus the skin is relieved and looks happy and hearty.
Now yellow dock is a weed, it is not hard to grow, in fact it may be growing itself at this very moment somewhere in your garden. The best time to harvest the root, like cranesbill, is in the early fall just as the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. When you have dug out the root you will have a long tapering affair on your hands that needs to be taken to the kitchen and cleaned up. Once you have it sanitized clip the root into one centimeter long lengths and dry in the oven at around 200 degrees fahrenheit for twenty four hours. Once your root bits are completely dry store them in brown paper in a very dry location.
In that we have two sorts of constipation to contend with lets start first with the acute, or the occasional bout with it. Say you find yourself unable to go for a day or two and you want some relief from the sensation of being all blocked up. With the dry roots stored away you have your constipation cure on hand when you need it. Follow the instructions and soon you will be visiting the toilet.
If you suffer from chronic constipation the first thing to do is to increase your fiber intake. Consume as many fruits, vegetables, and raw grains as you can get. Avoid meat and dairy products when ever you can. These are not necessarily bad foods, just bad for people who cant go to the toilet. Try to eat a piece of fruit with each meal, preferably a stone fruit such as a plum, apricot, peach or nectarine. As much of constipation has to do with nervous tension take a cup of valerian tea before bed at night. Take some time to relax in the morning , have a little breakfast and sit around for twenty minutes. Finally, have a cup of yellow dock tea with your breakfast in place of coffee or tea. It may take a few weeks for the cure to take affect, but eventually you will have relief and an improvement in the overall function of the GIT.
Again the best news about yellow dock is that not only will it relieve your constipation problem, but it will also improve the overall functioning of your innards. The servile company supplied the world with medicinal herbs at the beginning of this century and this what they said in their sales bill dating to 1917, ” One of the best of remedies for giving tone and strength to the system; highly valued in scrofula, syphilis, leprosy, diseases of an eruptive nature, and in all cases where the blood needs purifying.” I think I will leave it at that!
Getting your supply:
1. Buy dried root at any health food shop.
2. Collect from the wild with the help of a field guide.
3. Grow it yourself, in this case, let it grow itself. If you want the people at the garden center to think you are nuts tell them that you would like to buy some yellow dock to plant at home.
Yellow dock is considered to be such a weed wherever it grows most will look at you a bit askance when they discover your plans to intentionally grow it, but who cares. When it comes to planting a patch of yellow dock you have two options, you can plant the seed or you can work with a transplanted plant. Very few places sell the plants or the seeds though some of the mail order nurseries that specialize in medicinal herb can help you out. The easiest thing to do is to get some seed and start with this. As it is the root we are going to be using, the only consideration that needs to thought about is making sure the soil is loose so they can be extracted with the minimum of work. Chop a bag of peatmoss into your soil so its light and fluffy and sow the seeds according to the instructions they come with. Basically all you have to do is spread the seed and cover it lightly with soil and water well. You will have yellow dock for days. The roots can be harvested once the plant is one year old. A word of warning, be certain to remove the seed stalks before the seeds mature and toss them in the trash. The seeds come packing with flight equipment and one good wind will insure you have a field of yellow dock at your constant disposal. The time to dig the roots is in the fall just as the leaves fall off the trees. You can dry the roots in the oven on the lowest setting and then store them in an airtight container!
Chapter from Thirty Plants That Can Save Your Life
Dock plant is a common weed found growing all over the place, usually just beside a dock. The word weed is not a nice way to address the plant, its healing powers deserve a more respectful title. If you want another look at the plant, turn to the pictures of death on the back of many commercial herbicide packages, and you will see this dear plant pictured. Most modern gardeners see this along with the dandelion and burdock as an useless weed, a big fat falsity. An outright lie might be more appropriate.
It is fair to say the plant is far from decorative, it has evergreen leaves and a flower stalk that look like anything but a flower head. The seed mass is a lovely rust color, reminiscent of a huge wad of tobacco. So not everyone can be pretty. As they say, don’t judge a book by a color. Or as I like to say, don’t judge a weed by its listing on the back of a can of herbicide. This is going to be a long entry, clip on your reading glasses.
Just like its weed-like friends, dock was once a very popular spring tonic plant, collected in the early part for its tender leaves. Here is a reference dating to 1749, Peter Kalm, had this to say on eating dock greens: “Both the Swedish and English settler are in the peing acuustome to preapre greens from various plants of which the following are the most important, rumex crispa is a kind of sorrel which grows at the edge of cultivated fields and elsewhere in rather low land. Farmers choose a variety which has green leaves instead of paale colored ones.” In many parts of the world people will tell you that when you cook meat with dock, it cooks much faster than normal. I would say this is a special feature, all the cooks on the run might want to let this plant stay on in the backyard for those occasions you have to snap together a quick dinner.
