Is Rhubarb Toxic
Is Rhubarb Toxic?
The Chinese call rhubarb Dà Huáng 大黃 – “the great yellow” – and have used the root medicinally for thousands of years. It’s first mention appears in The Divine Farmer’s Classic, which is thought to have been written around 1,800 years ago.
Medicinally it’s great for blood circulation and high blood pressure – so be careful if yours is low.
With 281mg nitrate per 100g serving it helps protect against high blood pressure.
It also has a high fibre content and so is useful for cleansing the intestines and treating constipation. The root is traditionally used for this as it’s a stronger laxative, but the stalk is also helpful.
It’s high Vitamin K content also helps with blood clotting, and energy production in the mitochondria of all cells.
Important Note: The leaves of the rhubarb plant are not edible and should never be consumed due to the high levels of oxalic acid they contain, which may cause a severe reaction (see caution below).
Some key nutrients of Rhubarb are:
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is an essential nutrient necessary for responding to injuries as it regulates normal blood clotting. Vitamin K can be particularly useful if you suffer from heavy and/or painful periods as it can help slow down the blood flow and reduce cramping.
Vitamin C: For fertility health Vitamin C is important in the process of absorption and also in its ability to support the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
Vitamin A: Is necessary for the growth and repair of many body cells including bones, teeth, collagen and cartilage. It’s also involved in cell differentiation where cells become specific types of cells such as a liver cell or a blood cell. This is vital for the development of your healthy baby. Supplementation does not offer balanced forms of Vitamin A.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect cells against damage caused by free radicals. This nutrient is really helpful in protecting sperm and egg cells from free radical damage, which can damage the DNA of the cell and may lead to morphology issues – in sperm and eggs.
Potassium: Is an electrolyte which counteracts the effects of sodium, helping to maintain consistent blood pressure levels – another important element for pregnancy.
Manganese: is a naturally occurring mineral which aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones.
Calcium: Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones, support heart health, and for optimal function of the muscles and nerves. It is also required alongside Vitamin D to aid in its use throughout the body.
CHINESE FERTILITY MEDICINE USES IT TO:
- Circulate Blood for Blood Stagnation
- Clear Heat
- Help Eliminate Toxins
Circulate Blood for Blood Stagnation
Blood stagnation describes a condition where blood flow becomes less efficient at circulating.
This can manifest in any aspect of the body but is prevalent in many fertility and gynecological issues.
Poor blood circulation in the lower half of the body in men and women can contribute to fertility issues such as: Varicoceles or masses in the testes, and poor sperm count and morphology in men, as well as a thin endometrium, fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, polyps, blocked fallopian tubes, clotting during pregnancy, and poor uterine and ovarian blood flow in women.
When healthy, your blood circulates to all of your cells (including sperm and eggs) and will deliver nutrients for the cells to use. The blood also removes waste from the cells and delivers it to the organs and systems responsible for elimination.
If your blood flow decreases then blood stagnation develops. This negatively affects the delivery of nutrients to the cells, and the removal of waste from the cells.
Over time waste and blood stagnates and collects to form masses, which damage blood vessels causing further blood stagnation and an accumulation of fluids and blood in the local area. This causes the physical fertility issues for men and women as listed above.
Rhubarb can help to reduce blood stagnation.
The term heat is used to describe a subjective experience of heat in the body. It also describes pathological issues (such as fevers and infections), and symptoms that have a sensation of heat or burning.
Typical heat symptoms include: thirst, dry skin, constipation, feeling hot, hot hands and soles of feet, red face, inflammation of the skin – typically red, yellow, green or black in colour, yellow, red or green phlegm, a yellow and dry tongue coating, a red tongue, blood in the urine, burning or hot symptoms anywhere in the body, fever, many types of infections, dryness – and reduced body fluids, including cervical mucus.
Heat typically has an irritating and drying effect on the body that can damage the fluid balance of your cells, tissues, organs. It may also damage the general body fluids such as saliva, urine, bowel fluids and cervical mucus. The reduction in these fluids causes dryness and as the fluids become deficient you experience a relative increase in heat sensation around your body.
For fertility to be at its optimum there needs to be a balance of fluids and warmth.
Too much or too little heat or cold will cause imbalance and disturb the fluid aspect of your body. This can negatively impact any aspect of your body including the reproductive system. The eggs, womb and also sperm are supported through balanced fluid levels and sufficient, but not too much, heat.
Drinking more fluids will generally not be sufficient to clear heat (unless the cause of the heat is purely related to a lack of intake of fluids). Most cases of excessive heat do not find resolution through increasing fluid intake, but this is an important aspect to protect the body fluids from the damage caused by the heat.
Rhubarb can help to support the process of clearing heat from your body. If you are experiencing more severe heat issues (fevers, infections etc) then please seek medical attention as this food will likely not be sufficient enough to resolve your issue.
Due to it’s fibre content and use as a laxative, it has the ability to strongly clear waste from the intestines. This helps with certain types of infections, but also as a general cleanser when constipation has been an ongoing issue. It has a very ‘Cold’ nature and is not suitable for people who suffer with coldness, or symptoms of under-activity such as Hypothyroidism.
Season: Rhubarb is grown in two crops: the first crop around January- February time, which is known as forced Rhubarb as it is grown under pots; and the second crop between April and June, which is the main crop of the year.
How it’s typically cooked: usually stewed or roasted with honey to reduce it’s sour flavour. You can consider a healthier alternative such as roasting with beetroot, which is a naturally sweet root vegetable. Cinnamon, or honey, also sweeten it instead of sugar.
Caution: Do not eat the leaves of the Rhubarb plant as they are poisonous, due to a high content of oxalic acid and anthraquinone. Eat only the cooked stems and avoid the raw stem.
If you suffer from any symptoms of coldness such as: cold hands and/or feet, generally feeling cold, tiredness, poor blood quality, dark clotted menstrual blood (better with heat), menstrual or general abdominal pain (that is better with heat), or you have a Chinese medicine diagnosis of Coldness or Yang Deficiency, then please avoid Rhubarb as it is cold in nature.
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