A.K.A. Chinese Rhubarb, Da huang, Turkey Rhubarb
Originating from northwest China and Tibet, Rhubarb has been used in
medicine for more than 2,000 years. Its use gradually spread through
India, reaching Europe during the Renaissance overland via Asia Minor '
hence the common name, Turkey rhubarb. The plant was a favorite
remedy with early Persian and Arabian physicians. The Rhubarb grown
for cooking and eating is usually r. rhabarbarum, an 18th-century
Rhubarb was imported form Europe to treat constipation, where its use as
a laxative was the standard. Experience taught that due to Rhubarb's
powerful action as a laxative, the amounts used should be carefully
monitored and avoided by those with old intestinal problems, such as
colitis. In China, it is the root known as Da huang, which means 'big
yellow' which is the color of Rhubarb's tinctures and decoctions.
Rhubarb's effectiveness is controlled by the amount taken. When taken
in small doses, it has a tonic effect as a blood builder and blood
cleanser. Rhubarb can be used as a treatment for chronic blood
diseases. It increases salivary and gastric flow, improves appetite
and cleanses the liver by encouraging bile flow. Rhubarb, by its
cleansing action, encourages the healing process of duodenal ulcers and
enhances gallbladder function.
large doses, Rhubarb can be used for emptying the bowels thoroughly.
Rhubarb supports the colon as a laxative in constipation and as an
astringent in case of diarrhea. The A-factors
(anthraquinones) of this
herb differ somewhat from those of
- only some of them reach the large intestines intact, while
others are re-absorbed in the small intestine, and later released into
the large intestine. The timing of the absorption of Rhubarb is thus
displaced to some degree from other popular laxative agents, thereby
promoting longer and smoother activity of the whole. It should be
noted that consumption of Rhubarb Root may color the urine yellow or
red, but this is not concerning. It acts as an aperient and astringent,
but only in small doses. In
large amounts, Rhubarb Root is used for
relief from constipation, whereas small amounts of the herb are used for
diarrhea. Rhubarb is also helpful to prevent and to eliminate
primary chemical constituents of Rhubarb include anthraquinones,
chrysophanol, emodin, physcion, sennidine, rheidine, palmmidine, tannins,
catechin, gallic acid, oxalic acid, rutin, phytosterol, and calcium
oxalate. It is the anthraquinones that contribute to the laxative and
purgative properties of Rhubarb, yet the tannin content helps balance
those properties, and even stops diarrhea. Chinese research is
investigating Rhubarb's ability to possibly inhibit cancer cells.
It is generally considered a mild laxative that produces a soft stool
six to ten hours after ingestion. Rhubarb is especially well suited for
children since it is very mild in action.
Amenorrhea, Anemia, Boils, Constipation, Diarrhea, Digestion Aid,
Dysentery, Dysmenorrhea, Gallbladder, Headaches, Hemorrhages (internal),
Hepatitis, Jaundice, Liver Problems, Menstruation (promotes), Skin
Eruptions (boils/pustules), Stomach, Ulcers (duodenal), Worms (ring/pin/thread)
This product is not recommended during pregnancy, or while
breastfeeding as it can loosen the infant's bowels. Do not use when the
colon is already empty or the astringent properties may cause colon
discomfort. Using Rhubarb Root may temporarily cause the urine to appear
yellow or red, but this is a common occurrence and no cause for alarm.
Do not take rhubarb or any other stimulant laxative if you take Lasix (furosemide);
the combination can lead to potassium depletion.
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley