Rhubarb: The secret nutrients hidden in these deep red stems

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What is Rhubarb?

It is a very unusual kind of vegetable. Rhubarbs are thick sticks which are usually cooked with sugar. The colour of rhubarb ranges from red to pink and tastes really sour. Rhubarb generally rows in cold areas, hence it is found in the mountainous areas and temperate regions. It has a consistency which is very similar to celery. There are several varieties of rhubarbs in existence. Rhubarb is often used to make medicines as well.  Most commonly, the stalks of rhubarb are eaten. It is used mostly in sweet soups, jams, sauces, pies, tarts, crumbles, cocktails and rhubarb wine.

What is the nutrient content of Rhubarb?

Rhubarb is an excellent source of Vitamin K1 which plays a very pivotal role in bone metabolism and blood clotting. A 100 gram serving of Rhubarb provides 26% – 37% of Daily Value(DV) of vitamin K1. Rhubarb is very high in fibres and it is similar to other fruits and vegetables like oranges, apples and celery.

One 100 gram or 3.5 ounces of serving of Rubarb consist of the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 116
  • Fibre: 2 grams
  • Vitamin K1: 26% of the DV(Daily Value)
  • Protein: 0.4 grams
  • Carbohydrate: 31.2 grams
  • Folate: 1% of the DV(Daily Value)
  • Potassium: 3% of the DV(Daily  Value)
  • Calcium: 15% of the DV(Daily Value)
  • Vitamin C: 6% of the DV(Daily Value)

The calcium present in the Rhubarb is present in the form of the antinutrient Calcium Oxalate which is not absorbed by the body efficiently. 

Why is Rhubarb sour in taste?

Rhubarb tastes too sour mainly because of the malic acid and the oxalic content in it. One of the most abundant acids in plants is the malic acid and it results in the sour taste of the Rhubarb. It is interesting how growing Rhubarb in darkness can help in its lesser sour growth and makes it even more tender. This variety which is grown in darkness is known as forced rhubarb and it is generally grown during the late winters and spring.

What are the health benefits of consuming Rhubarb?

There are several health benefits of Rhubarb. Some of the most common health benefits of consuming Rhubarb are as follows:

Richness of anti-Oxidants

Rhubarb is filled with Anti-Oxidants such as anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are responsible for the red colour of the Rhubarb. Proanthocyanidins(condensed tannins) are also present in a very good amount in Rhubarb. There are various benefits of the antioxidants present in the Rhubarb. Some of the most common and pivotal functions of Rhubarb are as follows:

– Delays the ageing of the cells
– Promotes better growth of  the plants
– Anthocyanins help in maintaining the red colour of the Rhubarb
– Antioxidants help in preventing cardiovascular diseases, cancer, muscular degeneration, etc.

Helps in lowering the levels of cholesterol

The high fibre content of the Rhubarb is really helpful in lowering the amount of cholesterol in the body of an individual. 

Canker Sores

  Applying a solution which contains rhubarb can easily fasten the healing of the canker sores by 3 days. 

Cold sores(herpes labialis)

Any cream containing rhubarb when applied helps in the fast healing of the cold sores.

Improves the symptoms of menopause

The symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes, sweating, sleep, mood changes, quality of life, fatigue and sexual problems are improved by the consumption of the extract of Rhubarb.

Inflammation (swelling) of the pancreas

The pain related to the inflammation or the swelling of the pancreas which is also called pancreatitis can be reduced by giving Rhubarb powder through a tube directly into the intestines. Rhubarb can be very helpful in preventing pancreatitis in individuals who have a specific type of surgery called ECRP(Endoscopic Retrograde CholangioPancreatography) 

What are the other conditions which might be treated with Rhubarb?

