Growing and Processing Chinese Rhubarb
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Geraldine
Posted on: June 18, 2008

I am growing Chinese rhubarb (Rheum officinale, R. palmatum) Da huang; Turkey rhubarb.

My questions are: at what age can I start using the roots for making Essiac, and is there anything special I need to know to use them? Plus can I eat the stalks above like any other rhubarb?

Rhubarb is harvested in the third year according to Lin Yulin, a medicinal herbs expert working in Gansu, China, where much of the world’s medicinal rhubarb is from. Like other medicinal roots, they are best harvested in the early fall after flowering and as the cooler weather arrives. At this time the plants are withdrawing resources from the above ground parts and storing them in the roots, making the roots more potent medicinally.

Not all rhubarbs are edible. According our customer Justin Nichols, Rheum palmatum is not edible. He tried it and suffered severe diarrhea for two days. You can read his account here:

http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=./QandA/Culinary/20070620-1.html

PS if there is any chance of Bill C-51 going through please delete this message. I need to continue making Essiac. My husband has had cancer. They wanted to give him radiation, he refused and immediately went on Essiac and is now 1 year 3 months cancer free. Thank you Richters and thank you Essiac!

Of course you are referring to the proposed Canadian legislation which many people fear will affect the availability of herbs in Canada. Although we have many serious concerns with the proposed law, it will not prevent you or others from continuing to make and use your own medicines from herbs in your garden. You should have no worries about this post; but just to ease your mind, we have removed your surname.

It is wonderful to hear that your husband is cancer-free! Thank you for sharing that with us.

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