Rheum palmatum. N.O. Polygonaceae.
Habitat ► China.
Rheum palmatum was once transported from China through Persia to Turkey and was consequently known as “Turkey Rhubarb” ; when conveyed via India it was called “East Indian Rhubarb.” This Chinese root is the popular medicinal Turkey Rhubarb of to-day, the best kind being that from the Shansi province of China.
Features ► The root is smooth and heavy, and arrives in this country peeled. It is identifiable by the dark brown spots and a reticulation of white lines. The Canton rhubarb is more fibrous, unspotted, and the white network is less prominent than that from Shansi. The quality of these roots is judged by the fracture, which should show bright, the inferior kinds being a dull brown.
Action ► Aperient, stomachic, astringent, tonic.
Small doses of the powdered root are used in diarrhea, larger quantities acting as a thorough yet gentle purgative. Dose of powdered root, 3 to 30 grains.