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Uses

Toxic parts

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[1].

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves - raw or cooked[2][3][4][5][6]. A delicious lemon-like flavour, most people consider them too strong to use in quantity, but they are excellent as a flavouring in mixed salads[K]. The leaves should only be used in small quantities due to the oxalic acid content. The leaves can be used as thickeners in soups etc[7], they can also be dried for later use[3].

Root - cooked. It can be dried, ground into a powder and made into noodles[8]. Seed - raw or cooked[9]. Easy to harvest, but the seed is rather small and fiddly to use[K].

A drink similar to lemonade (but without the fizz) is made by boiling up the leaves[7].

Unknown part

Leaves

Material uses

Dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots, they do not need a mordant[10].

Unknown part

Dye

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Sheep's sorrel is a detoxifying herb, the fresh juice of the leaves having a pronounced diuretic effect[11]. Like other members of the genus, it is mildly laxative and holds out potential as a long term treatment for chronic disease, in particular that of the gastro-intestinal tract[11]. The plant is also part of a North American formula called essiac which is a popular treatment for cancer. Its effectiveness has never been reliably proven or disproven since controlled studies have not been carried out. The other herbs included in the formula are Arctium lappa, Ulmus rubra and Rheum palmatum[11].

The whole plant, used in the fresh state, is diaphoretic, diuretic and refrigerant[12]. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers, inflammation and scurvy[12]. The leaf juice is useful in the treatment of urinary and kidney diseases[2]. A leaf poultice is applied to tumours, cysts etc, and is a folk treatment for cancer[12].

A tea made from the roots is astringent and is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and excessive menstrual bleeding[12].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow autumn or spring in situ. Division in spring.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Rumex acetosella. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Succeeds in most soils[13], preferring a moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in a sunny position[14]. Although a plant of acid soils, it can tolerate some alkalinity[15].

A good food plant for the caterpillars of many species of butterflies[16][17], it grows well in the summer meadow[16].

Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Rumex acetosella. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Rumex acetosella.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Rumex acetosella
Genus
Rumex
Family
Polygonaceae
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Strong wind
  • Maritime exposure
Ecosystems
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Life
Deciduous or Evergreen
?
Herbaceous or Woody
?
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Fertility
Pollinators
Flower Colour
?
Flower Type

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References

  1. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  2. ? 2.02.12.22.3 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.13.2 Loewenfeld. C. and Back. P. Britain's Wild Larder. David and Charles ISBN 0-7153-7971-2 ()
  4. ? 4.04.1 Harris. B. C. Eat the Weeds. Pivot Health (1973-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  7. ? 7.07.17.2 Kavasch. B. Native Harvests. Vintage Books ISBN 0-394-72811-4 (1979-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
  10. ? 10.010.1 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.111.211.3 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.112.212.312.4 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
  13. ? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
  14. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  15. ? 15.015.1 Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
  16. ? 16.016.1 Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden. ()
  17. ? Carter D. Butterflies and Moths in Britain and Europe. Pan ISBN 0-330-26642-x (1982-00-00)

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