Tangut rhubarb – Tangut rhubarb

Name: Tangut rhubarb – Tangut rhubarb

Tangut rhubarb (Rheum palmatum); rhubarb, rhubarb, Chinese rapontic; Buckwheat family (Polyganaceae); Tangut rhubarb 

Rhubarb is a native of the mountain forests of Central China, Southern Mongolia and Tibet. In China, it was known as a medicinal plant as early as 2700 BC. From there, rhubarb got to Persia in the form of a Chinese potion, then to Ancient Greece. It became famous in Western Europe through Arab healers. Until the 19th century, this type of rhubarb was exclusively the subject of Chinese exports. Places of plant growth were carefully hidden. The famous Russian traveler N.M. During his expeditions to East Asia, Przhevalsky found thickets of rhubarb of this species, collected seeds, which were then sown in Russia. Since then, Tangut rhubarb has “received a residence permit” with us. This is almost a detective story.

It is a large perennial plant up to 2.5 m tall, with a multi-headed, thick, short rhizome, from which additional fleshy roots depart. Rhubarb stems are straight, hollow, slightly branched, grooved, covered with reddish spots. The leaves of the basal rosette are 5-7-lobed, broadly ovate, long-petioled, up to 75 cm in diameter. They are sparsely pubescent on top, and densely pubescent with long hairs below. Leaf blades are pointed, unevenly incised. Stem leaves are smaller (up to 10 cm in diameter), short-petiolate, with rounded finger-dissected plates. The flowers are bisexual, regular, collected in multi-flowered panicle inflorescences, usually whitish-pink. They bloom at the beginning of summer, starting, as a rule, from 2-3 years of life. The fruits are three-sided winged nuts that ripen in July.

In Russia and Ukraine, Tangut rhubarb is known only in culture.

For the preparation of medicinal products, rhizomes are used together with roots, which are harvested from plants starting from the age of four. After digging, they are cleaned from the ground and the remains of the stems, washed in cold water, damaged parts are removed and cut into pieces 10-12 cm long. If the rhizomes are very thick, they are split lengthwise. The prepared raw materials are air-dried, then dried in dryers. Usually, drying is carried out at a temperature of 60 °C. Store dried rhizomes in a dark, cool, well-ventilated room. The shelf life of raw materials is 5 years.

Rhubarb rhizomes and roots contain glycosides (anthraglycosides and senoglycosides), resins, organic acids, a rich set of vitamins (B1, B2, B6 , C , PP, carotene), tannins, starch, as well as various micro- and macroelements.

Rhubarb regulates blood circulation and water-salt balance of the body. However, most often the plant is used as a mild laxative and choleretic agent. It is interesting that in small doses, rhubarb products have an astringent effect, and in large doses they have a weakening effect. They are prescribed for spastic constipation, intestinal atony and hemorrhoids. Medicinal forms of the plant (tablets, extracts, tinctures) are especially effective when acting on a young organism. All rhubarb products can be purchased in pharmacies.

The use of rhubarb is contraindicated for the elderly, especially if they suffer from constipation and hemorrhoids, as well as intestinal inflammation and bleeding.

With long-term use of plant products, habituation occurs, so they need to be alternated with other laxatives.

Tangut rhubarb can also be used as a vegetable: jams, marmalades, preserves, jelly are made from the petioles of the plant. Petioles boiled in sugar syrup and slightly dried are excellent candied fruits. Extremely tasty pies with rhubarb filling. Petioles are added to soups and vitamin salads.

Garden forms of rhubarb, common in homesteads, also stimulate the digestive tract and act as a mild laxative. Just like Tangut rhubarb, vegetable rhubarb is used as food.

It is prescribed mainly to children and the elderly as a laxative for chronic constipation, flatulence and intestinal atony. The use of rhubarb products is contraindicated in acute cholecystitis, intestinal obstruction, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract and pregnancy.

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