RhubarbRheum rhaponticum, other spp.
The stalk of the intensely flavored rhubarb plant has been used in European cooking since the 17th century. Prior to that, rhubarb species were utilized medicinally in
Although there are many species of rhubarb, the one most studied is Rheum rhaponticum.
What Is Rhubarb Used for Today?
Rhubarb root contains lindleyin, a substance with estrogen-like properties. 1
Other potential uses of rhubarb lack reliable supporting evidence.
One human trial purportedly found evidence that rhubarb could reduce the impairment of lung function that may occur when people with lung cancer receive
Additional proposed uses of rhubarb are supported only by
A typical dosage of rhubarb root is ½ to l teaspoonful of the root boiled for 10 minutes in a cup of water, three times daily.
In the menopause study mentioned above, a standardized extract was used. Such extracts should be used according to label instructions.
As a widely consumed food, rhubarb is thought to be relatively safe if consumed in moderation. However, the plant contains high levels of oxalic acid, and rhubarb consumption can markedly increase oxalic acid levels in the urine.
This could lead to increased risk of
Very weak evidence hints that excessive consumption of rhubarb could increase risk of stomach and/or colon cancer.
Maximum safe doses in pregnant or nursing women, young children, or people with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.
2. Heger M, Ventskovskiy BM, Borzenko I, et al. Efficacy and safety of a special extract of Rheum rhaponticum (ERr 731) in perimenopausal women with climacteric complaints: a 12-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Menopause . 2006 Aug 4 [Epub ahead of print]
6. Fan JG. Evaluating the efficacy and safety of Danning Pian in the short-term treatment of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a multicenter clinical trial. Hepatobiliary Pancreat Dis Int . 2004;3:375-380.
7. Jin H, Sakaida I, Tsuchiya M, et al. Herbal medicine Rhei rhizome prevents liver fibrosis in rat liver cirrhosis induced by a choline-deficient L-amino acid-defined diet. Life Sci. 2005;76:2805-2816.
8. Matsuda H, Tewtrakul S, Morikawa T, et al. Anti-allergic activity of stilbenes from Korean rhubarb (Rheum undulatum L.): structure requirements for inhibition of antigen-induced degranulation and their effects on the release of TNF-alpha and IL-4. Bioorg Med Chem. 2004;12:4871-4876.
16. Yu HM, Liu YF, Cheng YF, et al. Effects of rhubarb extract on radiation induced lung toxicity via decreasing transforming growth factor-beta-1 and interleukin-6 in lung cancer patients treated with radiotherapy. Lung Cancer. 2007 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed October 2007 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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