RHUBARB: “More Than Pie Filling”

Burns, Constipation, Cuts, Diarrhea, Dysentery

Also Known As: Chinese or Rheum Himalayan, Medicinal or Turkish Rhubarb


Since ancient times, Chinese physicians have used rhubarb roots externally for cuts, burns and dysentery. They also discovered and acknowledge rhubarb as being a laxative. Also, 17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpeper endorsed rhubarb as being a laxative.


  • Decoction:

Use decoction to help with diarrhea. Boil one cup of water and add 1/2 powdered teaspoon of powdered root. Steep for 10 minutes. Take only a tablespoon at a time periodically up to 1 cup daily.

For constipation, make a decoction by adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of powdered root to a cup of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes and take 1 tablespoon at a time, totally up to 1 cup a day.

  • Tincture:

To make a tincture using 1/4 to 1 teaspoon per day.

USE: (Grow Your Own)

Sow seeds or the root cuttings 4 feet apart in late spring in deep, well watered beds. Use full sun or partial shade. Rhubarb needs a dormant period in the winter time and does not grow so well in the South where the winters are warm. Add compost and mulch to soil in the winter. Stems can be harvested for pie making during the second year and harvest the roots in the fourth year.


 Use rhubarb stems for pie fillings, but not the plant’s leaf. The blades of the plant contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous. Burning of the mouth, throat, nausea, vomiting and weakness of the body can occur. Fatalities have occurred. 

  • Rhubarb may color the urine to a bright yellow or red color.
  • Do not use rhubarb in laxative amounts if you have a chronic intestinal condition.
  • Do not use rhubarb for more than 2 weeks as a laxative.