top of page

Plant Family: 



Habitat & Cultivation: 

Yellow dock is native to Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America (Vasas, Orban-Gyapai, & Hohmann, 2015). Yellow dock does grow in the United States (it is largely considered a weed here) and has an affinity for wet soil. 

Yellow dock is grown and sourced in the United States by most suppliers here. We have a local apothecary that sources hers from the PNW (in Bellingham) although she is a small local business serving the Skagit Valley which is not a large community. Herb Pharm states that they get their Yellow dock from the US as well, although it is not one of the herbs they grow on their farm in Oregon. Other bigger suppliers state that they source their yellow dock from Maine, and even Croatia.


Parts Used/Collection:



Herbal Actions: 

  • alterative

  • astringent

  • mild laxative

  • cholagogue

  • depurative

  • tonic

  • hepatic

  • purgative

  • cathartic



  • Jaundice

  • Psoriasis and other skin disorders

  • Liver disorders

  • Gallbladder disorders

  • Swollen glands

  • Constipation

  • Tongue Ulcers

  • Ulcers

  • Bleeding gums

  • Sore throat (gargle)

  • Diabetes

  • Diarrhea

  • Edema

  • Hypertension

  • Inflammation

  • Cancer

  • GI tract ailments

  • Bruises

  • Burns

  • Venereal disease

  • Eye infections

  • Fever

  • Dizziness

  • Cough

  • Rheumatism

  • Kidney disorders

  • Ringworm

  • Contraception

  • Fungal infection

  • Bacterial infection



All anthraquinone-rich herbs Cls apply (eg. pregnancy, prolonged use, acute inflammatory bowel disease, etc.) however, it is generally gentler and less extreme in its effects when compared to other laxative herbs.


Plant Constituents: 

  • Anthraquinone glycosides (chrysophanol & emodin)

  • Tannins

  • Iron and other minerals

  • Oxalates (high in leaf)


System Affinities:

  • Digestive system

  • Immune system

  • Nervous system



Yellow dock is bitter, astringent (dry), cooling, and pungent (Frawley & Lad, 1986). It is Vata-aggravating, and more diminishing to Pitta and Kapha (Frawley & Lad, 1986). High-Pitta is indicated for this herb, whilst high-Vata is actually a precaution for use (Frawley & Lad, 1986)



Pregnancy category B2 and Lactation category CC (compatible with lactation but use with caution due to anthraquinone glycosides which may be excreted in small amounts in breast milk). Contraindicated in cases of intestinal obstruction or gastrointestinal inflammation. Yellow dock is a anthraquinone-containing laxative herb which has a stimulant and irritant effect in the large intestine. Due to this laxative effect, yellow dock should be used for short term use only and may have the following effects in the body: electrolyte imbalance/dehydration, increase potassium depletion and decrease gastrointestinal transmit time/absorption of medications. Lastly, high levels of oxalic acid may cause kidney stones if consumed in large quantities. (Mills & Bone, 2005)


Personal Experience:





ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. New York, NY: American Botanical Council. Accessed online at


Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical Herbalism. Healing Arts Press: Vermont.


Stinging nettles leaf (Urtica dioica L): Extraordinary vegetable medicine. (2013, February 21).


Upton, R. (2009). Stinging nettle herb. American herbal pharmacopeia and therapeutic compendium.


Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus)

bottom of page