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Yellow Dock

What Should I Know About It?


Updated June 27, 2014

Curled Dock (Rumex crispus), an agricultural weed growing at wayside on farmland.
Duncan Shaw/Photodisc/Getty Images

What is Yellow Dock?

Other Names: Rumex crispus

Yellow dock is native to Europe and Asia and grows throughout North America as a common weed. In Europe, it's cultivated as a vegetable. The part used medicinally is the root.

Yellow dock comes in capsule, tincture, tea and dried herb forms.

Why Do People Use Yellow Dock

In traditional herbal medicine, yellow dock is thought to be a general health tonic.

Yellow dock is thought to benefit the digestive tract, liver and skin. One of its primary uses by herbalists is for skin conditions associated with poor digestion, poor liver function or "toxicity".

Yellow dock has a mild laxative effect, due to constituents called anthraquinone glycosides. It appears to stimulate the release of bile and digestive enzymes.

  • Poor digestion
  • Skin conditions
  • Mild constipation
  • Liver detox


Yellow dock may cause mild diarrhea in some people. Call your health practitioner if you experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

Yellow dock should not be used by people taking drugs that decrease blood calcium, such as diuretics, Dilantin, Miacalcin, or Mithracin.

Yellow dock should not be used by people with kidney disease, liver disease, or an electrolyte abnormality.

Excessive use of yellow dock can cause a blood disorder called metabolic acidosis and life-threatening calcium deficiency in the blood. Call your health practitioner if you experience signs of low blood calcium, such as fatigue, seizures, confusion, muscle spasms, and numbness around the mouth.

Yellow dock should not be used by pregnant or nursing women.

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