In West Virginia , dock leaves were mixed with elderberry leaves to draw the poison out of rattlesnake or copperhead bites. The other part of this treatment included killing a chicken, opening up the stomach, and applying the raw carcass on top of the plaster of dock leaves. I could go for the dock leaves, the second part of the prescription is a little knarly. Like with echinacea, dock was a snake plant, thought to assist the body work the poison of a viper’s bite out of the body.
In the colonial days dock leaves were used to treat scrofoulous sores, sore eyes, glandular swellings, and it was said to cure the itch. The leaves were bruised and mixed with butter, lard, or cream and applied to the problem area. They colonials also used the plant to treat a case of the runs, a common problem in the New World . They also said that if eaten on a regular basis, the plant would improve the eyesight.
The Mennonites were quite familiar with this dread weed, calling it halwer gaul, stating that it is the best blood purifier on the planet. They used it to treat all liver problems and the skin problems that result from the liver malfunctioning. Let us remember, when the liver is happy, the body works just fine, and when it doesn’t, say your farewells. The Arabian physicians recommend the same plant for hepatitis and poor digestion, Arabia is a long way from the Pennsylvania Dutch Country.
A homeopathic doctor had a few choice words to toss in on this topic, “There are three localities in which this remedy acts very markedly, respiratory organs, bowels, and skin. Violent, incessant cough, dry, and fatiguing, with little or no expectoration. There is perhaps no remedy under which the sensibility of the mucous membrane of the larynx and trachea become more exalted than this one. So up to this point, the plant is good for the blood, liver, stomach, skin, and the respiratory tract, could there be more? You know the answer is yes.
In South America the plant is used as a tonic and a laxative said to clean out the impurities in the body causing skin problems. The Brazilians mash the root and apply it to lymph nodes that have gotten themselves all swollen up, and was an old fashioned cancer remedy, also used to treat venereal diseases, tuberculosis, and rheumatism. The theme here is the plant helps a body that is falling apart get it together, which makes this one a prime candidate for the tonic pot.
Speaking of making tonics, yellow dock is one of the oldest ingredients put into tonic preparations. Take some time and try to figure out what Gerard had to say on the matter. I have bolded the important parts for your reading convenience. “If you take the roots of Monkes Rhubarb, and Red Madder, of each halfe a pound; Sena 4 ounces; anise seed and licorice, of each 2 ounces, scabiouse and Agrimonie, of each one handful, slice the roots of the rhubarb, bruise the anise seed and licorice, break the herbs with your hands, and put them into a stone pot called a steane, with 4 gallons of strong ale to steepe or infuse the space of 3 days; and then drinke this liquor as your ordinary drink for 3 weeks together at the least, though the longer you take it, so much the better; providing in a readinesse another steane so prepared that you may have one under another, being always careful to keep a good diet: it cureth the dropsie, the yellow jaunders, all manner of itch, scabes, breaking out, and manginesse of the whole body: it purifieth the blood from all corruption; prevaileth against the green sickness very greatly, and all oppiltions or stoppings: maketh young wenches to look faire and cherrie like, and bringeth down their tearmes, the stopping whereof hath caused the same.
I think my favorite line from that passage is “makes young wenches to look faire and cherrie like.” What do you suppose cherrie like means? I wonder if Gerard called all women wenches, do you think he called the Queen of the day a wench? I think not. But, if you want your wench to look fine, or if you are a wench and would like to look fine, this is the plant for you. Remember, a good complexion is a sign of a healthy body.
One plant that did not live in Europe that came as a real surprise to the colonials was poison ivy, and a rather unpleasant surprise at that. The old time treatment for a bad case of poison ivy, and remember, these people went to the bathroom in the woods, and got some really serious cases, was yellow dock boiled with vinegar and applied to the sores, and also yellow dock tea drunk on a regular basis.
Here’s a list of uses the plant has had in the past:
- The Paiute and Shoshones tribes used the plant for bruises, burns, swelling, and veneral disease
- The Navajo used yellow dock for cutaneous and oral sores
- The Tarahumara tribe used it for skin lesions, especially sores on legs and feet.
- Africans use it to treat anthrax, scrofula, herpes, nausea.
- Asian Indians use root juice for toothache, powdered roots for gingivosis and as a dentifrice. The rhizome is used for laryngitis.
