Yellow Dock (Rumex Crispus)

The root of this is used which contains glycosides, tannins, oxalates and minerals.

A really greedy, voracious weed and one you would shift heaven and earth to remove from your garden, but wow, what fantastic properties it has!

Yellow Dock

For a start, as it is a mineral rich plant, it is nutritious, containing iron and sulphur.

It is a bitter plant which stimulates digestive function, improves bile secretion, and is an alterative, encouraging the normal functioning of the body and a good lymphatic cleanser.

So I use it as a tincture in many mixes especially as a tonic herb and to improve a poor digestion.

It comes in the “never be without it” category on my shelves but needs to be used with respect, otherwise it may cause diarrhoea. In fact if I am putting yellow dock in a patient’s mixture for the first time, I do warn them, they may be sat on the toilet a bit more for the first couple of weeks.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)

It is the leaves and flowers of St. John’s wort that are used.

The active ingredients are hypericin, flavonoids and essential oils.

St John's Wort

St. John’s wort has a pretty small yellow flower and if you pick the leaf and hold it up to the light you will be able to see tiny perforations in the leaf, hence its Latin name perforatum.

It has anti viral properties and is an “alterative” which means it has the ability to restore to normal, the way an organ or system in the body works.

It also has a long tradition of being used as a nervous system supporting and repairing herb and has liver tonic properties.

At college we were told and all the literature says that St. John’s wort must not be used where the patient is showing symptoms of clinical depression.

In Germany it has long been used as an antidepressant and a liver cleansing herb.

When we were doing the shingle beach walk, my husband, (and cameraman) Mike said to me jokingly, “is there anything to treat shingles?” well Ha Ha yes there is, one of the things I do with the plant is pick the flowers and put them in a jar with oil (any oil will do) for about six weeks in full sun light.  This will produce the beautiful Hypericum oil which is about the only thing I know to relieve the pain of shingles when rubbed on externally to them, at the same time as working against the herpes zoster virus which causes shingles.

I use the tincture in my clinic to put in to mixes to support the nervous system and the immune system. If I think there is a need for a direct anti viral in a mixture, then St. John’s wort and elderflower tinctures are top of my list.

Word of warning…….St John’s wort has a photosensitising action both if used externally and internally so if you are taking it, cover up in bright sunlight.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/herbal health information