Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is an herb, also known as red sorrel, sour weed and field sorrel. It is a species of flowering plant in the buckwheat family of Polygonaceae.
Americans consider sheep sorrel to be just a common weed, particularly in areas where blueberries grow. However, its medicinal uses have been known for quite some time. Historically, sheep sorrel has been used to treat a variety of issues such as inflammation, sinusitis, scurvy and cancer. The beauty of sheep sorrel herb is that every single part of the plant can be used medicinally.
The sheep sorrel herb is a rich source of vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids. However, it is most well-known within the alternative cancer treatment community as one of the main ingredients in several formulas such as René Caisse’s Essiac tea. ESSIAC is a world-renowned herbal tea formula that has recently gained popularity as a whole-body tonic.
René Caisse, who popularised ESSIAC tea as a cancer cure, felt sheep sorrel was the most active cancer fighter among all the herbs present in her formula.
In 2012, the results of a study out of Hungary were published that showed that the Sheep Sorrel herb demonstrated substantial cell growth inhibitory activity (at least 50% inhibition of cell proliferation) against one or more cancerous cell lines.
Sheep sorrel leaves make a healthy addition to salads and soups. It may be taken as a tincture, capsule, powder or tea form.
Do not use sheep sorrel if there is a history of kidney stones, due to high amounts of oxalic acid present. It is also generally recommended that children and pregnant or breastfeeding women avoid this herb.
It is not advised for people with a tendency towards diarrhea. Diarrhea can lead to potassium loss, and those taking certain diuretic medications which can also lead to potassium loss, should be cautious with sheep sorrel.