Part Used: Dried decorticated rhizome
Rhubarb (Rheum palmatum) is a perennial plant that grows from thick short rhizomes which is commonly used in a remedy for constipation. It is used by people with anal fissures (cracks in the skin near the anus) or hemorrhoids, and is recommended following anal or rectal surgery. It produces easy bowel movements with a soft or loose stool. It can also be used to cleanse the intestines before undergoing a bowel examination or similar diagnostic tests. It is a powerful laxative. It stimulates secretion of fluid into the bowel, causes strong muscular contractions of the bowel wall, and hastens bowel movements. In traditional Chinese medicine it has been used as a laxative. The active compound for the laxative property is called anthraquinones, which irritate the colon and stimulate bowel movements. Rhubarb root also contains tannins, which are believed to reduce inflammation in the colon. Small amounts of Rhubarb are used in traditional Chinese medicine for diarrhea due to the tannin content. The herb has purgative, alterative, hemostatic, antipyretic, anthelmintic, stomachic, bitter tonic, cathartic, laxative, atonic indigestion, and astringent properties.
Rhubarb root has a purgative action for use in the treatment of constipation, but also has an astringent effect following this. It therefore has a truly cleansing action upon the gut, removing debris and then astringing with antiseptic properties as well. It is excellent for draining damp heat, especially when there is accompanying constipation. It moves the blood and is good for blood stagnation associated with acute stabbing pain and bruises, for which it can be taken both internally as well as externally in a liniment. It is useful for dysenteric conditions caused by damp heat with symptoms of bleeding in the stool. It can also be taken for vomiting of blood. It can be used both internally and topically for infections. It kills blood flukes. It may be combined with carminative herbs to relieve any griping that may occur.
PDR Health. http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/herbaldrugs/102380.shtml
Holistic Online. http://www.holisticonline.com/Herbal-Med/_Herbs/h124.htm