Rumex acetosa

AKA: Narrow-leaved dock, spinach dock, green sauce, sour sabs, sour grabs, sour suds, sour sauce, cuckoo sorrow, cuckoo’s meat


Historical Uses: Inflammation, fevers, heat exhaustion, fainting, thirst, low appetite, parasites, heart health, menstrual problems, dysentery, stomach problems, scorpion stings, jaundice, kidney stones, itching, sore throat, tonsil stones, boils, and scurvy

Other Uses: Sour, lemony/apple flavor - was often used as a substitute for lemon juice where it was unavailable. Used as a salad green and seasoning. Sorrel is an excellent stain remover, used for rust, ink, and mold stains. It is said to provide refreshment and quench thirst, and Roman soldiers sucked t he leaves while marching.

In folklore, cuckoos were said to eat it to clear their voices.

Plus (click or tap to expand) + Culpeper's The Complete Herbal (1653)- On Sorrel

Our ordinary Sorrel, which grows in gardens, and also wild in the fields, is so well known, that it needs no description.

Government and virtues.

It is under the dominion of Venus. Sorrel is prevalent in all hot diseases, to cool any inflammation and heat of blood in agues pestilential or choleric, or sickness and fainting, arising from heat, and to refresh the overspent spirits with the violence of furious or fiery fits of agues; to quench thirst, and procure an appetite in fainting or decaying stomachs: For it resists the putrefaction of the blood, kills worms, and is a cordial to the heart, which the seed doth more effectually, being more drying and binding, and thereby stays the hot fluxes of women’s courses, or of humours in the bloody flux, or flux of the stomach. The root also in a decoction, or in powder, is effectual for all the said purposes. Both roots and seeds, as well as the herb, are held powerful to resist the poison of the scorpion. The decoction of the roots is taken to help the jaundice, and to expel the gravel and the stone in the reins or kidneys. The decoction of the flowers made with wine and drank, helps the black jaundice, as also the inward ulcers of the body and bowels. A syrup made with the juice of Sorrel and fumitory, is a sovereign help to kill those sharp humours that cause the itch. The juice thereof, with a little vinegar, serves well to be used outwardly for the same cause, and is also profitable for tetters, ringworms, &c. It helps also to discuss the kernels in the throat; and the juice gargled in the mouth, helps the sores therein. The leaves wrapt in a colewort leaf and roasted in the embers, and applied to a hard imposthume, botch, boil, or plague sore, doth both ripen and break it. The distilled water of the herb is of much good use for all the purposes aforesaid.

Source: Project Gutenberg’s Culpeper the Complete Herbal (1653) - Sorrel [172]