As we head into Spring, you might be noticing that your body is protesting the higher energy levels, even as it enjoys the extra warmth and sunlight. After a winter of eating rich foods, and being curled up and cozy, it is helpful to look to our plant allies for help transitioning to the new season in a healthy way. Yellow Dock is great for this! It is abundant in Arkansas, and its leaves are some of the earliest to arrive in Spring. Here at the Farm, we had three Yellow Dock plants, and I used the leaves and the roots to make an infused oil, an alcohol tincture, and a vinegar tincture.
Yellow Dock is a tonic for the liver, and it is also an effective iron supplement, without being constipating. It supplies many vitamins and minerals, and because of this, it helps relieve leg cramps, and keeps the bones and muscles supple. It is said to have a grounding effect emotionally, and to help prevent oversensitivity. Topically, its astringent and antibacterial properties make it suitable for treating itchy skin, eczema, ringworm and hemorrhoids.
An oil infused with Yellow Dock leaves can be used topically as-is, or the oil can be added to other salve ingredients. Pick the leaves of a Yellow Dock plant. Select leaves that are relatively intact and undamaged. DO NOT WASH (it’s important that no water gets in your oil preparation, as this can cause mold growth). If the leaves are dirty, use a vegetable brush to clean them. Chop roughly and fill a clean (but completely dry) jar. Pour olive oil over the leaves until they are covered completely. Put a lid on the jar, and label with the contents and the date. Let the infusion sit for 4-6 weeks, before straining the solids out. Oil can be used on its own, or in other topical preparations.
5-10 drops of the tincture can be taken in a glass of water, daily, or as needed.
Clean the roots, and scrape with a vegetable peeler. The root should be yellow (may be bright or light yellow); this is where the common name comes from! Chop and place in a clean jar. Cover the roots with 100 proof vodka and place a lid on the jar. Label the jar with the contents and the date. The tincture should sit for 6 weeks before it is used. Over time, the liquid will become dark brown--this is normal! After 6 weeks, the solids can be strained out and the liquid can be put in smaller bottles for use. Dark glass bottles are best, as they protect your tincture from light.
1 teaspoon of this tincture can be taken in a glass of water, daily, or as needed.
For this preparation, I gathered Yellow Dock leaves, as well as Dandelion leaves and roots. Roughly chop everything and fill clean jar. Pour raw apple cider vinegar over the leaves and roots until they are covered. Place a lid on the jar and label it with the date and the contents, and let it sit for 6 weeks. Strain out solids and bottle the tincture for use.
When gathering plants, be sure to avoid plants by roadways and power lines, or any areas that have been sprayed with chemicals!