(Rumex acetosa 'Large Leaf')
Large Leaf Sorrel is a perennial herb that is native to Eurasia but can be commonly found growing throughout the northeastern United States. At maturity, this plant reaches the height of 2' and features basal clumps of 4-6” arrowhead shaped leaves, and terminal spikes that bare clusters of greenish flowers that fade to reddish-brown. This plant can be grown in a container, makes dye, self sows, and is both edible and medicinal.
Variety: Large Leaf Sorrel
Also Known As: Garden Sorrel, Sheep Sorrel, Dock, Sour Dock, De Belleville Sorrel.
Native to: Afghanistan, Albania, Altay, Amur, Austria, Baleares, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Buryatiya, Central European Rus, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Chita, Corse, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East European Russia, Finland, France, Føroyar, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Inner Mongolia, Iran, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Khabarovsk, Kirgizstan, Korea, Krasnoyarsk, Krym, Manchuria, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, North Caucasus, North European Russi, Northwest European R, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Primorye, Qinghai, Romania, Sardegna, Sicilia, South European Russi, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Taiwan, Tibet, Transcaucasus, Turkey-in-Europe, Tuva, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, West Himalaya, West Siberia, Xinjiang, Yugoslavia.
Introduced into: Alaska, Alberta, Aleutian Is., Argentina Northeast, Argentina South, British Columbia, Chad, Chile South, Connecticut, Haiti, Labrador, Maine, Manitoba, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Brunswick, New Hampshire, New York, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Québec, Saskatchewan, Svalbard, Vermont.
Grown as: Perennial
Maturity (Blooms): June to August
Light: Full Sun.
Soil Moisture: Medium. Well Drained.
Attracts Beneficial Insects?: No.
Sow Depth: 1/4"
USDA Zone: 3-9
Produces: basal clumps of 4-6” arrowhead shaped leaves, and terminal spikes that bare clusters of greenish flowers that fade to reddish-brown.
Garden Uses: Grown in the herb or vegetable garden. Flower spikes can produce a somewhat showy effect with a large planting. Can also be grown well in containers.
Leaves: raw or cooked. They make a thirst-quenching on their own, or can be added to salads, used as a potherb or pureed and used in soups. A delicious lemon-like flavor, liked by most people who try them, they can be rather overpowering in quantity and are more generally used as a flavoring in mixed salads. The leaves can also be dried for later use. The leaves can be available all through the winter, especially in mild weather or if a little protection is given to the plants. The leaves should be used sparingly in the diet. The juice of the leaves can be used as a curdling agent for milks.
Flowers: cooked as a vegetable or used as a garnish.
Root: cooked. It is dried, ground into a powder and made into noodles.
Seed: raw or cooked. Ground into a powder and mixed with other flours to make bread. The seed is easy to harvest, but is rather small and fiddly to use.
Enemies: Sorrel plants struggle when planted alongside tall plants such as beans or corn. Taller plants can block out light, stunting the growth of smaller plants and herbs.
Aids in Digestion: The high content of dietary fiber that can be found in most varieties of sorrel means that your digestive health can be improved by adding these leaves to your soups and salads. Dietary fiber adds bulk to food as it moves through the digestive system, improving your gastrointestinal health and reducing conditions like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and cramping, as well as gastrointestinal issues. Dietary fiber can also help to reduce total cholesterol in the body, thereby protecting heart health, and reducing chances of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
Regulates Blood Pressure: Sorrel has a very significant level of potassium (1 cup contains 15% of your daily recommended intake), which is an essential mineral for human health. Potassium is a vasodilator, as well as is instrumental in maintaining fluid balance throughout the body. This means that potassium reduces the stress on the cardiovascular system by relaxing the blood vessels and arteries. Lowered blood pressure reduces the chances of dangerous blood clotting and excessive strain on the heart that can lead to coronary heart disease and other complications.
Prevents Cancer: Although the studies looking into the antioxidant components of sorrel are still ongoing, there is a good evidence that it contains polyphenolic compounds, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, all of which function as antioxidants in the human body. The wealth of antioxidants that sorrel contains means that it is very effective at seeking out free radicals in the body and neutralizing them before they can cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous cells. Antioxidants have a wide range of effects in the body, but cancer prevention is their most high-profile benefit.
Improves Eyesight: Vitamin A, another of the essential vitamins found in sorrel, has been closely connected to the improvement in eyesight and a reduction of macular degeneration and cataracts. Beta-carotene, which is a derivative of vitamin A, acts as an antioxidant, and combined with the other important antioxidant compounds in the body, it can greatly boost eye health and prevent age-related degradation.
Circulation and Energy: The significant levels of iron in sorrel mean that it boosts the red blood cell production and prevents anemia (iron deficiency). Increased circulation boosts oxygen levels throughout the body in the vital organs, boosts hair growth, increases energy levels, and speeds up the healing process (in conjunction with the protein content of sorrel).
Boosts Immunity: The vitamin C content in sorrel is impressive (a single cup of sorrel contains 106% of your daily recommended intake), which means that your immune system can be optimized. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, stimulates the immune system and increases the white blood cell count in the body, which is the first line of defense against pathogens and other foreign invaders in the body. Vitamin C also helps to reduce swelling, prevent scurvy, and even has analgesic (pain-relief) properties when consumed in high quantities.
Treats Skin Conditions: The leaves of sorrel have been used in two ways to treat skin conditions. The leaves, when dried as an herb can be eaten, and this has been connected with a reduction in ringworm and itchy, dry skin. When fresh leaves are ground up, the liquid that is extracted can be applied topically to the infected area in question to reduce rashes and irritation. This is likely due to the vitamin C and vitamin A content in the leaves, as well as the other nutraceuticals found in this herb.
Heart Health and Diabetes: Apart from the other heart-related benefits, it is important to remember that sorrel belongs to the oxalis family, which has been closely associated with improving the condition of diabetics and boosting heart health in general. Again, this is likely due to the organic compounds and anthocyanins found in sorrel, which interact with almost every system in the body to boost functionality and health.
Improves Kidney Health: Sorrel has been shown to have a diuretic effect, particularly when the leaves are dried and then consumed within a few days. As a diuretic, sorrel stimulates urination, which cleans out the kidneys, taking with it any extra toxins, salts, water, and even a certain percentage of fat.
Word of Caution: Oxalic acid is a toxin, so eating sorrel in a moderate amount is important. Also, oxalic acid contributes to the growth of kidney stones, so if that is already a health concern, you should avoid eating oxalic acid-rich foods like sorrel. Also, when cooking sorrel, do not use cast iron or aluminum cookware, as the metal will interact with oxalic acid and cause the herb to take on a very unpleasant metallic taste.
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(Salvia Pratensis 'Meadow')
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(Salvia farinacea 'Blue')
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