Learn the Health Benefits of Yellow Dock Root, Side Effects, and Preparations

Learn the Health Benefits of Yellow Dock Root, Side Effects, and Preparations
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Yellow Dock

Yellow dock (Rumex crispus) is a perennial plant that belongs to the Polygonaceae family (or buckwheat family). It is native to Europe and parts of Africa but can now be found growing in many places (including the U.S.), mostly in waste lands, roadsides, pastures, and fields. It grows to be about four feet tall. The roots appear to have the most health benefits but the leaves (which are added to salads) are also used as a herbal remedy.

Health Benefits of Yellow Dock


Derivatives (anthraquinone glycosides) in yellow dock have been shown to have mild laxative effects. In fact, the total anthraquinone content is higher in yellow dock root than in therapeutic rhubarb (also a member of the Polygonaceae family).

Skin Problems

Yellow dock has been used for centuries to treat skin problems, including cuts, acne, boils, burns, rashes, insect bites, abscesses, eczema, and psoriasis.


Yellow dock root is rich in iron and can help treat and prevent iron-deficiency anemia. Yellow dock is also used to improve digestion and treat arthritis, rheumatism, gout, and menstrual problems (unbalanced cycles, heavy bleeding, and pain).

Side Effects & Precautions

Side effects include stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, low potassium levels, low calcium levels, excessive urination, and skin irritation.

Long term use is not recommended.

Pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding should avoid taking.

People allergic to ragweed may be allergic to yellow dock.

People with gastrointestinal blockage or ulcers should not take.

People with blood clotting problems or kidney disease should consult with a healthcare provider before taking.

Do not take with diuretics, digoxin, or warfarin. If taking any medications, you should talk with your healthcare provider first.


To prepare yellow dock root tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of root, cover, steep for 10 minutes, and strain. Drink up to 3 cups a day.

To prepare a decoction (recommended for treating constipation), bring 1 quart of water to a boil, reduce heat, add 1 cup of root, cover, wait 12 minutes, remove the cover, and steep for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Sweeten with honey and drink up to 4 cups a day. Start out slowly. If you have stomach cramping, you have taken too much.

To get the health benefits of yellow dock externally (skin problems / painful joints), dunk a washcloth in the decoction (when cooled), wring the washcloth out, and apply to the affected area.

Sources Used

Herbs 2000: Yellow Dock - https://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_yellow_dock.htm

Mountain Rose Herbs: Yellow Dock Root and Powder Profile - https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/yellow_dock_root.php

WebMD: Yellow Dock Side Effects & Safety - https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-651-YELLOW+DOCK.aspx?activeIngredientId=651&activeIngredientName=YELLOW+DOCK&source=3

Photo Credit

Image courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rumexcrispus.jpg (in the public domain)


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