Immature flowers - cooked and used like cauliflower.One report says that the plant contains 0.7% rutin. It does not specify which part of the plant, though it is likely to be the leaves[K].
Chinese rhubarb, called Da Huang in China, 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. It has a safe and gentle action, safe even for children to use. The plant is also part of a North American formula called essiac which is a popular treatment for cancer. Its effectiveness has never been reliably proven or disproven since controlled studies have not been carried out. The other herbs included in the formula are Arctium lappa, Ulmus rubra and Rumex acetosella. 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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Plants are very cold hardy, tolerating temperatures down to at least -20°c. The plant does not like hot summers, however, and is likely to die in warmer climates. Rhubarb is a long-lived and almost indestructible perennial plant. It is often cultivated for its edible leaf stems, there are many named varieties. Most cultivars produce edible stems from spring to early summer, though 'Glaskin's Perpetual' can be harvested throughout the summer. By digging up the roots in the autumn and exposing them to frost, earlier growth will be initiated. These roots can then be transferred to a cold frame or other protected area where they will produce their edible stems in late winter. It is also possible to produce earlier crops outdoors by covering the plants with a layer of straw and an upturned bucket. This species is probably of hybrid origin, R. rhaponticum x R. palmatum. It hybridizes freely with other members of the genus.Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits.
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
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Polycultures & Guilds
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