Characteristics of sorrel plant
Common English name: sorrel, common sorrel, garden sorrel.
- Spanish: acedera, acederilla, acedilla, vinagrera, agrilla, mineta
- Portuguese and Galician: forkleaf, azedeira, forkleaf
Scientific name:Rumex acetosa L.
Etymology: "acetosa" refers to the acidity of the plant, which is rich in oxalic acid.
Source: sorrel is a plant native to Europe.
Habitat: Sorrel is a nitrophilous plant that likes moist and uncultivated places, being found among stones, walls, ruined buildings and debris. It grows in all types of soil, and is a common weed in gardens and orchards in Europe and North America, especially in acid soils where it grows like acweed. Forests, grasslands, bogs, rivers, etc. It is especially favored by wet weather and soil rich in iron, silicon or nitrogen.
Distribution: Found in most of Europe (including Britain), North Africa, temperate Asia and North America.
Description of sorrel
The plant has a rhizomatic or thickened root, from which the basal rosette leaves and the flowering stem arise in, which can attain 90 - 120cm. high. The stem branches at the top.
Sorrel leaves are alternate and entire. The basal leaves (rosette) are oblong and large, 20cm. long by 13cm. wide, witn a long grooved petiole. The leaves in the flower stalk are sagittate or clasping, sessile (without petiole).
Depending on the type of soil, the leaves often have a tinge of red scarlet.
They are edible and have acidic flavor, being used in salads, soups and stews.
Sorrel flowers from May to June. It is a dioecious plant (female and male plants are plants), with small, green flowers, arranged in dense panicles. The male flowers are greenish, while female are reddish. They are pollinated by the wind, and fill with fruit in summer.
- Leaves and roots
They have a tangy, fresh and pleasant taste, but they should not be consumed in large quantities because they contain oxalic acid.
- Medicinal Uses: Sorrel leaves are dried to be used as a medicinal plant. They have refreshing, laxative and diuretic properties, with a characteristic lemony flavor. For its astringency and hemostatic power, root and leaves are used against bleeding and hemorrhoids.
Composition of sorrel
- Anthraquinones: crisofanol, crisofanina, chrysophanic acid (root), emodin. Anthraquinones are cathartic components (they accelerate defecation) present in some plants that have strong laxative or purgative effects.
- Oxalate: sorrel leaves are rich in oxalic acid, reason why it should be consumed in small amounts in our diet. Oxalates can lead to the formation of kidney stones. To reduce its content in oxalates, leaves, always have to be consumed tender (older leaves are not eaten) previously being boiled. Oxalates are soluble in water and left in the cooking broth, that should be discarded.
- Flavonoids: hyperoside, hyperin, quercetin, rutin, vitexin. The leaves contain hyperoside, a flavonoid present in most antibronchitic plants such as coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) and St. John's wort (Hyperycum perforatum). Sorrel soups are usually given in cases of cold for its antitussive properties.
- Roots have high doses of chrysophanic acid with antiseptic and antispasmodic properties.
- Tannins: Seeds and roots are rich in tannins.
Related species of sorrel
- Curly dock, yellow dock, curled dock (Rumex crispus L.)
- Sheep's sorrel, field sorrel, red sorrel (Rumex acetosella L.)
- Shield-leaf sorrel, buckler sorrel (Rumex scutatus L)
More information about sorrel in the listing above.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.