Rhubarb is treated both as a vegetable and a fruit. Rhubarb is an herbaceous perennial with botanical name ‘Rheum Emodi’. It is grown in UK, US, Parts of Europe, Asia and many other countries. It is cultivated in the Himalayan valleys at an altitude of 3500-4200 meters. Rhubarb stems and roots are highly beneficial to humankind however, Rhubarb leaves are toxic in nature. Rhubarb leafstalks are greenish and reddish in color, fleshy and filled with a large amount of water and nutrients. The stems are inedible when raw; they have to be cooked before consumption. Raw leafstalks of Rhubarb are crisp with strong tart taste.
The 23 benefits of Rhubarb:
1. Rhubarb is a rich source of vitamin C, Fibre and Calcium.
2. 100 grams of rhubarb contains nutrients such as Sodium 4 mg, Carbohydrates 5 gm, Dietary Fibre 2 gm, Protein 1 gm, Sugars 1 gm, Vitamin A 102 IU, Vitamin C 8 mg, Vitamin E 0.38 mg, Vitamin K 41 mcg, Thiamin 0.02 mg, Riboflavin 0.03 mg, Niacin 0.3 mg, Vitamin B6 0.024 mg, Folate 7 mcg, Pantothenic Acid 0.085 mcg, Calcium 86 mg, Iron 0.22 mg, Magnesium 12 mg, Phosphorus 14 mg, Potassium 288 mg, Sodium 4 mg, Zinc 0.1 mg, Copper 0.021 mg, Manganese 0.196 mg, Selenium 1.1 mcg and total fat 0.2 mg. The vitamins and nutrients present in rhubarb prevent deep vein thrombosis. The blood clot in the feet in this condition and gradually spreads to the lungs if left untreated. Consuming rhubarb is a natural way of preventing this ailment.
3. Fresh rhubarb stalks are a good source of dietary fibres and therefore beneficial to people suffering from indigestion. A cold piece of rhubarb stalk helps in balancing the stomach acid and restoring the sufferer’s health. Thus, rhubarb is useful in treating stomach ailments like indigestion and acidity effectively.
4. Being a herbal medicine, with rich sources of dietary fibre, it is prescribed as a laxative to treat constipation and diarrhea.
5. Consuming fresh rhubarb regularly shows positive effects on lowering the blood pressure.
6. Consuming rhubarb extract regularly also aids in reducing the problem of hot flashes. Rhubarb consumption during menopause eases hot flashes symptoms.
7. Rhubarb’s antibacterial property helps in ridding the infections caused by staphylococcus aureus (grapelike gram positive bacteria), when applied topically on injuries, wounds and cuts.
8. Rhubarb roots have been used as strong laxatives from 5000 years by the Chinese.
9. Rhubarb is known to act as an astringent on the nasal cavity and mucous membranes of the mouth.
10. Rhubarb’s stimulating effect is especially useful in treating atonic dyspepsia.
11. Rhubarb is used as a slimming agent as its roots and stem are rich in anthraquinones (organic compound) namely emodin and rhein. These substances are cathartic (therapeutic) and laxative in nature that aid in slimming.
12. Rhubarb roots are used in traditional Chinese medicines and from medieval times by the Arabs and Europeans.
13. Rhubarb stalks are cooked and added to pies and other foods to give it a tart flavor.
14. Rhubarb is excellent in jams and boiled with fruits like strawberries, raspberries, apples, apricots and other fruits.
15. Rhubarb is used in making sauces, pies and fruit wine.
16. Rhubarb root is used to a make a strong hair dye that creates a golden hair colour. This hair colour is suitable for dyeing light brown or blondish hair. 3 tablespoon of rhubarb root is simmered in two cups of water for 15 minutes. It is strained the next morning, after letting it stand overnight. The color effect can be tested on a few strands of hair and then all hair can be rinsed with the dye.
17. The leaves of rhubarb are toxic but make an effective organic insecticide for the insects such as cabbage caterpillars, aphids, fruit slug etc. that devour leaves.
18. Rhubarb has anti-cancer properties. White blood cells increase on its regular consumption. These cells are essential for reducing free radicals that are responsible for causing cancer.
19. Rhubarbs tarty taste aids in preventing different types of tumor.
20. Rhubarbs are rich in calcium and therefore prevent bone loss in women, decreasing the possibility of contracting osteoporosis.
21. Rhubarb’s capacity to absorb bad cholesterol in the body reduces the risk of having clogged arteries and stroke.
22. Rhubarb enhances the metabolic rate and ensures smooth digestion. The dietary fibres in rhubarb especially potassium make rhubarb the best vegetable aiding in reducing weight.
23. Rhubarb can be eaten as fresh fruit, tinned or even used as a supplement.
Author’s brief: Juliet Coutinho is a professional in student conduct administration in higher education since a decade. Juliet comes with 23 years of full time national and international work experience. She is passionate about her work, enjoys reading, writing, teaching, researching, mentoring and counseling on conduct and mental health issues. ‘Simple living and high thinking’ is Juliet’s philosophy of life.