The rhubarb is a plant. To prepare a phytotherapeutic agent one should use the roots and the underground part of the stem (rhizome), inside which there are different molecules with a potential pharmacological action. Among these they are included:


  • Sennosides: laxative effect
  • Emodin: acts on the gastrointestinal tract influencing motility


The active ingredients of rhubarb also assume an antimicrobial action, act positively on cholesterol levels, promote the elimination of bacteria and toxins and the blood flow in the intestinal mucosa as well as reduce the permeability of the intestinal mucosa.


What is Rhubarb?


Rhubarb may be used in cases of:


  • Gastric bleeding
  • Herpes labialis
  • Kidney failure


Other possible uses include the treatment of:


  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn


Moreover, it is also used to facilitate bowel movements in case of hemorrhoids and anal fissures.


How should Rhubarb be taken?


Clinical studies to date suggest that the administration of rhubarb is more effective in the form of dry extract in a dose range between 20 and 50 mg per kilogram body weight per day.


The experimental herpes labialis treatment recommends the application of the extract every 2 or 4 hours during the day for 10-14 days, of a cream based on extracts of rhubarb and sage in a concentration of 23 mg/gram.


Side effects associated with Rhubarb


Intake of rhubarb has not been associated with serious side effects. A potential complication may include the worsening of diarrhea or constipation.


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Rhubarb


The intake of rhubarb is not recommended in cases of:


  • Appendicitis
  • Unexplained stomach pain
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn's disease, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome
  • Kidney disease and history of calculations
  • Intestinal obstructions
  • Liver problems


Rhubarb can also:


  • Interact with digoxin, increasing the toxicity
  • Interfere with the absorption of drugs taken orally
  • Aggravate potassium deficiencies when taken together with diuretics, corticosteroids and licorice root
  • Enhance the adverse effects of hazardous drugs to the liver
  • Enhance the effect of the stimulant laxatives
  • Increase the risk of bleeding in those who take warfarin
  • Possibly interact with antiarrhythmics
  • Possibly, stimulate uterine contractions and cause genotoxic effects


Finally, it is crucial to remember that the leaves of the plant contain oxalic acid with enough concentration to be poisonous.