There are various other conditions which can be treated with Rhubarb. Some of the conditions are as such:

  • Various lung problems can be treated by using Rhubarb. People with ARDS(Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) can also be treated using Rhubarb.
  • Menstrual cramps also are known as dysmenorrhea can be reduced by the intake of Rhubarb.
  • The bleeding in the stomach and intestines can be stopped by using Rhubarb.
  • Consumption of Rhubarb consistently for 4 weeks can be really helpful in reducing the cholesterol in the blood of the body. It helps in the reduction of Total  Cholesterol as well as the LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein)
  • Blood infection or sepsis is a condition which can be treated by the intake of Rhubarb along with the other standard treatments which are available for sepsis.
  • The conditions like diarrhoea and haemorrhoids are also treated via the consumption of Rhubarb to a certain extent.
  • The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD is the condition in which there is a development of fat in the liver in the people who don’t drink alcohol or drinks very less alcohol. This condition can also be fought by using Rhubarb.

What are the various side-effects of Rhubarb?

There are various side-effects of Rhubarb consumptions depending on the condition of an individual. Some of  the most common side-effects of Rhubarb in various conditions are:

  • Rhubarb intake or consuming Rhubarb during pregnancy or lactating is unsafe when used in more amounts than those found in foods.
  • Rhubarb consumption can worsen the condition of Diarrhoea or Constipation.
  • In the case of Constipation, appendicitis, unexplained stomach pain and other inflammatory conditions like Crohn’s Disease, colitis and irritable bowel syndrome(IBS), there should be no intake of Rhubarb at all since it might have several adverse health effects and can even worsen the condition.
  • The chemicals present in Rhubarb can lead to various kidney problems. The consumption of Rhubarb in excess can even result in kidney failure.
  • Rhubarb consists of chemicals which can be easily converted into kidney stones. In the case of the individuals already having kidney stones, rhubarb consumption should be strictly avoided to prevent the worsening of the condition.
  • People who are already suffering from various liver problems should always avoid any kind of consumption of Rhubarb since it can worsen the condition of the liver of an individual.

What are the 5 best ways of eating Rhubarb?

Raw Rhubarb

Remove all the leaves from the rhubarb since they are poisonous and make sure you try the stalks of  Rhubarb raw. It is generally recommended to dip in sugar or something sweet such as honey, maple syrup or agave nectar to remove the sourness or the tartness.  You can also prefer sprinkling diced Rhubarb over yoghurt or cereal.


A tart is added in any smoothie by adding Rhubarb like cranberries. It can be added in the vegetable puree and also finds its use in the making of margarita. Rhubarb can be used for making jams which can be used with a couple of tablespoons of water, blending it and cooling it after which champagne or prosecco can be added for making a perfect Rhubarb Bellini. 


Smothered Rhubarb signifies mainly Rhubarb sauces and salsas which are mainly used for adding great flavour to various delicacies. It is one of the best ways to make use of Rhubarb. The sauces, chutneys made out of rhubarb can be used for the preparation of various dishes like salmon, trout, roast chicken, turkey, duck and pork chops.


Rhubarb can be easily roasted in chunks on a baking sheet while drizzling it with honey or sprinkling it with sugar for about 5 minutes. After letting the Rhubarb chunks cool down. Some green veggies are tossed in. You can also add toasted walnuts, goat cheese, arugula and fennel to make it more delicious.


Dried Rhubarb is made firstly by cooking the Rhubarb with cinnamon sticks. Some sugar is added for adding to the taste of it. After cooking it, pour it into a dehydrator where it is dried on a lining of parchment paper at 135 degrees for 9 hours.

How to make Rhubarb stew?

For making Rhubarb stew, you have to  follow the following guidelines:

  • At first, remove the leaves of the Rhubarb since they are highly toxic. Make sure not to eat them at all under any circumstances.
  • The stalks of the Rhubarb are rinsed properly and chopped into small pieces.
  • Add water and sugar to the Chopped Rhubarb chunks. For 1 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of water and 6 cups pf Rhubarbs are required.
  • Put the gas oven in simmer i.e. let it cook in low medium heat for about 15 minutes and let it cool down.

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