Useful information

Horse sorrel: medicinal properties

Botanical portrait

Horse sorrel (Rumex confertus Willd.) Belongs to the buckwheat family. Actually, the name from Latin is translated as thick sorrel. And the name "horse" stuck as a result of the use of this plant in the villages not only for their own health, but also for the treatment of cattle from indigestion, including horses. Well, and also, probably, for the size of the leaves. Edible sour sorrel has rather small leaves, and here such burdocks!

Horse sorrel

It is a perennial herb with a very strong root system. The roots at the fracture have a characteristic yellow-orange color. The stem is erect, branched in the upper part. Plant height can be from 60 cm to 1.5 m, depending on conditions. The lower leaves are very large, triangular-ovate, stem leaves are smaller and with a short petiole. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, collected in a panicle inflorescence. The fruit is a triangular nutlet reminiscent of unmilled buckwheat.

This plant has a very wide range and is found in the temperate zone from the western to the eastern borders of our vast Motherland. It grows mainly in humid and waterlogged places. Interestingly, in the European phytotherapeutic literature, it is mentioned little, or rather, other species are mentioned there, but not horse sorrel.

Medicinal raw materials

Horse sorrel

First of all, the roots are harvested from the plant, which are dug up in autumn or early spring. Rinse thoroughly, cut into small pieces and dry in a dryer or heated oven. In folk medicine, leaves are used, which are collected before flowering, as well as seeds, which are cut along with the peduncles in the phase of the onset of ripening, dried, spread on paper, and then threshed, that is, they are simply squeezed from the stems and sifted on sieves.

Medicinal properties and application

Sorrel roots contain up to 4% anthraquinone derivatives, which include chrysophanic acid (chrysophanol), frangula-emodin and aloe-emodin, which, due to their irritating effect on the intestinal walls, enhance peristalsis and cause a laxative effect. In addition, 8-12% of tannins were found in the roots, which have an effect opposite to anthraquinones, that is, astringent and fixing. Hence the seemingly contradictory recommendations. But here the great rule of the ancients works - everything is determined by the dose. It is interesting that preparations of sorrel roots, depending on the dose, have a diametrically opposite effect: in small doses - fixing, and in large doses - laxative. In addition, saponins, caffeic acid, anthocyanins (up to 5%), and flavonoids neopin and neposid, which are derivatives of naphthalene, are isolated from the roots. The fruits contain anthraquinones and tannins, and the leaves contain the flavonoids hyperoside and rutin, which have vitamin P activity, as well as up to 700 mg% of ascorbic acid, vitamin K and carotenoids. All organs of the plant contain calcium oxalate, and in the roots, its amount can reach 9%. With trace element analysis, almost the entire periodic table was revealed. In the roots, the plant accumulates iron, selenium, barium and strontium. However, this is not only an advantage, but also a disadvantage. Plants growing on contaminated soils can pick up unwanted elements in off-scale quantities. Therefore, pay attention to the ecology of those places where you dig up raw materials.

The roots are used to treat enterocolitis and diarrhea of ​​any origin.

Now the horse sorrel is somehow forgotten, in general, this plant is unfashionable. But in the meantime, no one canceled its medicinal properties in accordance with fashion.

In the 60s, studies were carried out showing that liquid root extract horse sorrel in a dose of 50-60 drops per reception 3 times a day had a beneficial effect on patients with stage 1-2 hypertension, providing a calming and hypotensive effect.

Decoction prepared from 1 tablespoon of chopped roots and 2 glasses of water. Boil for 10-15 minutes, filter, leave for 2-4 hours and take a tablespoon every 2 hours before meals as a laxative. The effect occurs in 8-10 hours.

The same broth, but diluted 10 times, is used as a fixing and astringent agent.

According to some reports, the decoction of the roots has a hemostatic effect in case of internal bleeding.

Alcohol tincture horse sorrel is prepared by pouring crushed roots with vodka in a ratio of 1: 4. Insist for 2 weeks in a dark place, filter and take 20-30 drops 3 times a day in the treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, including internal bleeding, and even hypertension.

In the clinic of the Tomsk Medical Institute, back in the 70s of the last century, a decoction of horse sorrel seeds was used for dyspepsia and dysentery in conjunction with other drugs. Used a decoction prepared at the rate of 5 g of seeds on 2 ½ cup 3 times a day.

The leaves are used in folk medicine. For skin diseases accompanied by itching, a concentrated decoction is used to wash the affected areas. This method was popularly treated for scabies.

In addition, both the leaves and roots of sorrel can be used to dye wool and silk fabrics. Actually, this is how it has been used by the people for centuries. The color, depending on the recipe, can be brown, orange and yellow.


Long-term intake of sorrel, as well as other plants containing anthroquinones, is undesirable. It is also contraindicated in kidney diseases, pulmonary tuberculosis, salt metabolism disorders (metabolic arthritis). As a laxative, it is not recommended to use it for inflammation in the intestines. In small doses, when trying to obtain an astringent effect, this is not a contraindication.

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