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Sorrel for improved digestive and anti-inflammatory function, plus more benefits


rumex acetosa

anti inflammatory

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Rumex L. species have received huge recognition since humans used plants and herbs as a cure against diseases due to their healing benefits and various therapeutic advantages. Rumex is the second largest genus of the Polygonaceae family and among its most famous representatives is Rumex acetosa, which we know as "sorrel". This is a perennial herbaceous plant with numerous applications and opportunities for culinary use, which we will present to you in this article.

What is Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)

Rumex acetosa - the Latin name of the sorrel, belongs to Polygonaceae  family, the species found all over the world (African, Asian, American and European countries). [ref. 1] ] About 200 species of the genus Rumex are well-known, and sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is traditionally used as a vegetable, as well as for medical purposes. Its diverse possibilities for use in traditional and cultural applications are the subject of many studies revealing its phytochemical and pharmacological properties. 

Although R. acetosa is known for its traditional areas of use, its leaves, stem and roots are used as food for humans. Many authors have studied the nutritional and dietary properties of the leaves, stem and oil of this plant and concluded that they have the potential for creating a niche in the food industry and even serving as a functional food.

Sorrel is a rich green plant that contains important vitamins and minerals for the human body. Part of its nutritional profile includes oxalic acid, the flavonoid glycoside quercetin-galactoside and vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for maintaining bone growth, building a strong immune system and good vision.
  • Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, with essential antioxidant activity and function in the synthesis of collagen in the human body.
  • Sodium, potassium and magnesium are the most common minerals in human cells and each plays a role in electrolyte and liquid balance.
  • Calcium and iron, which are necessary for bone growth. They are a structural component of the skeletal formation and are necessary for the distribution of oxygen and DNA synthesis.   [ref. 1] 

Rumex acetosa also possesses several secondary metabolites - anthraquinones, polyphenols, naphthalenes and other compounds, and to date more than 50 compounds have been isolated from this wild vegetable. 

Pharmacological effects of sorrel and its ingredients

  • Antioxidant action - the action of Rumex acetosa has been explored in various research studies involving other plant families. R. acetosa has been shown to exhibit very strong activity in capturing free radicals with a value of IC50 is 1.86±0.06μg/mL. This provides a scientific basis for the historical use of the sorrel plant for the treatment of certain diseases in humans. 
  • Antibacterial action - periodontitis is known as "gum disease" and is a very common condition in which gums and deeper periodontal structures become inflamed, in short, it is briefly called gum inflammation. A team of scientists reported in their publication "Proteinase-inhibiting activity of an extract of Rumex acetosa L. against virulence factors of Porphyromonas gingivalis S Beckert 1, A Hensel 1", that the extract of R. acetosa has antibacterial activity against the gram-negative bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is considered one of the main etiological agents of periodontitis.  [ref. 3] There are data on the use of Rumex acetosa aboveground parts in traditional European medicine in inflammatory diseases of the epithelial tissue of the mouth, as well as in other oral diseases and infections.  [Ref. 4]  
  • Anti-inflammatory and antipyretic action - in a study of a research team from Serbia it becomes clear that rhizome extracts of R. acetosa and R. acetosella show a significant value of IC50 of 0,37 and 0,36 mg/mL respectively, therefore rhizome extracts of R. acetosa and R. acetosella act as the most selective inhibitors of COX-1 enzyme. Along with other components of the plant, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic action may be even greater, but more research is needed.

Recipes with sorrel for every kitchen

Scrambled eggs with sorrel

The necessary ingredients for the recipe are:

  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot finely chopped 
  • 2 cups sorrel, rinsed, dried and chopped with lower stems removed
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions for preparation:

  1. Over a medium heat, pre-heat a small frying pan and add the butter and oil.
  2. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallots. Stew for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  3. Add the sorrel and stir until slightly get soft. The sorrel will begin to change its color from bright green to gray-green color, which means it is ready. It only takes a few minutes.
  4. In a bowl beat together the eggs and pour the sorrel mixture into the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir until the eggs are boiled and you're ready!

Delicious sorrel soup (hot or cold)

The necessary ingredients for the recipe are:

  • 2 handful sorrel leaves, about 3 cups, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 5 to 6 small potatoes, cut into bites
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings can be sour cream or thick yogurt for hot or cold soup and finely chopped cucumber and radish for cold soup.

Instructions for preparation: 

  1. Arrange the sorrel leaves and cut into strips. Set aside. 
  2. In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onions. Cook and stir occasionally, until the onions are cooked through, about 20 minutes. 
  3. Add the sorrel, potatoes and broth. If the broth does not cover the contents, add a little water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the potatoes soften, about 15 minutes. 
  4. When the potatoes are ready, transfer half of the mixture to a blender or food processor (blenders give better results). Blend gently until the mixture is pureed and homogenous. 
  5. Repeat with the remaining soup. Return the soup to the pan over a low heat. 
  6. Temper the egg by beating it with about a quarter cup of soup, then pour the egg mixture into the pan. Cook, stir continuously, until the soup thickens, about 5 minutes. Don't boil it.


If you are serving hot soup, garnish each serving with sour cream or yogurt. If serving cold, cover the soup tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Add sour cream or yogurt and chopped cucumbers and radishes.

Sorrel pie

For this delicious recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • Crusts for pie - 1 package
  • Fresh sorrel - 2 handfuls
  • Cheese - 150 g
  • Cottage cheese - 100 g yellow cheese
  • Eggs - 4 pcs.
  • Yogurt - 5 tbsp
  • Baking soda - 3/4 tsp
  • Butter - 70 g
  • Sunflower oil - 80 ml

Instructions for preparation:

  1. The sorrel is cleaned from handles and stings, washed and put in a bowl to the side.
  2. To the sorrel you should add the beaten eggs and yogurt with the soda pre-extinguished in the milk. Add the cottage cheese and crushed cheese. Stir the stuffing well until homogeneous.
  3. Place three sheets of the crusts carefully folded into a greased tray. Put stuffing and water on top with a little melted butter and oil. Then continue with crusts, stuffing, fat and so until they are finished.
  4. Grease lightly with butter or olive oil and bake in an oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes, checking not to get overbaked.
  1. What is Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)

    • Pharmacological effects of sorrel and its ingredients

      • Recipes with sorrel for every kitchen
        • Scrambled eggs with sorrel
        • Delicious sorrel soup (hot or cold)
        • Sorrel pie


      The health benefits of sorrel can include its ability to improve vision, slow down aging, reduce skin infections, strengthen the immune system and improve digestion. This perennial plant is used to prepare delicious soups, sauces, salads and even for pie. Rich in antioxidants and nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C and magnesium, sorrel has a well-deserved place in a healthy diet and lifestyle.


      1. Rumex acetosa
      2. ScienceDirectScience DirectScienceDirect helpElsevierRELX Group
      3. Thieme E-Journals - Planta Medica / Abstract
      4. Extract from Rumex acetosa L. for prophylaxis of periodontitis: inhibition of bacterial in vitro adhesion and of gingipains of Porphyromonas gingivalis by epicatechin-3-O-(4β→8)-epicatechin-3-O-gallate (procyanidin-B2-Di-gallate) - PubMed

      The author

      Bettina Tsvetkova is a Bachelor of Marketing and Master of Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and promotional materials on a healthy topic for Bulgarian and foreign websites.


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