Meadow Sorrel was mentioned in ancient times. It was used as a medicinal and edible plant from the earliest times. Something that has been forgotten for a long time is becoming more important again in the present.
The flowers of the plant are rather inconspicuous. They grow in a kind of panicle. The harvest time for common sorrel begins in April.
Meadow Sorrel belongs to the group of wild herbs and is native to Central and Western Europe. More than 120 species of dock plants are known. The common sorrel is mainly found on nutrient-rich meadows and along roadsides. This plant belongs to the knotweed family and is related to other crops such as buckwheat and rhubarb.
Sorrel is a perennial hardy plant with a high need for nutrients. The average height is 20 to 50 centimeters. The long, arrow-shaped leaves, reminiscent of spinach, are characteristic. The color of the leaves varies from dark green to reddish, depending on the content of oxalic acid. The flowers of the plant are rather inconspicuous.
They grow in a kind of panicle. The harvest time for common sorrel begins in April. As with rhubarb, the last day of harvest is June 24th. From this point on, the concentration of oxalic acid in the plant increases and gives it a bitter and unpleasant taste.
The green leaves of the meadow sorrel taste pleasantly sour and fresh. The vitamin C content of wild herbs is higher than that of many other herbs. Other components besides the two already mentioned are bitter substances, flavonoids, vitamin A and tannins. Sorrel has been shown to have a blood-forming, blood-purifying and diuretic effect. The sorrel was already valued in ancient times.
The Greeks and Romans used it to prevent vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, for example to cure scurvy. It was also used in early times as a means of lowering fever. Sorrel was also considered a measure against constipation or was used for ear and toothache. Sorrel roots were also used to treat itching in the past.
Today the plant is found again in medicine but also in many kitchens and menus. It is used in combination with other leaf salads as a fresh salad. Sorrel can be prepared like spinach or is an additive in herb butter, herb quark or the famous Frankfurt green sauce. Sorrel soup can also be found on many menus. The vitamin-rich leaves lose their fresh green color when cooked, but the taste is retained.
At the end of the season, sorrel can also be placed in jars with oil. When the plant dries, the taste is almost completely lost. The sorrel is collected in meadows that are as untreated as possible, as fertilizers and pesticides are absorbed by the plant and can thus get into the human body. The green, young and flawless leaves are mainly used. If the leaves are already reddish in color, the concentration of oxalic acid is significantly higher.
The leaves are processed in a similar way to arugula or lettuce leaves: rinse well, shake dry, remove hard stems and pluck, cut or chop the leaves as required. If sorrel comes into contact with iron or aluminum, it changes color and becomes inedible. The green herb then takes on the metallic taste. In connection with dairy products - similar to rhubarb - the acid content is slightly neutralized.
The natural mode of action of wild herbs and plants is becoming more and more important in addition to conventional medical medications. Meadow sorrel can affect the health of the human body in different ways. The released ingredients of the meadow sorrel can be used well for both prophylaxis and healing. Fresh uncooked leaves have a higher content of vitamin C than lemons.
Sorrel is therefore ideal for the prevention and treatment of colds. Many common cold medicines contain sorrel extract. Sorrel has a positive effect on the body's defenses and has an antibacterial effect. Exhaustion and tiredness are counteracted by the iron contained in the plant. The bitter and tannins in sorrel are very important.
These activate the production of digestive juices and thus enable hearty and fatty dishes to be digested more easily and thus more digestible. Tannins have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects and neutralize toxins. Therefore, sorrel has been used in the past and present to treat gastric and intestinal ailments.
Sorrel tea supports blood purification and promotes general vitality. To make tea, a heaped tablespoon of fresh meadow sorrel is poured over a quarter of a liter of hot water and left to steep for no more than ten minutes. The antibacterial effect of sorrel is often used against skin blemishes, acne and pimples. A tea is also prepared for this, this is cooled and the leaves are removed.
Then the skin is cleaned with a cotton ball soaked in tea. When using meadow sorrel, some groups of people should note that ingesting products and meals of this kind can also have harmful effects on their health. On the one hand, this applies to people with kidney problems, as the oxalic acid it contains promotes the formation of kidney stones. On the other hand, pregnant women should be careful as cramps can be triggered. People with iron deficiency should also use it sparingly, as oxalic acid hinders the absorption of iron from plant and animal foods.