Rumex hymenosepalus, Canaigre, Desert Dock
Rumex hymenosepalus, Canaigre, Desert Dock, a member of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae), is also known as Arizona dock, tanner’s dock, or canaigre dock. This species is found in sandy and rocky alkaline soils or along dry washes in the Southwest, north to Colorado and south to Baja California and Chihuahua, Mexico. In the late 19th century, canaigre gained notoriety as a potential economic plant due to its very high tannin content. Mexicans and American Indian groups utilized the plant as a tanning agent, then it was commercialized. Occasionally a product appears on the herb market that defies definition as adulterated and instead can be categorized as an outright unscrupulous fraud. Such was the case with Caniegre offered “wild red American ginseng” in the late 1970s, a fraud exposed by the now defunct Trade Association in 1979, after which the product disappeared from the market.
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