Benefits Of “Rhubarb” Root Supplements
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Species: R. officinale
Also known as: Rheum, or
Chinese, Himalayan, Turkish,
or medicinal rhubarb
Parts used: Roots
Rhubarb is divided on its effects by contemporary herbalists. Some recommend low doses for diarrhea and large doses for constipation. Others just recommend it as a laxative.
However, studies have shown that it has dual effects. In small amounts this herb will treat diarrhea and in large amounts it has powerful laxative action.
Another study of women with menopause related problems using a standardized extract; showed significantly improved symptoms - particularly with hot flashes.
Rhubarb is a strange plant. Its roots are medicinal, its stems make tasty pies and its leaves are poisonous.
Chinese physicians used rhubarb plant externally as a treatment for cuts and burns and internally in small amounts for dysentery (diarrhea). They also discovered that large amounts have powerful laxative action and promote menstruation.
Bacterial dysentery was a common and often fatal disease in East Africa between the world wars. R.W. Burkitt, a physician, wrote that he had treated this disease with rhubarb almost exclusively for three years saying “I know of no remedy in medicine which has such a magical effect. No one that has ever used rhubarb would dream of using anything else.”
Rhubarb stems are used in pie fillings, but the plants leaves contain oxalic acid, which is corrosive and poisonous. It will cause burning in the mouth and throat. It will also cause nausea, vomiting, weakness and other symptoms. Fatalities have occurred.
Because this herb is a powerful laxative, it should not be used by those with chronic intestinal problems, such as ulcers or colitis.
As with all herbal nutrition supplements, rhubarb supplements should only be used in amounts typically recommended for medicinal purposes and you should always consult with a health professional first, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or taking prescription medications.
Always use laxatives as a last resort. First increase the fiber in your diet, drink more fluids, and get more physical exercise.
CHEMICAL & NUTRIENT CONTENT:
Flavone, gallic acid, glucogallin, palmidine, pectin, phytosterol, rutin, starch and tannins. High in fiber, vitamin C, K, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.
Garden rhubarb reaches three feet in height. It has thick roots and purple stems. It is considered less potent than the medicinal rhubarb; which reaches the height of ten feet. Its roots are thick and branching and its stems are round, hollow and has jointed branching spikes of numerous small flowers.
Garden rhubarb requires a dormant period in the winter and does not do well in the south. Sow seeds or root cuttings four feet apart in late spring. It requires well watered beds under full sun or partial shade. Add compost and mulch in winter.
Harvest stems for pies the second year and harvest roots on the fourth year.
Other herbs with laxative actions include aloe vera, basil, buckthorn, burdock, cascara sagrada, comfrey, dandelion, licorice, psyllium, purslane, and senna.
Other actions of rhubarb include: anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-tumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic.
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