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Autumn | Yellow Dock


Meet Yellow Dock, considered by many to be an invasive weed  but whose young leaves and seeds are edible and are enjoyed as spring and winter staples in many parts of the world.

You might know some of her other names such as curled dock, sour dock, narrow leaf dock or Rumex crispus



This video at the bottom of this page is also available to watch on YouTube and Vimeo.

Yellow dock is considered by many to be an invasive weed

that they struggle to get rid of once it takes root in their garden.

How differently they might feel if they knew what a useful food and medicine plant it is!

Yellow dock, also called curly dock, can be identified by its long green leaves and wavy leaf margins.

It could be confused with horseradish as that also has wavy leaf margins

but that is much rarer to find in parks, so you are less likely to come across it,

it's also more massive-looking than yellow dock
and it's root, should you get that far to digging it up, is white

unlike yellow dock which has a vibrantly mango-coloured yellow-orange root.

Yellow dock belongs to the Buckwheat family

- its young leaves and seeds are edible

and are enjoyed as spring and winter staples in many parts of the world.

You can also identify clumps of yellow dock by the dried old flower

and seed stems that remain standing tall,

dried and rust-coloured throughout the winter and into the following year.

For medicinal purposes, we use the root

and it's best to use roots which are at least 1 year old

the presence of those old browned stems will tell you

that the plant has been there for at least the past year.

Yellow dock root is a very useful remedy for conditions that affect the skin

due to inefficient digestive and liver function,

and especially if you suffer from constipation.

And by the way, if you don't go for a poo every day - you're constipated!

Itchy skin, acne, and eczema are all conditions

which might benefit from yellow dock.

Yellow dock is also a good source of iron.

To prepare yellow dock, first find your yellow dock plant

and dig up the root.

It is usually very long and can be quite a challenge

to unearth the whole thing!

Once you have got your root and cleaned it thoroughly, chop it up finely.

Lay the chopped roots on a baking tray, one layer deep,

and place in an oven on very low heat for at least 2 hours

until the roots are completely dried (though not burned).

Store the roots in a clean glass jar and label.

To make a decoction of the roots, take a good amount of the dried root

place in a pot, add 2 cups of water, cover with a lid, and bring to the boil.

Turn it down slightly and let simmer for at least 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat, strain and drink while warm.

It will be very bitter but try to drink it without adding any sweetener, natural or otherwise

it's bitterness is it's medicine!