Its original land is considered to be at the borderland of China and Tibet in Asia, and Chinese have been using it for 3000 years mainly because of its curative materials. It is known as a vegetable plant since the 13th century. Firstly it was grown in England, then in the other European countries, too. In Hungary, rhubarb is known for more than 100 years, but it still isn’t widespread indeed.
The rhubarb is classed among the family of Polygonaceae (bitter herbs), and it is a perennial plant. Botanically it is considered to be a vegetable, but as far as its application and taste is concerned, it belongs to fruits.
We can find among the well-known species those which are only used as medicinal herb or only used as vegetable plant, and those which are suitable for both purposes.
Its roots are extremely developped, it is quite radicant, that is why it is capable to gain enough moisture and nutritives from the soil even in dry weather.
It brings its decorative flowers on its seed-stem which forms in May. After its appearance, its economically utilizable fruit: the chubby footstalk becomes filamentous and hard to digest.
It is a cold- and frost tolerant plant, but it also endures the highest summer temperature, it likes humid climate. In favourable conditions, it bears fruit even during 8-10 years.
The advantages of the rhubarb: its high fibre-content helps digestion, reduces the development of intestine-deseases. It also cleanses the blood and the kidney. Its content of vitamin B1 and B2 is of an overriding importance, since these vitamins help growth, and are needed for the healthy functioning of epithelium, mucous membrane and nerves. They also play an important role in the carbohydrate metabolism.
From among minerals, its potassium-content is important, which increases resistance and is needed for the functioning of heart, muscles, nervous system and brain poll cells. It has a significant role in detoxication, in the stability of blood-pressure and in the pH and water content balance.
The rhubarb is a typical vegetable garden fruit, it’s been mainly processed by households. They made preserved fruit and cake filling from its footstalk.
Its cultivation has a significant economic role in Eastern Asia, North America and in some Western-European countries. Jam, jelly, compote, juice, wine, cake filling and candy are made from it.
From the medical point-of-view, the root trunk is of significance, which is put into circulation in peeled and dried form, in the shape of powder and tincture. The materials of the root trunk have aperient, appetizer and peptic effects as well. It is effectively applicable for the easement of digestive organ problems and it has antipyretic effects. Because of its disinfectant and inflammation-reducing effects, with the help of a pressure bandage burns and abscesses can be healed.
For the purpose of dental and gums care it is sold in the pharmacies in powder form made from the roots. It is recommended for those suffering in some kind of frounce, and who have brownish teeth and labour under the desease agomphiasis. The powder is for external use as dentifrice.