Sorrel, also known as sour dock, is a hardy perennial plant thought to have originated in Asia. Sorrel also grows throughout Europe and North America. High in vitamin C, sorrel was traditionally used as a cure for scurvy. It has a tangy flavor that complements many soups and sauces and also is eaten raw in salads.
Sorrel provides the fruity tang to many popular fruit-flavored herbal teas and adds considerable anitoxidant power to these health beverages. Sorrel has been found to disarm toxins in food and toxins produced as byproducts of eating unhealthy and highly processed foods. Red sorrel is a more powerful free radical scavenger than vitamin E; it reduces mutations that can lead to colon and skin cancer and induces self-destruction in cancer cells, preventing them from replicating. Make red sorrel tea by adding 2 cups of dried red sorrel to 10 cups of hot water and steeping for 15 minutes.
Your cardiovascular health may benefit from adding sorrel to your diet. By neutralizing free radicals, this spinach-like vegetable prevents oxidation of cholesterol, a process that can lead to atherosclerotic plaque formation and heart disease. Sorrel also may lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, the bad form of cholesterol, and reduce blood pressure. Red sorrel contains antioxidant pigments known as anthocyanins that offer liver-protective benefits. The same compounds were found to prevent herpes virus infection in a study by researchers at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Phytochemistry, University of Muenster, Germany and published in the January 2011 issue of the journal "Antiviral Research."
Sorrel may be useful for reducing heavy metal in the environment, according to a report published in the May 2010 issue of the journal "Environmental Pollution." In the study, sorrel plants exposed to zinc, lead and cadmium absorbed the metals through their roots and converted them into soluble, inactive forms. The study was conducted at the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology at the University of Basque Country, Spain.
Sorrel is a low-maintenance perennial that you may have in your garden for up to 10 years, says Charles Boning, author of the book, "Florida's Best Herbs and Spices." This useful plant can be categorized as both an herb and a vegetable. Prepare it like spinach in omelets and soups or chop it up raw in salads. Sorrel leaves can harvested as needed. As a caution, this plant contains oxalic acid and may cause kidney stones in susceptible people. Talk to your doctor about using sorrel in your diet.
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- "Antiviral Research"; Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins from Rumex Acetosa L. Inhibit the Attachment of Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1; K. Gescher, et al.; January 2011rel="nofollow"
- "Environmental Pollution"; Differences in Edta-assisted Metal Phytoextraction Between Metallicolous ... .; O.Barrutia, et al.; May 2010rel="nofollow"
- "Florida's Best Herbs and Spices"; Charles R. Boning; 2010rel="nofollow"
- National Geographic; Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World's Food Plants; 2008rel="nofollow"
- Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.