Rumex crispus

Rumex crispus


No documentation

Vernacular Name

Curly dock, yellow dock, rumex, dock


Belonging to the buckwheat family, Rumex crispus or curly dock is commonly thought of as a weed. R. crispus is used medicinally by several cultures. The plant is a source of vitamins and minerals and also may aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Considered to be a common weed, the reddish-brown R. crispus grows to roughly 1m in height, with narrow, glabrous leaves found stemming from a rosette pattern. A center stalk grows from the plant from which the seed and green droop flower clusters can be found. The brown or green seeds attach easily to passing animal furs and float on water, which makes them very efficient in reproducing. The yellowish root is large and forms a forked taproot system.

Origin / Habitat

R. crispus is an invasive herb found flourishing on several continents throughout the world, is thought to be native to Europe and then introduced to North America R. crispus is best grown in rich, damp soils in open fields or ditches.

Chemical Constituents

Oxalic acid, calcium oxalate, Tannins, quercetin and other flavonoids, neopodin 8-glucoside, lapodin, antranoids, and the aglycones physcion, chryosphanol, emodin, aloe-emodin, rhein. [1],[2]

Plant Part Used


Medicinal Uses






Blood Disorders


Most Frequently Reported Uses





Dosage Range 

1.0-1.5g of root powder per day

1-2 teaspoons of dried herb steeped in boiling water, 2-3 times per day

Most Common Dosage 

1g steeped in boiling water, twice daily.

Standardization Dosage

No standardization known.



Traditionally, R. crispus has been used as a laxative. These laxative effects of R. crispus have been documented in laboratory analysis in an in vivo animal model.[3]

An ether extract of R. crispus demonstrated antimicrobial activities on Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis in a laboratory setting. The same study examined water extracts of R. crispus and found no anti-microbial activity but found high antioxidant activity.[4]

The powdered root of R. crispus is abrasive when ground properly and was used as a dentifrice in Native American tribal cultures.[5]


At this time, there are no clinical studies available for review.

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

There are no studies reporting interactions between R. crispus and prescription or over the counter medications.

Based on traditional use and pharmacology, this herb should not be used in combination with laxatives.

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

R. crispus is considered safe when used as directed;[6] however there has been one case of death reported due to the use of R. crispus.[7]

R. crispus contains oxalates which can be poisonous to animals and are present in this plant in an amount that is considered high enough to be toxic.[5]

Not to be used by individuals with kidney or liver disease.

Not to be taken by individuals with hepatic insufficiency.


Not to be taken by pregnant or nursing women.

Age limitation

Keep away from children.

Adverse reaction

No documentation


  1) Native American Herbs


  1. Günaydin K, Topçu G, Ion RM.1,5-dihydroxyanthraquinones and an anthrone from roots of Rumex crispus. Nat Prod Lett. Feb 2002;16(1):65-70.
  2. Thomson Healthcare.  PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Thomson Healthcare Inc; 2007.
  3. Kanzik I‌, Şener‌ B, Akar‌ F. Influence on Some Rumex Extracts on Histamine and Prostaglandin Levels in Rat Gut. Pharmaceutical Biology.1988;26(3):173.
  4. Yildirim A, Mavi A, Kara AA. Determination of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of Rumex crispus L. extracts. J Agric Food Chem. Aug 2001;49(8):4083-4089.
  5. Lewis WH, Elvin-Lewis MPF. Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man’s Health. New York: Wiley-Interscience; 1977:245.
  6. McGuffin M, et al. Botanical Safety Handbook. NY: CRC Press; 1997.
  7. Reig R, Sanz P, Blanche C, Fontarnau R, Dominguez A, Corbella J. Fatal poisoning by Rumex crispus (curled dock): pathological findings and application of scanning electron microscopy. Vet Hum Toxicol. Oct 1990;32(5):468-470.

Rumex crispus