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Rhubarb – (Rheum palmatum, or Chinese Rhubarb)


Chinese Rhubarb, also known as Turkey R. is native to China and Tibet. It crossed to Asia Minor early in history. Once it reached Europe, it was named Turkey R. This species differs from the more common garden variety in that it possesses more medicinal qualities. This species grows very quickly, reaching heights of ten or more feet.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Chinese rhubarb is useful for constipation and diarrhea, depending on the dose. It has a cleansing action on the intestines, effectively removing clogged debris. This herb is antiseptic, astringent and antibacterial. Turkey rhubarb is one of the ingredients of the cancer remedy, Essiac. In Chinese medicine, the herb is used to move the blood. It is also used for blood in the stool or in vomit. It aslo kills blood flukes.

Externally – The Chinese variety can be used as a wash for infected wounds and boils. It is also soothing to burns, and can be used as a mouthwash for canker sores. It can also be made into a liniment. When the root is chewed, saliva is increased.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

Combine rhubarb with fennel or mint to prevent cramping.

Parts Used

Root – The root is the only portion of Chinese rhubarb that is used medicinally.


Do not eat the leaves – they are poisonous! If you suffer from chronic diarrhea, gout, rheumatism, epilepsy, uric acid disease or chills, do not take this herb. Use under the direction of a qualified herbalist. This herb should not be used by pregnant women. One of the side effects may be that it turns the urine bright yellow or red.

Preparation and Dosage

Chinese Rhubarb can be taken as a tincture or a decoction. The dosage will affect the result. For tincture, a low dose of 5 to 10 drops can be used for diarrhea. With a higher dose of 1 ml it stimulates the liver and works as a gentle laxative. High doses up to 2.5 ml have a cooling and purgative effect. With higher doses, be sure to use fennel or mint at the same to prevent cramping.

For a decoction, a weaker solution made with up to 0.5 g of root per dose is effective for diarrhea. A stronger solution of up to 3 g of root per dose works well for chronic constipation or cramping with delayed menstrual bleeding.

Rhubarb can also be used as a topical wash, since the root is astringent and antibacterial. A strong decoction can be used topically on boils or infected sores.

Rhubarb Herbal Remedies Top