Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Rumex crispus

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This plant contains oxalic acid, oxalates, chrysophanic acid, emodin, tannin, and other chemicals,
Horses and sheep that ingest the plant in large quantities can develop dermatitis. Dermatitis attributed to the plant is said to be from a content of rumicin, which can have rubificient properties. Rumicin is a name for chrysophantic acid.

In an investigation of "weed dermatitis" an extract of the plant produced negative patch test reactions, in all 50 patients tested. (Shelmire 1939).  The plant is said to produce dermatitis is "susceptible" individuals (Muenscher 1951).

∂ toxicity: 0; see oxalate toxidrome
∂ constituents: anthraquinone glycosides, tannins, rumicin and oxalates
∂ may cause changes in lactation; milk may become ill-flavored and reduced in nutritional
quality; a reduction or cessation in lactation may also occur (Muenscher, p. 19); an assortment
of plant chemicals, including some toxins, can be secreted during lactation; oxalic acid and
oxalates may decrease absorption of some nutrients (Libert and Franceschi; Westbrooks and
Preacher, p. 47); may also induce gastric disturbances (Duke, p. 415)
∂ handling of fresh leaves may cause contact dermatitis

Composition: Leaves (Fresh weight) - Water: 92.6 Calories: 21 Protein: 1.5 Fat: 0.3 Carbohydrate: 4.1 Fiber: 0.9 Ash: 1.5 Calcium: 74 Phosphorus: 56 Iron: 5.6 Vitamin A: 1.38 Thiamine: 0.06 Riboflavin: 0.08 Niacin: 0.4 Vitamin C: 30
Note: The figure for vitamin A is in milligrammes.
Known Hazards: Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavor. Perfectly allright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take special caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

 Pest Manag Sci. 2004 Aug;60(8):803-8.  
Screening extracts of Achyranthes japonica and Rumex crispus for activity against various plant pathogenic fungi and control of powdery mildew.
Kim JC, Choi GJ, Lee SW, Kim JS, Chung KY, Cho KY.
Biological Function Research Team, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology, Yusong-Gu, Taejon, Korea.

Methanol extracts of fresh materials of 183 plants were screened for in vivo antifungal activity against Magnaporthe grisea, Corticium sasaki, Botrytis cinerea, Phytophthora infestans, Puccinia recondita and Erysiphe graminis f sp hordei. Among them, 33 plant extracts showed disease-control efficacy of more than 90% against at least one of six plant diseases. The methanol extracts of Achyranthes japonica (whole plant) and Rumex crispus (roots) at concentrations greater than 11 g fresh weight of plant tissue per litre of aqueous Tween 20 solution effectively controlled the development of barley powdery mildew caused by E graminis f sp hordei in an in vivo assay using plant seedlings. At a concentration of 300 g fresh weight of plant tissue per litre of Tween 20 solution, the two extracts were as efficient as the fungicide fenarimol (30 mg litre(-1)) and more active than the fungicide polyoxin B (100 and 33 mg litre(-1)) against Sphaerotheca fuliginea on cucumber plants in glasshouse trials.

Aust Vet J. 2000 Jun;78(6):392-9.
Aero-allergens in canine atopic dermatitis in southeastern Australia based on 1000 intradermal skin tests.
Mueller RS, Bettenay SV, Tideman L.
Animal Skin & Allergy Clinic, Mount Waverley, Victoria.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the most relevant aero-allergens involved in canine atopic dermatitis in southeastern Australia and provide information about these aero-allergens to the general practitioner. PROCEDURE: Dogs presented to the Animal Skin & Allergy Clinic with history and clinical signs of atopic dermatitis were injected intradermally with 38 different allergens and negative and positive control. Intradermal skin tests in 1000 dogs were retrospectively evaluated. RESULTS: One third of all patients reacted to the house dust mite Dermatophagoides farinae. Allergens reacting in more than 15% of the patients were wheat (Triticum aestivum), sweet vernal (Anthoxanthum odoratum), English couch (Agropyron repens), yellow dock (Rumex crispus), Mexican tea (Chenopodium ambrosioides), plantain (Plantago lanceolata), melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia) and peppercorn (Schimus spp). CONCLUSION: House dust mites are the most common allergens in canine atopic dermatitis in southeastern Australia and D farinae is involved most frequently. However, a number of grass, weed and tree pollens also are involved regularly.

Vet Hum Toxicol. 1990 Oct;32(5):468-70.
Fatal poisoning by Rumex crispus (curled dock): pathological findings and application of scanning electron microscopy.
Reig R, Sanz P, Blanche C, Fontarnau R, Dominguez A, Corbella J.
Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Spain.

A case of fatal poisoning due to ingestion of the plant Rumex crispus (curled dock) is described. The patient, a 53-year-old male, presented with gastrointestinal symptoms, severe hypocalcemia, metabolic acidosis and acute hepatic insufficiency. Despite therapeutic measures, the patient died 72 h after ingestion of the plant material. Noteworthy among the pathological findings were centrolobular hepatic necrosis and birefringent crystals in the liver and kidneys that were identified by histochemical techniques and scanning electron microscopy. These observations are compared with other reports in the medical literature, with an emphasis on the risk involved in the use of these plants for culinary or medicinal purposes.

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1990 Jun 15;196(12):1981-4.
Acute oxalate poisoning attributable to ingestion of curly dock (Rumex crispus) in sheep.
Panciera RJ, Martin T, Burrows GE, Taylor DS, Rice LE.
Department of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078.

Ten of 100 mature ewes were afflicted with acute oxalate toxicosis within 40 hours after being temporarily penned in a lot that contained considerable growing Rumex crispus (curly dock). Clinical signs of toxicosis included excess salivation, tremors, ataxia, and recumbency. Affected ewes were markedly hypocalcemic and azotemic. Oxalate crystals were not observed in urine. Gross postmortem lesions were minimal and nondiagnostic in 2 ewes that died peracutely, but perirenal edema and renal tubular degeneration were clearly observable in ewes euthanatized on the third day of toxicosis. Diagnosis of oxalate toxicosis was confirmed by histopathologic findings. Samples of Rumex spp contained 6.6 to 11.1% oxalic acid on a dry-weight basis, a concentration comparable with that in other oxalate-containing plants that have caused acute oxalate toxicosis.