Rumex acetosella, commonly referred to as red sorrel, field sorrel or sheep’s sorrel and sour weed is a perennial flowering plant in the buckwheat or Polygonaceae family. It is native to the British Isles and Eurasia but has been naturalized in the US and many other parts of the world. Red sorrel thrives in a wide range of habitats and is commonly seen in grasslands, floodplains, and yellow pine forests. The plant flowers in March to November bringing forth reddish (female) and yellow-green (male) flowers in clusters of branched inflorensce at the tip of the stem. Red sorrel’s flowers have a typical droop and feature 3 petals and 3 sepals.
[Note: The Right Flowers is not a medical site. Knowledge of and information about the therapeutic benefits and applications of flowers, while known through the ages, does not constitute medical advice. If you are having health issues, you should consult with a physician.]
Red sorrel’s leaves and flowers have been used as natural remedies for generations. These parts of the plant contain anthraquinones including oxalates, vitamins, and emodin. In addition, they are rich in glycosides including quercetin-3d-galactoside and hyperoside. The presence of these compounds gives sheep’s sorrel depurative, diuretic, antiscorbutic and febrifuge properties.
Red sorrel’s health benefits include:
Red sorrel contains vitamin A, an important component in the fight against cataracts and macular degeneration. Beta carotene, a derivative of vitamin A, when combined with other antioxidants in the body helps in improving eye health and stalling sight problems closely related to age.
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Sheep sorrel has vitamin C content which is great for strengthening your immune system. Vitamin C fondly referred to as ascorbic acid, revitalizes the immune system and boosts the number of white blood cells in the body. By now, you know that white blood cells are the first line of defense the body calls upon when faced with foreign threats and pathogens. Vitamin C also comes in handy in the fight against scurvy and is said to have analgesic properties when consumed in sufficient quantities.
Diabetes and heart health
Since sorrel has oxalic acid, it is great for improving chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart-related problems. In addition, anthocyanin and organic compounds in the plant interact with the body to enhance health and functionality.
Sorrel leaves and flowers are commonly used to treat skin conditions such as dry, flaky skin and ringworm infestation. The leaves and flowers can be chewed raw or dried, ground, mixed with water and applied topically at the site of the infection. These aerial parts of the plant are thought to derive their beneficial properties from the high concentration of Vitamin A and C in them.
Managing diabetes, treating skincare, boosting immunity and enhancing your eyesight are just a few of the fascinating health benefits associated with red sorrel. With all these benefits in mind, it is probably time to have this easy-to-propagate flowering plant in your backyard.