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Yellow Dock Latin name Origin Part used Dose Constituents Rumex crispus Europe Root 1 teaspoon per cup, 1-2 cups per day Tincture 2ml 1-2 times daily Tannins, anthraquinones, oxalates, iron bitters Directory of useful herbs 63 Primary action Cleansing herb Laxative Secondary action Iron tonic How it works Anthraquinones are absorbed during digestion into the blood where they are circulated back through the gut wall, irritating and stimulating it. This causes the gut muscles to move more rapidly, hence their laxative effect.

2 Metabolic stimulants (such as caffeine) increase the rate at which water is circulated and eliminated. 3 Electrolytic compounds (such as loop diuretics) change the balance of sodium and potassium entering and leaving cells in the kidneys, resulting in more urination. Iron tonics These provide iron in a concentrated form, which can make up depleted stores in the body. Iron is found in foods in two forms: haem and non haem iron. Haem iron is found in meat and animal products, and is already metabolised into an easily absorbable form.

This will become more common throughout Europe in the near future. How herbs work Herbs contain small quantities of chemicals, compared to modern pharmaceutical products which extract or synthesise one chemical in much larger amounts. Valerian, for example, appears to improve the quality of your sleep as well as helping you to doze off and doesn’t cause a sluggish feeling in the morning, unlike many pharmaceutical products. This is because the chemicals it contains are in very small amounts and don’t last long in the body.

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