- Brazilians apply root decoction externally in adenopathy, internally as an antiscorbutic, deputative, febrifuge, and tonic. The herb is also used for anemia, anthrax, cancer, diarrhea, eczema, fever, itch, leprosy, malaria, rheumatism, ringworm, syphilis, tuberculosis, urticaria.
- Taiwanese use Rumex in vapor baths to relieve the eyes and ulcers.
- Americans use yellow dock to heal wounds, take down the swelling of lymph nodes, and as a tonic.
- The gypsies drink yellow dock tea as a treatment for a bad case of hemorrhoids.
- The Maoris chew the leaf and apply it to wounds, which are then bound with a bandage, the result is said to be a wound with no apparent scare.
- The New Mexicans of mixed Spanish Indian descent use the plant to treat diarrhea and general failing of the health.
- The Chinese use the plant to treat infections, constipation, and skin diseases.
- The Pakistanis use the plant to treat fever, stimulate the appetite, and as a strong diuretic.
Well, as you can see, the plant is used to treat just about whatever ails you. I think a group of herbalists summed it up best in a catalogue where the plant was offered for sale, the year is 1917. “One of the best of remedies for giving tone and strength to the system; highly valued in scrofula, syphilis, leprosy, diseases of an eruptive nature, and in all cases where the blood needs purifying. Used in ointment for the itch and indolent glandular tumors.” The overall conclusion is that this plant is one of the best.
On a scientific level, scientists feel that Herbal extracts may inhibit Escherichia, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus. The conclusion is that the plant contains several microbial agents capable of killing off nasty little bacteria that could put you out of the game for a bit.
Now, this plant you can buy, collect, or just let it grow in your garden when it shows up, which it always does. The plant is evergreen and the leaves are the part you want to use in your tonic, so gather them whenever you want or need some. Remember, the fresher it is, the better it is.
It seems we have come to the close of our plant descriptions, and it is now time to move on to making the tonic, which is the simple part. I hope this walk down memory lane has filled your mind with information lost, and has you all pumped up to be well and stay well. Isn’t it amazing all there is to know about the plants that surround us on a daily basis? Think of all the plants we have been walking around and never knew how intensely good they might be for the old machinery.
Notes from the Eclectic Physicians
1854; King J; (Materia Medica) – RUMEX CRISPUS
Properties and Uses – The dock-roots are alterative, tonic, mildly astringent, and detergent, and are eminently useful in scorbutic, cutaneous, scrofulous, scirrhous, and syphilitic affections, leprosy, elephantiasis, etc.; for which purpose we prefer the Rumex Crispus . The fresh root bruised in cream, lard, or fresh butter, forms an excellent ointment for scrofulous ulcers, scrofulous ophthalmia, itch, and a discutient for indolent glandular tumors. An ointment of the root of R. Crispus , and the root-bark of Celastrus Scandens , with gunpowder, is said to form a certain cure for the itch, as well as being of value in other cutaneous diseases, and ulcers. The powdered root is recommended as a dentifrice, especially when the gums are spongy. Dose of the decoction or syrup, from one to four fluidounces, three times a day.
Preparation – Prepare a tincture from the fresh root, 3viij. to Alcohol 76degree Oj. Dose gtts. x. to 3j.
We employ Rumex in cases of bad blood with disease of the skin; in these cases it is certainly one of the most valuable alteratives we have. In these cases we not only use it internally, but as a local application. In scrofulous disease, with deposit in glands and cellular tissue, with tendency to break down and feeble repair, I think the Rumex unequaled; here also, we use it internally and locally.
Dr. Hale reports cases of dyspepsia, with sensations of fullness and pressure in pit of stomach, pain in the chest, etc., cured by Rumex. Dr. Dunham employed it in catarrhal affections of the larynx, trachea and bronchia with advantage. I have used it in chronic sore throat with free secretion, and in broncorrhoea with good results.
The general action of the remedy is to increase waste and improve nutrition.
1883: Scudder: (alterative)
Preparations – Infusion of Rumex. Tincture of Rumex.
Dose – Of the tincture, from five drops to one drachm.
Therapeutic Action- Yellow-dock is alterative, tonic, astringent and discutient.
Many species of the Dock are employed for medicinal purposes, and are said to possess analogous properties. The species mostly used in this country are the R. Crispus, R. Obteinfolius, R. Aquaticus, R. Britanica, and R. Sanguineus. Of these, the crispus and obtusifolius have been mostly employed by the Eclectic School of Medicine, and, we believe, by physicians generally throughout the United States .
