Properties and Benefits of Patience Dock: Today’s article targets a popular green leafy vegetable native to Central and Southern Europe: patience dock (Rumex patientia). Garden patience or patience dock is a green leafy herb from the buckwheat family. It is a highly versatile culinary vegetable, but also a treasured medicinal herb.
Garden patience is an excellent natural remedy against constipation, promotes recovery after diarrhea episodes and has proven useful in easing gastroparesis symptoms. Moreover, it is known to stimulate uterine contractions, aid digestion and make an excellent tonic and detox food because of its diuretic properties which promote the elimination of toxins from the body.
Patience dock is a flowering herb of the buckwheat family and a very popular spring vegetable. Patience dock emerges in early to mid-spring as a group of deep green, large, elongated leaves with a thick stalk, emerging from above-ground. The plant, consisting of tightly-knit bunches of leaves, is picked by late May and either added to broths, made into a puree side-dish alongside polenta or used to cover the popular rolls of meat known as meat rolls (sarmale).
If left to mature, patience dock becomes slightly bitter as the leaves turn a dark-green. It occurs spontaneously in back gardens in Central and Southeast Europe from March up until September. Many varieties of the Rumex genus reach heights of almost 2 meters.
What about health benefits? Although it is poorly studied compared to the so-called ‘superfoods’, patience dock enlists a variety of impressive properties and health benefits, most of which come from its culinary use. Here are 7 reasons why garden patience is good for you:
1) Excellent detoxification food. Patience dock is a powerful diuretic, making it ideal for a spring detox regimen because it favors toxin elimination. In addition to this, it is a great tonic because it supplies the body with important nutrients such as iron, magnesium, small amounts of potassium, calcium and incredible amounts of vitamins A and C, which help it recover from a long winter of bad eating habits. A simple detox regimen in early spring is all you need to start the year right, with lots of energy and a positive attitude.
Remember: a detox regimen doesn’t mean you have to starve yourselves to death with fruit juices or empty your pockets to purchase fancy foods. The best detox diet is to increase your intake of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables from local markets while reducing your intake of highly processed foods, soda and candy. It might even turn into a lifestyle. Spinach, carrots, leek, spring onions and patience dock can help kick start your year.
2) Powerful natural laxative. In moderate amounts, patience dock has mild to strong purging effects, depending on the person. If your diet lacks altogether green leafy vegetables or patience dock in particular, then you might want to avoid eating an entire serving of garden patience stock because it might cause hard-core diarrhea.
For the rest, patience dock relieves constipation in a matter of hours and, if consumed regularly throughout spring, it helps cleanse the intestines and set a normal pace to digestion and bowel movements. Patience dock seeds mash are also a highly efficient diuretic and laxative.
3) Promotes recovery after diarrhea. Being a good source of magnesium and potassium (electrolyte), patience dock helps restore the body’s natural fluid balance, lost as a result of dehydration due to diarrhea, and regulates both digestion and defecation.
100 g of raw patience dock leaves contains 20% of the RDI of magnesium and only around 7% of the RDI of potassium, but one medium serving of anything made out of the plant will most likely add up to around 250-300 g of dock leaves. The reason for this is that cooking garden patience leaves will reduce them to 1/4 of their initial volume.
4) Prevents scurvy. About 100 g of patience dock leaves contains around 80% of the RDI of vitamin C which is equivalent to optimal protection against scurvy, a disease caused by severe vitamin C deficiency.
5) Boosts immunity and reduces inflammation. The powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of patience dock derive from the plants high vitamin C content, comparable to that of oranges.
Orange: 100 g contains 53.2 mg of vitamin C (90%)
Patience dock: 100 g contains 48.0 mg of vitamin C (80%)
However, cooking the leaves greatly reduces their vitamin C content. Fortunately, young patience dock leaves make great salad leaves and an even more delicious chicken breast pizza topping. Home-made chicken breast, tomato and bell-pepper pizza with chopped patience dock leaves topping is downright amazing!
6) Great for eyesight and skin. Traditional medical practices used crushed patience dock leaves or stalk poultices to treat various skin problems such as impetigo (abscesses on the skin, especially around the mouth, caused by a strong bacterial infection). Their efficiency may be owed to patience dock having both a high vitamin C content (antibacterial properties) and an incredible vitamin A content.
Vitamin A (4000 IU) is essential for keeping skin, hair and mucous membranes healthy. In skin care products it often appears under the name ‘retinol’. At the same time, vitamin A supports eye health, both improving day vision and preventing night blindness. Around 100 g of raw patience dock contain about 5x the RDI of vitamin A.
7) Helps improve gastroparesis (slight paralysis of the central digestive system nerve which regulates digestion and bowel movements). Patience dock appears to stimulate regular contractions at the level of the intestinal wall and thus helps relieve related defecation disorders. Because it also stimulates uterine contractions, it might be best to avoid eating patience dock during pregnancy for fear it may lead to miscarriage.
But overall, patience dock makes an excellent spring vegetable, ideal for shedding toxins that may have accumulated during winter. While eating the leaves has its benefits, it is best to stay away from garden patience-based supplements because you never know what they really are.