Latin Name: Rumex Acetosa
Country of Origin: Hungary
As a medicinal and garden herb, common sorrel has been used since the ancient days of Greece’s Dioscorides and Rome’s Pliny the Elder in the 1st century AD.
Its tendency to appear as one of the first plants in spring meant it was once a highly valued edible green.
Its arrow-shaped leaves were a familiar sight in Medieval vegetable gardens across Europe until the 1700s, and it has since become a common wild herb in North America where it was introduced as a salad green.
The plant has a sour taste that makes it a tasty addition to salads or a sharp side dish to red meat and roasts or stews.
R. acetosa was believed to be a ‘cooling’ herb and helpful for swellings and inflammatory conditions. The plant was used to treat fevers, jaundice, and internal ulcers.
It also had a number of common uses such as treating wounds like sores, bruises, boils and chickenpox.
The fresh or dried leaves are astringent, diuretic, laxative and refrigerant. They are used to make a cooling drink in the treatment of fevers and are especially useful in the treatment of scurvy. The leaf juice, mixed with fumitory, has been used as a cure for itchy skin and ringworm. An infusion of the root is astringent, diuretic and haemostatic. It has been used in the treatment of jaundice, gravel and kidney stones.
To make an infusion, place 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb in a tea infuser or teapot or mug for each cup of tea you intend to brew. Cover with boiling water. Place on the lid (or cover your cup with a saucer).
Allow the mixture to steep for 10′ to 15′ minutes or overnight.
Then strain the tea and serve. Drink 1-3 cups of tea a day.
Add if you want honey, milk or lemon wedge for flavour.
Although sorrel is generally considered safe when used properly, it contains a high amount of oxalic acid, so it may be harmful to consume in large amounts. Adverse effects may include damage to the kidneys, liver, and the gastrointestinal tract.
In any case you should consult with your healthcare doctor before using any herb especially if you’re taking other medications or having health problems.