WHAT IT DOES: Rhubarb root is sour and bitter in taste, and cooling in action. It is a stimulant laxative that drains inflammation from the liver, large intestine and kidney.
It seems that rhubarb root has an advantage over other laxatives like the more powerful senna and cascara sagrada. Its higher tannin levels tend to tighten the bowel after 14-18 hours, somewhat limiting the possibility of the flaccid condition that can result from laxative overuse. In fact, the tannins are the reason that small doses of rhubarb (.03 to.3 grams) can actually cause constipation.
What are the health benefits of Rhubarb Root?
Rhubarb roots are used as an astringent tonic for the digestive system when taken in small doses and as a strong laxative when taken in larger doses. Rhubarb root is also used to treat chronic constipation, diarrhea, liver and gall bladder conditions, hemorrhoids, and gastritis. There are a variety of skin conditions for which rhubarb is used including acne, dandruff, eczema, poison ivy, poison oak, psoriasis, burns, and other skin eruptions. Rhubarb is used for its positive effect on the mouth and nasal cavity, and it is also used to treat menstrual problems.
Rhubarb is used primarily for digestive complaints including constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, stomach pain, gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, and preparation for certain GI diagnostic procedures. Some people use rhubarb to decrease the strain during bowel movements. Rhubarb is also used for gonorrhea, high levels of cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure associated with pregnancy, and weight loss.
Rhubarb is also used to improve symptoms associated with menopause or menstruation. It is also used to reduce pain associated with pancreas swelling (inflammation) or to slow down kidney disease. Rhubarb is used to reduce symptoms of stroke, sepsis (blood infection), or pesticide poisoning. It is also used for some types of cancer and for patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
A mouth rinse containing rhubarb is used for gingivitis.
Rhubarb is sometimes applied to the skin to treat cold sores.
In food, rhubarb stems are eaten in pie and other recipes. Rhubarb is also used as a flavoring agent.