Patience Dock - Healing Properties and Other Health Benefits

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This article provides concrete facts and information about the healing properties and health benefits of patience dock plant.

The coming of early spring means a bountiful harvest of patience dock greens growing in our backyard and in our neighbor’s vegetable garden in our apartment home in Ankara. My good old neighbor Hamide teyze and her family have been growing these perennial greens for years now and have taught me how they are grown and how they can be used as an alternative herbal treatment. Her daughter Hatice has been making several dishes out of these leafy greens and has once shared with me a really delicious and healthy patience dock salad recipe.

Known in Turkish as “labada”, this plant usually grows in abundance as early as the first days of spring, summer till late fall. And especially in some agricultural towns of the Central Anatolian region in Turkey such as Polatli and Temelli, these weedy plants can grow invasively due to its very wide plains and a suitably humid temperature.

What is Patience Dock?

Patience dock is a coarse weedy plant of the genus Rumex also known as Rumex patientia.  It is a herbaceous perennial plant of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae) which has a long taproot commonly used as a potherb and has very large, oval-shaped, and succulent leaves which are most commonly used as a vegetable.

Properties & Uses

Patience dock is also known to many as “garden patience”, “herb patience”, or “monk’s rhubarb”.  The plant usually measures from about 40-100 cm tall and has somewhat rounded or oval-shaped leaves with clustered pink-colored flowers and bears fruit that resembles like plums. They usually grow very abundantly on plains and in humid areas during early spring, summer and even till late fall. Many of these plants are native to Europe where they’ve been highly regarded as a medicinal herb by the ancient Greeks and Romans in centuries past. During the colonial times, patience docks were introduced to the United States and has now been naturalized in various parts of the country.

Facts & Classification

General Type: Forb/herb

Kingdom: Plantae

Family: Polygonaceae

Genus: Rumex

Type Specie: Rumex patientia

Growth Duration: Perennial plant

Nativity: Europe

How It Grows

Being a hardy perennial plant, patience dock is relatively so easy to grow and it reseeds very easily. Once planted, it can easily come back on each own the following season each year. Note that the patience dock plants can easily become invasive. The plant can even reach as tall as 6 to 8 feet when fertilized well and grown properly. These greens are also frost-tolerant so as early as springtime, you’ll have something worth harvesting to make fresh vegan salads and to make decocs for treatment and healing various afflictions just right after winter.

Author’s Note: The contents in this article are intended for informational purposes only.  If you have a serious medical problem, it is still best to first seek advice from your health care provider.


deepa venkitesh
Posted on Aug 7, 2011
Posted on Mar 7, 2011