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Dock Yellow - Uses and Benefits - How Does Dock Yellow Works?

Taxonomic Class

Polygonaceae

Common Trade Names

Multi-ingredient preparations: Detox, LC Tone, Rumex Crispus

Common Forms

Available in capsules (470 mg, 500 mg), liquid, root, and tea.

Source

A dried extract is prepared from the roots of Rumex crispus, a common and troublesome perennial weed that is native to Europe and Asia. Dock has become naturalized in the United States and grows along roadsides and in gravelly soils of pastures and meadows.

Chemical Components

The primary component of the dried root of R. crispus is chrysophanic acid; others include rumicin, emodin (oxymethylanthraquinone), calcium oxalate, oxalic acid, brassidinic acid, tannins, and volatile oils. The stems, leaves, and fruit also contain anthraquinones and oxalic acid. Loss of activity has occurred if the root is boiled for an extended period.

Actions

Rumex species have been studied in vitro and in vivo in animals and found to have both anti-inflammatory and antiviral effects. The antiitch effect of the leaves of R. nepalensis is believed to be caused by the antibradykinin, anticholinergic, and anti histaminic properties of the plant .

A root extract of R. hastatus was found to inactivate the herpes simplex virus; antiviral activity against poliovirus and Sindbis virus was unaffected . Extracts of the R. crispus fruit also showed significant inhibitory activity against HIV reverse transcriptase .

An in vitro study of sheep seminal vesicles noted that aqueous and ethanolic extracts of R. sagittatus root significantly inhibited cyclooxygenase activity.

Reported Uses

Dock root is said to be an astringent and a cathartic. It has been used to treat syphilis and cutaneous eruptions, particularly of the scrofulous type. Some Rumex species were known for curing intermittent fevers and others have been used in chronic hepatic congestion and dyspepsia.

An ointment made by boiling the root in vinegar has been used to treat glandular swellings and various skin diseases, such as scabies. Bruising and applying the fresh root is a popular antidote to the rash induced by stinging nettle. Other claimed uses include diuresis and symptomatic treatment of tonsillitis and sore throat. No human trials have evaluated these claims.

Dosage

Most in vitro studies reported pharmacologic activity of Rumex species in concentrations ranging from 25 to 100 mcg/ml. Doses tested clinically ranged from 2.5 to 5 mg P.O. as a single dose.

Adverse Reactions

GI: abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.

Metabolic: hypocalcemia.

Interactions

None reported.

Contraindications And Precautions

Rumex species are contraindicated as a laxative in pregnant women because of the presence of anthraquinones, which have stimulant effects that may lead to miscarriage. They are also contraindicated in patients with renal dysfunction or failure, type 1 or 2 diabetes, hepatic disease, and severe electrolyte imbalances because of the possibility of oxalic acid precipitation in the renal tubules.

Use cautiously in patients with alcoholic disease, new-onset diabetes, heart failure, hypoalbuminemic disease states, malnutrition, or recent thyroid or parathyroid surgery. Also use with caution in patients who are concurrently taking drugs known to cause hypocalcemia (such as calcitonin, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, loop and potassium-sparing diuretics, mithramycin, and phenytoin).

Special Considerations

Monitor serum calcium levels and for signs of hypocalcemia.

Alert Severe hypocalcemia and metabolic acidosis with resultant death may follow consumption of excessive quantities of dock.

Advise the patient to report sudden onset of abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Inform the patient to use small portions of dock for culinary purposes, if at all.

Advise the patient not to use dock as a replacement for antivirals to treat herpes or HIV infection .

Inform the patient with continued allergy or allergic response despite herbal use to notify his health care provider.

Urge the patient to watch for symptoms of hypocalcemia (confusion, fatigue, muscle spasms, perioral paresthesia, and seizures).

Instruct women taking the herb to report planned or suspected pregnancy.

Advise women to avoid using dock during pregnancy or when breast­feeding.

Points of Interest

Dock is cultivated in Europe as a vegetable or salad. It is also a popular Himalayan antidote for rash caused by stinging nettles.

Commentary

All clinical data on Rumex are from in vitro studies on animals. This herb has mild to moderate antipruritic effects. Although it reduces the size of inflammatory wheal reactions, the mechanism is unknown. Because of the risk of poisoning, available antihistamine or antiallergy products are recommended instead of the herb.

   

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