The root is anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic. The roots contain anthraquinones, which have a purgative effect, and also tannins and bitters, which have an opposite astringent effect. When taken in small doses, it acts as an astringent tonic to the digestive system, whilst larger doses act as a mild laxative. The root is taken internally in the treatment of chronic constipation, diarrhoea, liver and gall bladder complaints, haemorrhoids, menstrual problems and skin eruptions due to an accumulation of toxins. This remedy is not prescribed for pregnant or lactating women, nor for patients with intestinal obstruction. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of burns. The roots are harvested in October from plants that are at least six years old, they are then dried for later use.A homeopathic remedy is prepared from the dried root. This is used especially in the treatment of diarrhoea in teething children.
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Hardy to about -20°c. A very ornamental plant, it is closely related to R. australe. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus. Cultivated as a medicinal plant in China. Plants at the Cambridge Botanical Gardens in September 1993 were growing well in the shade of a woodland garden, though they were not succeeding when planted closely to the trees[K].Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.
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