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What other names is Sorrel known by?

Acedera, Acedera Común, Azeda-Brava, Common Sorrel, Field Sorrel, Garden Sorrel, Oseille, Oseille Commune, Oseille des Champs, Petite Oseille, Petite Oseille des Brebis, Red Sorrel, Rumex acetosa, Rumex acetosella, Sheep's Sorrel, Sorrel Dock, Sour Dock, Surette, Vignette, Vinette, Wiesensauerampfer.

What is Sorrel?

Sorrel is a plant. People use the above ground parts for medicine.

Be careful not to confuse sorrel (Rumex acetosa) with roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), which is known as Jamaican sorrel or Guinea sorrel.

Sorrel is used for reducing sudden and ongoing pain and swelling (inflammation) of the nasal passages and respiratory tract, for treating bacterial infections along with conventional medicines, and for increasing urine flow (as a diuretic). Sorrel is also an ingredient in the herbal cancer treatment Essiac.

In combination with gentian root, European elder flower, verbena, and cowslip flower, sorrel is used orally for maintaining healthy sinuses and treating sinusitis.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Inflamed nasal passage (sinusitis). Some research suggests that taking a specific product that contains sorrel, gentian root, European elderflower, verbena, and cowslip flower (SinuComp; Sinupret, Bionorica Arzneimittel GmbH, Neumarkt, Germany) by mouth for up to 14 days improves symptoms of sinusitis, such as congestion and headache.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Breast cancer. Early research suggests that taking a specific product containing sorrel, burdock root, Indian rhubarb, and slippery elm bark (Essiac, Resperin Canada Limited, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) by mouth does not improve quality of life or mood in people with breast cancer.
  • Bronchitis. Early research shows that taking a specific combination product containing sorrel, gentian root, European elderflower, verbena, and cowslip flower (Sinupret, Bionorica Arzneimittel GmbH, Neumarkt, Germany) by mouth for 10 days improves cough and other symptoms of bronchitis.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Infections.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of sorrel for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

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