The Sheep Sorrel herb has been used by the Native Americans since the olden days. In fact, many folk remedies that deal with inflammation, diarrhea, scurvy and fever have the sheep sorrel as an important ingredient.
The sheep sorrel is a common perennial weed found in grasslands, woodlands, plains and fields. It is known to have come from Eurasia but has since spread to most of the Northern hemisphere.
Known by its scientific name of rumex acestosella, the sheep sorrel possesses green arrowhead-shaped leaves and ridged stems that are commonly red. The sheep sorrel typically emerges from an aggressive rhizome. The flowers emerge from a tall, upright stem.
While it is widely regarded as an intrusive weed, sheep sorrel is widely used as a garnish and a flavoring agent in salads and soups. This is due to the weed’s tangy and lemony flavor.
Sheep sorrel has also had a long-standing reputation for being a medicinal plant. Sheep sorrel tea has long been used as a diuretic and an astringent. It has also been used as an agent to fight intestinal worms. But perhaps the best known use for sheep sorrel has been as an ingredient in the anti-cancer remedy widely known as essiac tea. Nurse Rene Caisse, acknowledged developer of essiac tea, said that she considered sheep sorrel as the most active herb in the tea for stimulating cellular regeneration, detoxification and cleansing.
Sheep sorrel contains the following: glycosides, anthraquinones (emodin, aloe emodin, chrysophanol, rhein, physcion), oxalates and tannins. It also has vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, and K. Sheep sorrel tea can be made by placing a teaspoonful of sheep sorrel herbs in a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for about 5 minutes. One to three cups of sheep sorrel tea can be taken per day.
Due to the amount of oxalic acid contained in sheep sorrel, it is recommended that it not be used in large amounts for extended periods of time as it can cause mineral deficiencies, kidney and liver damage.
The following are the health benefits attributed to sheep sorrel tea:
- May assist in the treatment of fever.
- Could aid in the treatment of diarrhea.
- Known to help in the treatment of scurvy.
- Thought to help in treating inflammation.
- Believed to contain anti-cancer properties.
- Often used in the treatment of menstrual bleeding.