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Sandy Hale
Posts: 13
Location: Just off the Delaware Bay in NJ. Zone 7b
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Have dock volunteering in a garden bed.  Does anyone know what this indicates about the soil?  Also, what uses for this plant?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Medicinal use of Curled Dock: Curled dock (also known as curly dock and sometimes simply referred to as dock) has a long history of domestic herbal use.
Crushed leaves can reduce itching of bug bites.
It is a gentle, safe laxative, less powerful than rhubarb in its action so it is particularly useful in the treatment of mild constipation.
The plant has valuable cleansing properties and is useful for treating a wide range of skin problems.
All parts of the plant can be used, though the root is most active medicinally.
The root is alterative, antiscorbutic, astringent, cholagogue, depurative, laxative and mildly tonic.
It used to be sold as a tonic and laxative.
It can cause or relieve diarrhoea according to the dose, harvest time and relative concentrations of tannin(astringent) and anthraquinones (laxative) that are present.
Used internally in the treatment of constipation, diarrhoea, piles, bleeding of the lungs, various blood complaints and also chronic skin diseases.
Externally, the root can be mashed and used as a poultice and salve, or dried and used as a dusting powder, on sores, ulcers, wounds and various other skin problems.
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.
The seed is used in the treatment of diarrhoea.
A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root, harvested in the autumn before frost has touched the plant.  It is only used in the treatment of a specific type of cough.

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.

Members of the Rumex family can grow anywhere, in any type of soil and so are not indicators of any problems a soil might have.
They are deep tap rooting plants and as such can be used to help loosen compacted soils since they will readily sprout from seed in everything from heavy, compacted clay all the way through sand.

Redhawk

 
Dale Hodgins
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I like to use the leaves as a smothering mulch. They are quite persistent plants, so you can continually yank leaves off of them. A nutrient-rich chop and drop. Your fingers will taste terrible after handling lots of this plant. I wonder if it would help to prevent thumb sucking in children?,  Or,  just a general punishment

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Joylynn Hardesty
Posts: 219
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Your fingers will taste terrible after handling lots of this plant.


Ugh! This is so true! But we eat the leaves in a meal or two each week. If you harvest the leaves that still have fold lines, from how it unfurls, we think it's yummy. You'll find that the length of the leaf does not equate how old the leaf is. I've found leaves of ten inches long with the fold lines still there. It is good for salad mixes, in soups, or as spinach is used in casseroles.
 
Liz Hoxie
Posts: 210
Location: Ellisforde, WA
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I tend to eat them in my "spring greens" when they are just coming up. That includes comfrey, dandelion, and mustard.
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 183
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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They often come in when un-rotted horse manure has been used.  They produce large quantities of seed.  If you want to get rid of them they are best pulled just before flowering.
 
Loxley Clovis
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Location: wanderer
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Eat the young leaves like you would eat sorrel or spinach. I made Indian korma with it this past weekend. Avoid older leaves, they have too much oxalic acid and will burn your tongue/throat. Listen to your body! Avoid eating dock grown near roads or septic tanks.
Use the seeds: mill them into flour to make baked goods, cereals, etc.
Medicinally it cleanses impurities the blood.
Learn more uses for dock from Katrina Blair's book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival
She's also got an awesome "Permaculture Rap" song about these weeds in the book!!!
-Rhapsody, StoryConnective.org
 
Joylynn Hardesty
Posts: 219
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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Joylynn Hardesty wrote:

If you harvest the leaves that still have fold lines, from how it unfurls, we think it's yummy.


Just to be clear, we eat the older dock leaves as well, more often in cooked dishes than in raw. There is something special to the new leaves.
An article on the docks by Green Deane. http://www.eattheweeds.com/rumex-ruminations/ In the article he states: "Gastronomically there is a great divide in the Rumex family. Most are bitter, a few are tart. Those used for their bitter leaves alone include: Rumex arifolius, Rumex conglomeratus, Rumex crispus..."
The first picture is listed as Rumex crispus, or curley dock. This is what we have in our back yard. I would describe the newly unfurled leaves as tart. The mature leaves lose part of the tartness, and there is some bitterness to them. I would not describe the bitterness it has as the dominant taste. We are not sensitive to bitter though. Dandelions and wild lettuce are exponentially more bitter.
 
Alexandra Clark
Posts: 76
Location: Long Island, NY
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I consider Dock a happy friend in the garden. It has a very deep tap root and thus harvests minerals and brings them to the surface, so chop and drop is a perfect use for them, and since they are very high energy, they can be cut back a lot. I always cut back the flower heads so they don't spread too prolifically.

A quick and sure remedy for stinging nettle, and generally they grow together. If you get a sting, simply grab a leaf, chew it up and put the paste on the sting and the irritation will quickly fade. Can also be used for bug bites and poison ivy. The high tannin content also makes it appropriate for bruising.

 
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