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Common Name: Red Dock
Rumex aquaticus is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.80 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[
Europe, including Britain but absent from Italy and the Balkans, to N. Asia.
Shallow water at the margins of swamps[
]. Fields, meadows and ditches[
A plant of shallow water[
Leaves - cooked[
The root is alterative, astringent, cholagogue, deobstruent, depurative, detergent, laxative and mildly tonic[
]. It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present[
]. It is used internally in the treatment of piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases[
]. Externally, it is applied to various skin diseases, ulcers etc[
The root has been used with positive effect to restrain the inroads made by cancer, being used as an alterative and tonic[
]. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use[
]. Some caution is advised in its use since excess doses can cause gastric disturbance, nausea and dermatitis[
Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots of many species in this genus, They do not need a mordant[
The dried and powdered root has a cleansing and detergent affect on the teeth[
Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ.
Division in spring.