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Quest Vitamins LTD,
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Aston Science Park,
B7 4AP.

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Rhubarb (Rheum palmatum)


A native plant of China and Tibet, rhubarb is often grown in other parts of the world for ornamental purposes. Rhubarb has a history of use as a component in laxative preparations.


Rhubarb is primarily known for its treatment of Constipation. It has also been found to be beneficial for liver, spleen, and gallbladder problems. It also possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and hypotensive properties.


Part of the plant used: ROOTSTOCK.

20-30 mg calculated as rhein for no more than 2 weeks without medical consultation.


Rhubarb is generally known to be effective 6-10 hours after ingestion. Antraquinones in rhubarb stimulate mucus secretion through the large intestinal wall as well as bowel movements. Rhubarb is suitable for use in children due to its very mild action. It may be used year-round for chronic Constipation, but only when necessary. The herb is usually combined with other laxatives, such as Cascara Sagrada, butternut, and buckthorn.

Upper digestive tract bleeding:
Rhubarb has been used to stop bleeding for over 1700 years. In a recent study, patients with upper digestive tract bleeding were given rhubarb supplements, 3 g two to four times a day until stool showed no more signs of blood. Of the 400 cases, 97% showed complete absence of blood in the stool in an average of 1.5 days (1).

Antibiotic effects:
Rhubarb has been shown to inhibit Staphylococcus aureus (2).

Rhubarb has also been shown to be effective on Gallstones, jaundice, and Haemorrhoids.


Rhubarb may cause rebound Constipation. With proper use, this is not a concern. Avoid use for over two weeks without medical consultation (3).

Rhubarb leaf should be avoided completely as it is highly toxic.


Rhubarb will potentiate other laxatives, cathartics, and purgatives. It may enhance anticoagulant drugs by reducing Vitamin K absorption. Rhubarb may also inhibit absorption of dextrose, isoniazid, and digitalis glycosides.

Rhubarb may also interact with cardiac glycosides and antiarrhythmia drugs.

Rhubarb increases the passage time of all oral medications through the intestines, thereby inhibiting their action.


1. Jaio., et. Al. Resume of 400 cases of acute upper digestive tract bleeding treated with rhubarb alone. Pharmacology, 20 (Suppl. 1), 128-130, 1980.
2. Chen, C.H., T.T. Li, H.L. Su & C.I. Wang. Chinese rhubarb. Vii. Mechanisms of antibiotic action of antraquinone derivatives. Effects on the respiration of staphylococcus aureus. Sheng Wu Hua Hsueh Yu Shen Wu Wu Li-sueh Pao 3(4), 426-433, 1963.
3. Blumental, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.


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