Dock appears to exert its silent alterative action upon the constitution in many chronic cutaneous eruptions, as scabies the different forms of herpes, etc.; syphilis when it has resumed a constitutional form, attended with an ulceration of the fauces, eruption, or ulceration upon the surface; also in mercurio-syphilitic disorders, mercurial cachexy, rheumatism, cancerous tumors, or ulcers, scrofula – whether manifested by a general depravation of the system, enlarged glands, or foul and indolent ulcers – or in any other forms of ulcer, especially if dependent upon some constitutional taint. In caries, necrosis, or other morbid conditions of the osseous system, in scurvy or scorbutic affections, and in numerous other abnormal states, its resolvent, depurative and detergent qualities render it an excellent auxiliary and corroborant.
Chronic skin diseases with bad blood, a valuable alterative.
1895: Watkins: RUMEX DRISP, SP MED:
Swelling in groin, deposits in glands and cellular tissues, feeble recuperative energy, syphilis, persistent dry cough, pyrexia, weight and fullness in chest, summer cough, chronic sore throat. Five drops to one half drachm every four hours.
1898: Felter and Lloyd – RUMEX (U.S.P.) – RUMEX
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage – The dock roots are decidedly alterative, tonic, mildly astringent, and detergent, and are eminently useful in scorbutic, cutaneous, scrofulous, scirrhous and syphilitic affections, leprosy, elephantiasis, etc.; for which purpose we prefer the Rumex crispus, which is principally employed for its alterative and tonic influences in all cases where these are desired. Preparations from old material are worthless, but very efficient medicines are produced from the green root. The drug induces retrograde metamorphosis, increases innervation, and improves nutrition. In bad blood with skin disorders it is exceedingly efficient, acting decidedly upon the glandular system, removing chronic lymphatic enlargements, and especially influencing those conditions in which there is a tendency to indolent ulcerations and low inflammatory deposits. The most direct indication for its use is a scrofulous condition with low deposits in the cellular tissues and glands with a tendency to break down and but little tendency to repair. It should be used both locally and internally. Small doses of specific rumex are useful in nervous dyspepsia, with epigastric fullness and pain, an daching or darting pain in the left chest, with flatulent distension of the stomach and eructations of gas. It is said to check painless watery diarrhoeal discharges. Rumex is employed for “cough with a sensation of fullness in the chest, with sighing, yawning, and efforts to take a full inspiration”. It is most valuable in respiratory affections showing impoverished and vitiated blood. It may be employed in laryngeal, tracheal, and bronchial catarrh, and in chronic sore throat with hypersecretion, and is not without good effects in incipient phthisis. Summer coughs, of a dry and stubborn character have yielded to it (Webster). The fraction of the drop acts best here. Internally in doses of from 1/10 to 1/6 drop specific rumex may be employed for the relief of army itch (contagious prurigo).
The fresh root bruised in cream, lard, or fresh butter, forms an excellent ointment for scrofulous ulcers, scrofulous ophthalmia, itch, and a discutient for indolent glandular tumors. An ointment of the root of R. crispus, and the root-bark of Celastrus scandens, with gunpowder, is said to prove a certain cure for the itch, as well as being of value in other cutaneous diseases and ulcers. Its efficacy (of the ointment) in itch is probably chiefly due to the sulhur in the gunpowder. The powdered root is recommended as a dentifrice, especially when the gums are spongy. Dose of the decoction or syrup, from 1 to 4 fluid ounces, 3 times a day; specific rumex, fraction of a drop to 30 drops.
1898: Webster(Lymphatic System)
Yellow dock is one of the best alteratives possessed by any school of medicine, and its most valuable properties doubtless depend upon its action on the lymphatic.
I am satisfied that this agent has never recieved the attention that it deserves as a remedy for dyscreasias depending on deficient action of the lymphatic glandular system. It is almost worhtles as sually found in the drug market, and we have but one reliable from in commerce, viz.,the specific medicine; but the plant grows almost everywhere, and it is an easy matter for the practitioner, from Maine to California, to gather it and dispese a fresh preparation.
The green root affords a preparation, tincture or infusion, whic is unexcelled in chronic cutaneous affections depending upon faulty glandular action, as well as in chronic enlargement of the lymphatic glands. In afections of these organs where faulty elaboration of the blood is attended by indolent ulcerative or other chronic inflammatory conditions, this agent will be found a potent one. It assists retrograde metamorphisis and the building of better tissue, invigorating the vegetable system as well.
Form of administration: the specific medicine or an infusion or decoction of the fresh root.
Dose: of the specific medicine fifteen or twenty drops three or four times a day. The infusion may be given in doses of a wineglassful as often, while the decoction may be about a tablespoonful at the same intervals.
1898: Webster(Digestive System)
Yellow dock is a good remedy in nervous dyspepsia with pain in the epigastric region, aching in the left chest or shooting pains in that region, accompanied with fiatalence and eructations. It is especially indicated as a dyspepsia remedy where the pains radiate to the left pectoral region.
