Rheum palmatum / Russische rabarber

The roots of medicinal rhubarb have been used in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine for 2000 years, gradually spreading to India, Russia, Europe and North America Rhubarb arrived in Europe via Turkey, hence the common name, Turkey rhubarb. European herbalists recommended rhubarb as a laxative and diuretic and to treat kidney stones, gout, and liver diseases characterized by jaundice. Externally, it was used to heal skin sores and scabs.

Paradoxically, although larger doses were used as a laxative, small doses were used to treat dysenteric diarrhea

The Chinese use rhubarb as an ulcer remedy and consider it a bitter, cold, dry herb used to “clear heat” from the liver, stomach and blood, to expel helminths and to treat cancer, fever, upper intestinal bleeding (ulcers) and headache. It is also used to treat toothaches

In Europe, rhubarb is a component of spring tonics or blood cleansing cures, including Swedish bitters. Turkish or medicinal rhubarb is also one of the four major ingredients in the herbal

cancer remedy, Essiac.


Zhong Yao Cai. 2001 Oct;24(10):728-30. [Effect of Rheum palmatum decoction on increasing intelligence].

Source Anhui College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hefer 230038.

OBJECTIVE: To observe the nootropic effect of Rheum palmatum decoction in mice.

METHOD: Step-down test.

RESULTS: Rheum palmatum decoction could increase learning and memory ability of old mice and also improve the impairments of memory acquisition, memory consolidation and memory retrieval induced by scopalamine, NaNO2 and 40% EtOH respectively in mice.


Rheum palmatum decoction contains the substances of increasing intelligence which may be substantial basis of the decoctions mainly containing Rheum palmatum theraping aphasia from apoplexy, senile dysmnesis, sequel from brain trauma, etc.

Biosci Trends. 2009 Aug;3(4):124-6. Anti-SARS coronavirus 3C-like protease effects of Rheum palmatum L. extracts.

Luo W, Su X, Gong S, Qin Y, Liu W, Li J, Yu H, Xu Q. Guilin Medical College, Guilin, Guangxi, China.


The present study aims to clarify the inhibitive effect of the compounds from Rheum palmatum L. on the SARS-3CL protease. The SARS-CoV 3CL gene was amplified from RNA of the SARS virus by PCR. The SARS-CoV 3CL protease was purified from a colon bacillus recombinant. Drugs and 3CL protease were incubated together. The inhibition rate and IC(50) were calculated based on absorbance. Components from the Rheum palmatum L. had a high level of anti-SARS-CoV 3CL protease activity. The IC(50) was 13.76 +/- 0.03 microg/mL and the inhibition rate was up to 96%. In conclusion, extracts from Rheum palmatum L. have a high level of inhibitory activity against 3CL protease, suggesting that extracts from Rheum palmatum L. may represent a potential therapeutic for SARS. (Severe acute respiratory syndrome).

SARS is een soms levensbedreigende vorm van atypische longontsteking (pneumonie), waarover tot nu toe nog weinig bekend is. De eerste gevallen verschenen in de Chinese provincie Guangdong, eind 2002. De ziekte is besmettelijk, en verspreidde zich naar Hongkong, en van daaruit naar Vietnam, Canada en andere landen. In China zijn gevallen gemeld vanuit vele delen van het land. De ziekte wordt veroorzaakt door het SARS-virus. Het is een type coronavirus dat vóór de uitbraak van SARS nog niet eerder bij mensen was aangetroffen.