Rheum palmatum (Turkey Rhubarb) medicinal uses and side effects

Rheum palmatum is an herbaceous perennial that grows 9 feet tall and 6 feet wide. Flowering is in the June-July period. Seeds ripen from July to September.

It is hermaphrodite and pollination is by the wind. Medicinal variety of Rheum has lobed leaves and those with wavy or undulating leaves do not have medicinal use.

Plants that are more than 6 years old are harvested in October. The roots are collected and dried for medicinal use. 

Rheum palmatum (Turkey Rhubarb) medicinal uses and side effects

Common names of rheum palmatum plant

The common name of this plant is Turkey Rhubarb. Other names include Chinese Rhubarb, ornamental rhubarb, Russian Rhubarb, and Indian Rhubarb. In Chinese, it is called Da Huang. 

Botanical name and family

Its botanical name is Rheum palmatum. It belongs to the Polygonaceae (Buckwheat) family. 

Geological places where Turkey Rhubarb grows

It is native to western and northern China. 

Rheum palmatum medicinal uses

The medicinal effect of rheum palmatum is due to the anthraquinones, tannins, and bitters. The anthraquinones have a purgative effect while the others show opposite astringent nature.

Turkey Rhubarb root and flower

When we take it in small doses, it rhubarbs have an astringent tonic effect on our digestive system. If we take big doses, it acts as a mild laxative.

  • Anticholesterolemic – Rheum rhubarb has a serum cholesterol lowering effect on our body. You need cholesterol to continue building but high levels of cholesterol may result in accumulation of fatty deposits in the blood vessels.
  • Antiseptic – Use of Chinese Rhubarb will help prevent the growth of diseases causing bacteria. You can clean external wounds and treat intestinal and bladder infections.
  • Antispasmodic – One can use the Rheum palmatum for smooth muscle relaxation. This is useful for tubular organs of the digestive tract such as the intestines, and also the stomach and urinary bladder. They relieve cramps and prevent nausea and vomiting.
  • Anti-tumor – Use of Turkey Rhubarb, helps prevent the formation of tumors. It interferes with the DNA inside the cells and prevents tumors from forming.
  • Aperient – The extract of the plant helps improve bowel movement. The person will have to strain less and this will help prevent pain due to anal fissures. You will be able to pass motion easily if you have Turkey Rhubarb.
  • Astringent – It has a drying effect that finds a use for curing abscesses and wounds. Apply the paste on the site of the wound and it will cure fast.
  • Cholagogue – The Chinese Rhubarb extract helps to purge bile that is in excess from the system and remove it. This is useful for the digestive system and health.
  • Demulcent–There is another useful property of Rheum palmatum in that it helps relieve irritation and swelling of many kinds. When one takes Turkey Rhubarb, it will form a coating over the site of the irritation and give relief.
  • Diuretic – It helps improve the passing of urine. This cleans the bladder and helps get rid of any infections there.
  • Stomachic – The Rheum palmatum is a stomachic. It helps improve the digestion and appetite. Have the extract daily to get good results.
  • Tonic – You can improve the condition of your health and get more vigor by taking Turkey Rhubarb daily. It is a good tonic and will make you energetic. Have the decoction of the root twice a day and you will become healthy within two weeks.
  • Diarrhea – One can take the extract of the Chinese Rhubarb for any disturbance of the digestive system such as diarrhea. It will cure diarrhea and give you instant relief. Prepare tea with the roots and have it. This will help you.
  • Liver – When you have complaints of the liver, it is advisable to take Turkey Rhubarb. It is protective of liver health and improves liver conditions quickly. It flushes out the toxins in the body and liver and makes it free of contaminants.
  • Gallbladder complaints – You will get a cure for any complaints of the gallbladder if you have the extract of Rheum palmatum. It helps improve the condition of the gallbladder and improve your health.
  • Menstrual problems – This is a common complaint for women and one can use Turkey Rhubarb to get a cure. Take the extract of the plant for two weeks and you will be able to get relief. It will set the menstrual cycle normal again and thereby give relief to the women.
  • Skin eruption due to an accumulation of toxins– Rhubarb is sometimes applied to the skin to treat cold sores. The paste restores skin health.
  • Heartburn – When there are digestive complaints like heartburn, one can use the extract of the plant to get immediate relief. After one eats spicy food, taking the decoction of the stem of the plant will help remove the acidity and prevent heartburn.
  • Stomach pain – Since the Turkey Rhubarb is useful for all kinds of stomach complaints, one can use it to treat stomach pain also. Have a glass of the tea made from the root of the plant after you have a heavy meal and you will be safe from stomach pain.
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding – To help cure problems like gastrointestinal bleeding, one uses Turkey Rhubarb. The extract helps to cure the tears in the lining of the intestine.
  • Diagnosis – The extract of the Chinese Rhubarb is used to prepare for some of the GI diagnostic procedures.
  • Skin burns–The root of the plant is used to treat skin burns. Apply the paste of the root on all places where there are burns. This will soothe the skin and promote healing.

Side effects of Turkey Rhubarb

The leaves are poisonous. The stem is edible. Eating too much might cause uterine contractions, watery diarrhoea, pain in the intestines and stomach. It is thought that rhubarb might cause kidney failure.

Long-term use could cause muscle weakness, potassium loss, irregular heartbeat, and bone loss. It probably refers to the high levels of oxalic acid that locks up certain minerals in the body such as calcium.

People with intestinal obstructions as well as those who are pregnant or lactating must not have Chinese Rhubarb. 



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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of www.medicinalplantsanduses.com. He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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