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Herb Information
Name: Rhubarb
Biological Name: Rheum emodi, Rheum officinale, Rheum acuminatum, Rheum speciforme, Rheum webbianum, Rheum moorcroftianum, Rheum australe, Rheum palmatum

Polygonaceae family

Other Names: Rhubarb, amla-vetasa, aml parni, revand-chini, archu, Chinese Rhubarb, Turkey rhubarb, Da huang, Bangla Revanchini, Himalayan rhubarb, Indian rhubarb, Ladakirevanda-chini, Nattu ireval-chinni, Reval-chini, Rhabarber, Rheuchini, Rhubarb de Perse, Tursak, Variyattu
Parts Used:

The drug consists of the dried rhizome or underground stem of the plant, either whole or cut into pieces of suitable length. The roots or rhizomes are dug up, cut transversely into short pieces (rounds and flats), threaded on a string, and dried in the sun or by artificial heat.

Note: Rhizome of Rheum palmatum and other species are used, not the garden rhubarb. 

Active Compounds:

Anthraquinone derivatives such as chrysophanic acid (=chrysophanol), emodin, aloe-emodin, rhein & physcion, with their O-glycosides such as glucorhein, chrysophanein, glucoemodin; sennosides A-E, reidin C & others.


Tannins; in Chinese Rhubarb: d-catechin and epicatechin gallate, with various cinnamoyl and coumaroyl golloyl glucosides and fructoses.


Stilbene derivatives; related stilbene glycosides present in other types


Miscellaneous; volatile oil, containing diisobutyl phthalate, cinnamic and ferulic acids; rutin, fatty acids, calcium oxalate etc.

Remedies For

Purgative, alterative, hemostatic, antipyretic, anthelmintic, stomachic, bitter tonic, cathartic, laxative, atonic indigestion

Constipation (with fevers, ulcers, infections), diarrhea, Pitta dysentery, jaundice, liver disorders.

Rhubarb Root has a purgative action for use in the treatment of constipation, but also has an astringent effect following this. It therefore has a truly cleansing action upon the gut, removing debris and then astringing with antiseptic properties as well.

Note: Rhubarb Root may color the urine yellow or red.

Small doses - tonic hepatic.

Large doses - cathartic. 

Ayurvedic Applications 

Rhubarb is stomachic, bitter, tonic, cathartic. Useful for simple diarrhea, but not in constipation or any affection in which a continuous aperient action is necessary; Its stimulating combined with its aperient properties render it valuable in atonic dyspepsia. 

Best used for the ailments of children and aged persons. Combined with ginger, it may be given in the form of pill in cases where the bowels are sluggish. Ordinary dose of the powder is from 5 to 20 grains. 

Some persons chew the root. Rhubarb is an important ingredient of a large variety of herbal compounds. Mixed with Grey Powder it is an excellent remedy for irritation of the bowels, common among children when teething and in chronic dysentery, duodenal catarrh or catarrh of the biliary ducts with jaundice and in certain skin diseases.

As a mild purgative, rhubarb protects colon tone, used with licorice and psyllium in older and dryer persons (ginger or fennel is added to remove griping action-4 parts rhubarb: 1 part ginger or fennel); purges bile, ama, stagnant food and blood; reduces weight and fat. It is stronger when used with epsom salt. 

Traditional Chinese Herbalism Applications: 

Purgative, antibacterial, antitumor, antifungal, diuretic, hemostatic, cholagogue, antihypertensive, lowers serum cholesterol, anti-inflammatory 

Rhubarb is one of the more powerful herbs used in Chinese medicine. It is excellent for draining damp heat, especially when there is accompanying constipation. It moves the blood and is good for blood stagnation associated with acute stabbing pain and bruises, for which it can be taken both internally as well as externally in a liniment. 

Useful for dysenteric conditions caused by damp heat with symptoms of bleeding in the stool. It can also be taken for vomiting of blood. It can be used both internally and topically for infections. It kills blood flukes. As an external remedy for inflammatory skin conditions such as boils and bums, rhubarb powder can be used alone or combined with other herbs with a little flour and water or honey to hold it together. Combinations : It should be combined with carminative herbs to relieve any griping that may occur.


This is found native in India. It grows in Himalayas (above 8,000 to 13,000 feet.) It is also found in China, Bhutan, Tibet, Russia, Turkey and India.


Infusion, powder (1 gm.-laxative; 3 gms.-purgative), pill

Decoction: Put 1/2 - l teaspoonful of the root in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for l0 minutes. This should be drunk morning and evening.

Tincture: take 1-2ml of the tincture three times a day.


Caution: Do not use this herb is you are pregnant.


Do not take this herb if you are suffering from chronic diarrhea, chills, Vayu hemorrhoids; gout, rheumatism, epilepsy, or uric acid - diseases.
The herb causes the urine to turn yellow, but there is no cause for concern.

Do not take this herb if you have a tendency to gout, rheumatism, epilepsy or any uric acid disease, owing to the oxalic acid it contains. 

This herb should be used only under the direction of a qualified professional.

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