Rheum emodi L.
Synonym: R. australe D. Don
Species: R. emodi
Sindhi Name: Revand chini
Local Name: Revand chini
English Name: Indian Rhubarb, Himalyan Rhubarb
Part Used: Roots and leaves
Rheum emodi Wall. ex Meissn is a stout herb, up to 3 m tall with dark brown, thick, and long branching roots. Leaves are large, 40 cm long, and broadly ovate. Flowers are dark purplish, minute, and appear in a very large bunch.1, 2
R. emodi is extensively found in sub-alpine Himalayas, from Kashmir to Sikkim at altitudes of 3, 300- 5, and 200 m. It is also cultivated in Assam.1 Rhubarb is also widely cultivated in India, China, Europe, and Turkey. Ordinary deep rich soil and sunny positions are ideal.2
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Mixture of ground jaggery, raisins, kali jhiri, and revand chini (Rhubarb) is mixed with oil, and applied topically twice to cure old wounds in District Jacobabad (Sindh).
R. emodi contains hydroxyanthracenederivatives, composed ofemodin, chrysophanol, and their glycosides.9,10 A number of other anthraquinone derivatives are mainly composed of aloe-emodin, physcion, rhein, emodin glycoside, and chrysophanol glycoside occur as the main chemical constituents. Sulfemodin 8-O-β-d-glucoside, revandchinone-1, revandchinone-2, revandchinone-3, revandchinone-4, 6-methyl-rhein, and 6-methyl aloe-emodin are also reported from the same species.11 R. emodi rhizome contains piceatannol.
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies:
Lotion prepared by R. emodi is used as drops for treating earache.2 Powdered root of R. emodi is used for cleaning teeth and sprinkled over ulcers.3 Rhubarb is used in chronic diarrhea, dysentery, and constipation.3 Rhubarb is also useful in certain skin diseases.4 It is used as a purgative and astringent tonic.7
R. emodi is reported to possess protective effect in many inflammatory diseases and stress-related injuries.8 Anthraquinone content of R. emodi exhibited antifungal, anti-microbial, anti-Parkinson’s, anti-proliferative, immuno-enhancing, antiviral, and antioxidant activities.11,12 Emodin of rhubarb treats SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).13 Rhizomes of R. emodi has shown significant hepatoprotective and immune-enhancing activities.14, 15
1- Khare, C. P. (2007), Indian Medicinal plants, p. 543, Springer Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
2- Prof. Bhattacharjee, S. K. (2004), Handbook of Medicinal Plants, p. 296-297, Pointer Publisher, Jaipure 303003 (Raj), India.
3-From Ancient Greek
5- Ambasta, S.P. (1986), The Useful Plants of India, p. 519, Messera Aruna Publishers press, New Delhi, India.
6- Dr. Nadkarins, K. M. (1954), Indian Materia Medica, p.1058, Manglore Press, India.
9-Indian Herbal Pharmacopia Vol. II, p. 123
10- Shah, C. S., Quadry, J. S., and Bhatt, J. G. (1972). Qualitative and Quantitative Evaluation of
Anthraquinone Derivatives in Indian Rhubarb. Planta Med., p. 22, 103-108.
12-Kong, L. D., Cheng, C. H. K., and Tan, R. X. (2004). Inhibition of MAO A and B by Some Plant Derived Alkaloids, Phenols and Anthraquinones. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 91, 351–355.
13-Ho, T. Y., Wu, S. L., Chen, J. C., Li, C. C., and Hsian, C. Y. (2007), Emodin blocks the SARS Coronavirus Spike Protein and Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 Interaction. Antiviral Research, 74, 92–101.
14-Ibrahim, M., Khaja, M. N., Aara, A., Khan, A. A., Habeeb, M. A., and Devi, Y. P. (2008). Hepatoprotective activity of Sapindus mukorossi and Rheum emodi extracts: In vitro and in vivo studies. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 14, 2566–2571.