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Uses

Toxic parts

Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the leaves of some if not all members of this genus contain significant quantities of oxalic acid and should not be eaten in any quantity. Oxalic acid can lock up certain minerals in the body, especially calcium, leading to nutritional deficiency. The content of oxalic acid will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition[1].

Edible uses

Notes

Leaf stem - cooked or raw[2][3]. Rather medicinal[4]. One report says that the plant contains 1.3% rutin[5]. It does not specify which part of the plant, though it is likely to be the leaves[K].

Unknown part

Material uses

Plants can be grown for ground cover when spaced about 1.8 metres apart each way[6].
There are no material uses listed for Rheum officinale.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Rhubarb has a long and proven history of herbal usage, its main effect being a positive and balancing effect upon the whole digestive system. It is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine[7][1].

The root is anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic[8][9][10][11][7][1]. The roots contain anthraquinones, which have a purgative effect, and also tannins and bitters, which have an opposite astringent effect[12]. When taken in small doses, it acts as an astringent tonic to the digestive system, whilst larger doses act as a mild laxative[13][12]. 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[1]. This remedy is not prescribed for pregnant or lactating women, nor for patients with intestinal obstruction[1]. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of burns[1]. The roots are harvested in October from plants that are at least six years old, they are then dried for later use[8].

A homeopathic remedy is prepared from the dried root[13]. This is used especially in the treatment of diarrhoea in teething children[13].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown in autumn in a shaded cold frame[14]. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in the spring. Division in early spring or autumn[15][16]. Divide up the rootstock with a sharp spade or knife, making sure that there is at least one growth bud on each division. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Rheum officinale. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a deep, fertile, moderately heavy, humus rich, moisture retentive, well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade[14]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn[17].

Hardy to about -20°c[14]. A very ornamental plant[15], it is closely related to R. australe[14]. Hybridizes freely with other members of this genus[14]. Cultivated as a medicinal plant in China[18]. 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[17].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Rheum officinale. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Rheum officinale.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Rheum officinale
Genus
Rheum
Family
Polygonaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
7
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Rheum officinale 002.JPG|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.






    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.31.41.51.6 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre ()
    4. ? 4.04.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.1 Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.2 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.1 ? A Barefoot Doctors Manual. Running Press ISBN 0-914294-92-X ()
    10. ? 10.010.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles (1985-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.2 Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs Pan Books Ltd. London. ISBN 0-330-30725-8 (1990-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.3 Castro. M. The Complete Homeopathy Handbook. Macmillan. London. ISBN 0-333-55581-3 (1990-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.214.314.414.5 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.1 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    16. ? Sanders. T. W. Popular Hardy Perennials. Collingridge (1926-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.1 Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    18. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    19. ? [Flora of China] (1994-00-00)

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