Latin: Radix et Rhizoma Rhei
The root and rhizome of Rheum palmatum L. (sorrel rhubarb), Rheum
tanguticum Maxim. et Balf. (Tangut rhubarb) or Rheum officinale Baill. (medicinal rhubarb), a perennial herb, of the Polygonaceae family.
Eliminates stagnant food by purgation, clears away fire to purge it, arrests bleeding, removes toxic substances and promotes blood circulation by removing blood stasis.
Rhubarb has a long and proven history of herbal usage, its main effect being a positive and balancing effect upon the whole digestive system. It is one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine.
1. To treat constipation and food stagnation in the stomach and intestines:
(A) Constipation and food stagnation in the stomach and intestines:
Use it with mirabilite, immature citron or trifoliate orange (Fructus Aurantii Immaturus) and official magnolia bark, e.g., Da Chengqi Tang in order to strengthen the effects of relieving constipation by purgation and expelling pathogenic heat.
(B) Excess syndrome in the interior with the accumulation of heat, accompanied by deficiency of both qi and blood or by loss of body fluids due to yin deficiency:
Use it with herbs for the nourishment of qi and blood or for the replenishment of yin to promote the production of body fluid.
(C) Constipation due to cold stagnation of food as a result of insufficiency of spleen-yang:
Use it with herbs for the warming of the interior, such as monkshood root (Radix Aconiti Praeparata), dried ginger, etc., e.g., Weipi Tang.
(D) Initial attacks of dysentery due to damp-heat and abdominal pain with tenesmus (a distressing but ineffectual urge to evacuate the rectum or bladder) :
Use it with Chinese goldthread rhizome (Rhizoma Coptidis), aucklandia root, etc., in order to clear stagnated food in the large intestine.
(E) Abdominal pain due to stagnation of food and diarrhea without smooth defecation:
Use it with dried green orange peel, aucklandia root, etc., in order to purge stagnant food to remove stagnancy.
2. To treat hematemesis, epistaxis and hemoptysis due to blood heat and ailments caused by flaming-up of pathogenic fire such as conjunctivitis, sore throat, gingivitis, etc.:
Use it with Chinese goldthread rhizome (Rhizoma Coptidis) and skullcap root (Radix Scutellariae), e.g., Xiexin Tang. In modern clinical treatment of bleeding of the digestive tract, rhubarb powder alone has quite good curative effects .
3. To treat skin and external diseases due to toxic heat and burns and scalds:
(A) Carbuncles and furuncles due to toxic heat:
Use it with honeysuckle flower (Flos Lonicerae), dandelion (Herba Taraxaci), weeping forsythia fruit (Fructus Forsythiae), etc. As this herb can clear away toxic heat and subdue swelling, it can be used externally by being ground into powder and mixed with honey for the application onto the affected part.
(B) Abdominal pain:
Use it with tree peony root-bark, peach kernels, etc., e.g., Dahuang Mudan Tang.
(C) Aphthae of the mouth and tongue:
Ground it with dried alum into powder and applied onto the affected part.
(D) Scalds and burns:
Its powder can be used alone or in combination with garden burnet root (Radix Sanguisorbae) powder and mixed with sesame oil for application onto the affected part.
4. To treat syndromes of blood stasis:
This herb has a better effect on promoting blood circulation by removing blood stasis, so it is a common herb for the treatment of blood stasis syndromes.
(A) Postpartum abdominal pain due to stasis and obstruction with unexpelled lochia:
Use it with peach kernels, ground beetle, etc., e.g., Xia Yuxue Tang.
(B) Dysmenorrhea due to blood stasis:
Use it with safflower, Chinese angelica, etc.
(C) Traumatic injuries with blood stasis, swelling and pain:
Use it with peach kernels, safflower, pangolin scale, etc., e.g., Fuyuan Huoxue Tang.
5. To treat ailments due to damp-heat, such as jaundice, strangury, etc.:
(A) Jaundice due to damp-heat:
Use it with capillary artemisia (Herba Artemisiae Scopariae) and cape jasmine fruit (Fructus Gardeniae), e.g., Yinchen Hao Tang.
(B) Strangury due to damp-heat:
Use it with five-leaf akebia stem (Caulis Akebiae), Asian plantain seed (Semen Plantaginis), cape jasmine fruit (Fructus Gardeniae), etc., e.g., Bazheng San.
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