It also relieves diarrhoea and dysentery, where the discharges are water and not very painful.
Form for Administration- The 3x dilution of the specific medicine.
Dose-Add a teaspoonful to four ounces of water and give a teaspoonful every hour.
1901 : Harvey W Felter (Appendix) – RUMEX – YELLOW DOCK
BOTANICAL ORIGIN – The root of Rumex crispus , Linne. Nat. Ord., Polygonaceae. A common weed, introduced from Europe , found in waste places, among rubbish, and in cultivated grounds.
Rumex crispus is decidedly alterative, and may be used for all purposed for which alteratives are employed. In those conditions depending upon blood depravity, giving rise to skin disorders, it is very efficient, as it is also in glandular enlargements, bubonic swellings, and tendency to indolent ulcers. There are deposits of low material in the tissues, with tendency to breaking down of the latter, andbut little disposition to repair. It checks painless watery diarrhoea, and relieves nervous dyspepsia, with epigastric fullness, and pectoral pain from gaseous distension of the stomach. It is an admirable remedy for cough when the blood is vitiated or impoverished. In some cases the cough is dry, in others abundant secretion attends it. The selection of the drug depends more upon the blood dyscrasia than upon character of the cough. The dose of specific rumex is from 1 to 30 drops.
1905: Neiderkorn: sp.med.rumex
Chronic skin diseases, with bad blood, glandular and cellular deposite with a tendency to ulcerate. dose: ten to twenty drops every three to four hours.
Chronic diseases of the skin, asthenic forms diarrhea and dysentery;scrofula syphilis.
Dock appears to exert is silent alterative action upon the constitution in may chronic cutaneous eruptions as scabies the different forms of herpes, etc;syphilis, when it has assumed a constitutional form, attended with an ulceration of the fauces, eruptions, or ulceration upon the surface; also in mercurial syphilitic disorders, mercurial cachexy, rheumatism, cancerous tumors or ulcers, scrofula, whether manifest by a general depravation of the system , enlarged glands or fouls and indolent ulcers or in any other forms of ulcer, especially if dependant upon some constitutional taint. in caries, necrosis or other morbid conditions of the osseus system, in scurvy or scorbutic affection us in in numerous other abnormal states, its resolvent , depurative and detergent qualities render it an excellent auxiliary and corroborant.
1919: Ellingwood: RUMEX CRISPUS: RUMEX
Synonym – Yellow dock.
Constituents – Chrysophanic acid, tannin, gum, starch. The petioles of the leaves contain nearly one per cent of oxalic acid.
Preparations – Extractum Rumicis Fluidum. Fluid Extract of Rumex. Dose, from ten to sixty minims. Specific Rumex. Dose, from five to thirty minims.
Therapy – The alterative properties of this agent are underestimated. It is a renal depurant and general alterative of much value when ulceration of mucous surfaces or disease of the skin results from impure blood. It acts directly in its restorative influence, purifying the blood, removing morbific material, and quickly cures the disease conditions. It is valuable in ulcerative stomatitis, in nursing sore mouth, an din ulceration of the stomach with great lack of tone, combined with quercus or other tonic astringent, it has no equal in these conditions. It has cured exceedingly persistent cases of exhaustive morning diarrhoea, the discharges being very frequent between six and twelve o’clock. It has been used also in the treatment of syphilis an dscrofula with good results.
Dr. Vassar of Ohio believes that Yellow Dock is the best remedy known to prevent the inroads made by cancer on the human system. It is also valuable in necrosis, scrofula, and tuberculosis. I have mentioned the fact that this remedy will absorb iron from the soil very rapidly and carry a much larger proportion than normal, thus rendering the iron organic. Dr. Vassar knew of a blacksmith who raised Yellow Dock root, cultivating it in a soil which he kept constantly saturated with the washing from his coolin gtubs, and scattered all the iron filings and rust over it. Ellingwood’s Therapeutist has often called attention to this property of yellow dock and to the positive tonic and alterative influence exercised by it when so saturated with iron.
The above statement of the doctor’s is the only one I have been able to find from any but foreign writers that emphasizes the power of yellow dock in extracting iron from the soil. It is possible that other inorganic medicines can be made organic in larger quantities by being artificially forced through the growth and development of plants in the natural exercise of their vital powers. The doctor thinks that the preservation of an absolutely normal cell condition of the human body if possible will prevent the development of cancer. He uses Yellow Dock hypodermically and thinks that there are mild early cases of cancer that can be cured with this remedy alone.
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