Curly dock, also called yellow dock, Rumex crispus, is a sturdy plant in the buckwheat family, Polygonaceae, native to Eurasia and now found all over the world. Throughout Europe, rubbing dock on the skin was an antidote to stinging nettles. Since both were common in wet areas, it was usually available.
Chin-ch’iao-mai is sometimes given as the Chinese name for yellow dock, but this name is also used to refer to Fagopyrum cymosum (golden buckwheat)
The Greek Dioscorides didn’t specifically mention a curly-leafed dock in De Materia Medica, although his entry on “lapathum” mentions four different kinds of Rumex including one that resembles plantain.
Some interesting legends and folklore surround this common weed. One of the weirdest was the belief that it could 'draw' love. The lovelorn were instructed to dig a root of the curly dock, dress it in a similar manner as the one they had affection for and carry this doll for a month. (now comes the weird part) After carrying this doll for a month, they were instructed to chop up the root and boil it in water. When this potion cooled, the lovelorn was to wash their entire body in it. This would draw the one person they loved to them.
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