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Rhubarb for constipation & menopausal symptoms

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 301 views

Rhubarb not only tastes good as a compote or in a cake, but can also be used medicinally. It is helpful for constipation or menopausal symptoms, for example. Read more about the correct use and effects of rhubarb.

What is the effect of rhubarb?

Everyone knows the garden rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum): Its stalks have been used in many kitchens since the 18th century as a topping or compote. Dried rhubarb roots have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for much longer.

The rhubarb varieties medicinal rhubarb (Rheum palmatum), Chinese rhubarb (R. officinale) and Siberian or rhapontic rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum) are used medicinally today.

Medicinal Rhubarb and Chinese Rhubarb

The roots of medicinal rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) and Chinese rhubarb (R. officinale) are medicinally recognized for the short-term treatment of occasional constipation.

The medicinal plants can also be used in cases where easier bowel movements are desired – for example in the case of haemorrhoids, anal fissures or after rectal surgery. In addition, alcoholic extracts from the rhubarb root are used externally for inflammation of the gums and oral mucosa.

Siberian or Rhapontic rhubarb

The Siberian or rhapontic rhubarb (R. rhaponticum), on the other hand, has been shown to be effective against menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, sweating, sleep disorders, depressive moods, irritability or anxiety. A specific extract from the roots of the plant is used medicinally.

What ingredients are in rhubarb?

The most important ingredients in the rhubarb roots of R. palmatum and R. officinale are the anthranoids (“anthraquinones”): They have a laxative effect – presumably by stimulating the contractions of the intestinal wall and thus the onward transport of the intestinal contents.

Also important are the tannins it contains with their astringent, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Other ingredients are, for example, stilbene glucosides, flavonoids, resins and starch.

The special extract from the roots of the rhapontic rhubarb contains rhaponticin as its main active ingredient, a stilbene derivative with an estrogen-like effect. The laxative anthraquinones also contained in the roots are removed during the production of the special extract.

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