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Sheep Sorrel - Rumex acetosella
Sheep sorrel is widely regarded as a noxious weed with 45 of the fifty states reporting it as an intruder, but the small, creeping plant has a long-standing reputation as a medicinal herb. It has been used to treat diarrhea, cancer, fever and scurvy. While scientists are familiar with the effect of the various constituents, there have been no clinical trials to prove its efficacy in treating any of the named conditions.
Sorrel does make a wonderfully cooling beverage and soup, and its tart flavor is a perfect foil for hot and spicy herbs and seeds.
Rumex acetosella is a species of sorrel bearing the common names sheep's sorrel, red sorrel, sour weed, and field sorrel. The plant and its subspecies are common perennial weeds. It has green arrowhead-shaped leaves and red-tinted deeply ridged stems, and it sprouts from an aggressive rhizome. The flowers emerge from a tall, upright stem. Female flowers are maroon in color. In North America it is a common weed in fields, grasslands, and woodlands. It favors moist soil, so it thrives in floodplains and near marshes. It is often one of the first species to take hold in disturbed areas, such as abandoned mining sites, especially if the soil is acidic. Livestock will graze on the plant, but it is not very nutritious and contains oxalates which make the plant toxic if grazed in large amounts.
Sheep Sorrel contains constituents including beta carotene, tartaric acid, oxalates (oxalic acid), anthraquinones (chrysophanol, emodin, Rhein), glycosides like hyperoside, the quercitin-3d-galactoside.
|Because sheep sorrel contains oxalic acid, it is recommended that it not be used in large amounts for extended periods of time as it can cause mineral deficiencies and liver damage. People with rheumatism, arthritis, gout or kidney stones should avoid sor|