Sorrel: properties and benefits
The Acetosa, whose botanical name is Rumex acetosa L. is a plant belonging to the Polygonaceae family . It owes its name to the sour taste that gives it the name of sorrel – and the lanceolate shape of its leaves from which rumex means spear .
Sorrel or Rumex acetos : properties, benefits and uses
This plant is also known as: brusca, Garden sorrel, Sheeps sorrel, Sour dock, Oseille de jardin, Azedinha da horta, Rumicis herba, Rumicis fructus, Rumicis radi.
Acetosa is an evergreen plant widespread throughout the Italian region and can be harvested throughout the year. The countryside and the areas where there are large expanses of lawn are rich.
Its therapeutic properties, known since ancient times, are due to the presence of potassium, iron, oxalic acid (to which it owes its sour taste) chlorophyll and vitamin C of which the plant is rich.
- Promotes purification and fights bad digestion
The leaves of sorrel contain bitters. They perform a detoxifying and stimulating action on the liver and stomach; the plant can be used in the form of a decoction but its leaves can also be eaten fresh, in salads or as a side dish in dishes. The leaves of the sorrel can also be eaten as if they were spinach , that is, after having boiled them, or they can be added to the soups or cooked vegetables in general. You can also prepare a sauce to accompany fish and meat.
- It has laxative and diuretic properties
Thanks to the presence of anthraquinones, substances that stimulate intestinal peristalsis favoring the transit of metabolic waste . Suitable for constipation and swelling, we recommend the consumption of fresh leaves in the salad and the intake of herbal teas every night in order to favor the ingestion of liquids; the root, extracted from the soil in autumn and placed in infusion or decoction, performs a laxative and diuretic action.
- Refreshing, decongesting and toning
The decongestant effect is carried out by flavonoids, present especially in red fruits; they promote the stimulation of the blood circulation of the feet and legs, bringing benefit to the microcirculation. The foot bath is recommended in the case of emo-lymphatic stasis and cramps .
- Useful against anemia
The plant is beneficial for anemic individuals because it stimulates the formation of erythrocytes; moreover, the presence of vitamin C increases iron absorption .
- Contains sources of vitamin C and acts against scurvy
The action carried out by the vitamin C brings contained in the plant acts in case of deficiencies in the immune defenses, flu, stress and diseases of the venous microcirculation.
- Effective against acne and dermatitis
in the case of seborrhea, acne and skin diseases the skin undergoes an imbalance in the hydro-lipid mantle with consequent bacterial proliferation and alteration of the stratum corneum. The action of Acetosa is excellent in these situations thanks to the high presence of tannins, substances with a known astringent and decongestant action, as well as purifying and antibacterial. You can use poultices of fresh leaves directly on the skin, excellent both on irritated skin and on insect bites; or the infusion that can be taken in the evening before bedtime; in herbal medicine it is also possible to find the mother tincture, a formulation obtained from the whole plant, useful as in the treatment of dermatosis.
- Anti-inflammatory in diseases of the mouth and oral cavity
The soothing action is carried out by the tannins present in the plant; in case of stomatitis, sore throat , gingivitis decoctions and herbal teas are recommended.
- The cultivation of sorrel dates back to the time of Charlemagne
In fact, since the Middle Ages its virtues were appreciated so much that Charlemagne ordered its cultivation in all the gardens. At that time a lot was used in case of fever, lack of appetite and lack of vitamin C (scurvy). The parts used are flowers, roots and leaves.
- Effective against insect bites and skin irritations
In the form of cataplasms the leaves of the sorrel act positively on the skin helping to make swelling and itching disappear caused by insect tips or simple skin irritations.
- Promotes circulation
In case of pain in the lower limbs, tingling or simple tiredness it is advisable to make a footbath with the extracts of this officinal plant that facilitate the blood circulation of the feet.
- Closes the pores and makes the blackheads disappear
One of the best known cosmetic properties of sorrel is to act beneficially when it comes into contact with the skin. With a simple pack of fresh leaves in fact you can close the enlarged pores and visibly reduce the black points.
- The sorrel can be safely consumed raw or cooked
To the delight of our raw food readers, the fresh stems of sorrel can be eaten raw directly or exploited as a condiment given the particular sour taste.
This herb lends itself very well in the preparation of salads and side dishes thanks to its synergy with spinach and other cooked vegetables.
A curiosity has it that A curiosity wants that in Vietnam the sorrel is called Rau Chua and is used together with fresh vegetables and lettuce for the Bánh X? O, one of the specialties of the country.
- The cultivation does not present difficulties and has an excellent yield
To grow Rumex acetosa it is important to know that this plant does not present any difficulty. It can be harvested only two months after sowing and the flowering period is in summer between June and August.
The only concrete obstacle concerns the parasites, in fact some types of snails, specialties in the humid territories tend to attack the shoots in the first period of sowing. Furthermore, if you want to have a luxuriant plant for use as decoctions and poultices, it is advisable to water the plant abundantly during warm periods.
Remembering also that the sorrel should be positioned in such a way that it is protected from the weather and the wind, possibly with a cloth, to safeguard its leaves, the parts that together with the roots are more used in homeopathy and for natural remedies.
Contraindications and warnings before use
Acetosa is forbidden for people suffering from kidney stones, arthritis, gout, rheumatism and hyperacidity due to the presence of calcium oxalates. In uncertain cases we recommend the variety hortensis , which is the cultivated variety that contains less oxalates. It can also present a potential nephrotoxicity, therefore its use on children and people with kidney problems is not recommended.