Have you ever heard of rhubarb? Still confused about what it is and what are the health benefits of it. Do you want to know that other ingredient in your strawberry pie that makes it even more tastier? Don’t fret anymore, here we are to help you know all about this little-known plant rhubarb and its numerous benefits. Read on to get all your answers on rhubarb, such as rhubarb benefits, rhubarb leaves, rhubarb poison, rhubarb recipe, rhubarb pie, rhubarb taste and more.
What Is Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is the species belonging to the plant family of Polygonaceae. They are a kind of herbaceous perennial. They grow out from short but quite thick rhizomes. Not every part of this perennial is edible. The leaf stalks are the ones that are fit for human consumption and are often used in cooking and making delicious desserts. The large leaves growing out of these stalks is inedible. They contain high amounts of oxalic acid in them. Other than the leaf the plant bears small flowers from season to season. They are often found in large clusters and their color may vary from white to a rosy red.
Is Rhubarb A Fruit Or Vegetable?
Rhubarb, in reality, is a vegetable but because of its usage in the kitchen people often mistakenly think of it as a fruit. The reason behind this confusion is that the leaf stalk is edible even in its raw form just like we eat any other fruit. Another reason owing to this confusion is because of the way it is used in culinary. They are often used in making sweet dishes and desserts like pies and tarts just the way we use apples and oranges. Although, this must be kept in mind that it is a vegetable because it is a species that is biologically considered as a vegetable.
Nutritional Value Of Rhubarb
Rhubarbs are well known for their high vitamins and minerals content. They also contain a high number of anti-oxidants and are quite healthy for the entire body. Below we have mentioned about the nutritional content of 100 grams of rhubarb.
- Energy: 21 Kcal
- Carbohydrates: 4.5 g (sugar:1.1 g, Dietary fiber: 1.8g)
- Fat: 0.3 g
- Protein:0.8 g
Given below is a detailed list of the kind of vitamins present in the rhubarb along with its amount
- Thiamine(B1): 0.02mg
- Riboflavin(B2): 0.03mg
- Pantothenic Acid(B5): 0.085mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.024mg
- Folate: 7µg
- Chlorine: 6.1mg
- Vitamin C: 8mg
- Vitamin E: 0.27mg
- Vitamin K: 29.3µg
Next is the list that illustrates the number of minerals present in rhubarb:
- Calcium: 86mg
- Iron: 0.22mg
- Magnesium: 12mg
- Manganese: 0.196mg
- Phosphorus: 14mg
- Potassium: 228mg
- Sodium: 4mg
- Zinc: 0.1mg
Benefits Of Rhubarb:
The benefits of eating rhubarb are many. They are known to provide great health benefits. Be it your digestive tract, your neural health or even your eyes and skin, rhubarb can be your one answer to all these health issues. Below, we have discussed all the benefits of rhubarb in detail:
Keeping Check On Your Body Weight
Gaining weight is one of the root causes of big health issues. Maintaining a proper body weight can help you evade many diseases. Rhubarb is of great help in such situations. It is low in calories and contains a lot of organic compounds. The organic compounds are helpful in increasing the metabolic rate of the body and as a result, more fat is burnt.
Controls Heart Problems:
As rhubarb is known for its low cholesterol and low-fat content, it can be beneficial in the prevention of various cardiovascular issues. The dietary fibers present in it help in removing the excess fat from the different blood capillaries and the arteries of the body. Another great point is that it is very rich in anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants help in getting rid of the free radicals in the body.
Improves The Condition Of The Digestive System:
Rhubarbs have a lot of dietary fiber in them. These dietary fibers are very useful in increasing the amount of stool formed inside the body. Thus, this increased amount of fiber helps you poop, resulting in the better clearance of the digestive tract. Rhubarbs were traditional medicines for treating constipation in China. It is also very helpful in getting rid of other gastrointestinal problems like cramps and bloating of the stomach. It is of great help in preventing colorectal cancer.
Can Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease:
As already mentioned, the high vitamin K content has been proven to be of great help to the brain. It is also known to help in the improvement of the neural health. A higher Vitamin K content helps in increasing the oxidation of the red blood cells in the body. A higher amount of oxidized red blood cells means a higher simulation of the cognitive activities in the brain.
Can Help In The Improvement Of The Body Health:
The Vitamin K is also responsible for other activities including the orthotropic activity including the development of bones and their repair. The high amount of calcium and other minerals present in them help in the protection of the body.
Rhubarb has a lot of anti-oxidants, which help neutralize the free radicals in the body. These free radicals are the by-products of the cellular metabolism inside the body. As the number of free radicals in the body increase, more and more cells mutate and die. As a result, cancer and other chronic diseases can occur. The beta-carotene and the various polyphenolic compounds present in the rhubarb help in preventing cancer. They can also help in the prevention of oral and lung cancer too.
Protects The Eyes:
Rhubarb can help in the improvement of vision. The same Beta-carotene and polyphenolic compounds that help in the prevention of cancer also work to make our eyesight better.
Can Help Improve Blood Circulation:
The iron and copper present in the rhubarb initiate the growth of new red blood cells. As the number of red blood cells increases in the body, more and more blood is oxygenated in the body and more of it reaches to various body parts. This results in increasing the body’s metabolism.
Helps In The Treatment Of Diabetes:
The rhaponticin present in the rhubarb helps in managing the blood sugar level thus being of great help in Diabetes
Delays Skin Aging:
The antioxidants also help in taking care of the skin and delays aging. A regular consumption will also help lighten the skin naturally.
Relieves PMS Symptoms:
Rhubarbs are great in relieving hot flashes in cases of perimenopause. They contain a high amount of phytoestrogen responsible for controlling such issues.
Can Improve The Health Of Kidneys:
Rhubarbs are great for our kidneys as well. They improve the therapeutic effects in the treatment of stage 3 and stage 4 of chronic kidney diseases.
The entire rhubarb plant is not edible. Only the leaf stalks are found to be fit for consumption. The other parts like the big fleshy leaves budding out of the leaf stalks cannot be eaten. These leaves contain a very high amount of oxalic acid. The oxalic acid is known to be nephrotic in nature and it is a corrosive acid. There are other toxins too that are present in the leaves. One such chemical present is anthraquinone glycoside. They are found to be poisonous in nature and are found to be fatal for humans.
The Taste Of Rhubarb:
It is hard to classify the taste of rhubarb as sweet or sour. The closest comparison that can be made is the mixed taste of a sour green apple and the refreshing taste of a celery. The ripe rhubarb stalks are said to have a tart like taste. In fact, the raw ones are often found too are a too tart taste to be eaten. If you are going to taste it for the first time, we suggest you sweeten it with honey or sugar to neutralize the taste a bit. People often need to develop a taste for it before enjoying it. It has a clean and strongly sweet taste with a little bit of tangy twist at the end. You can also try to mix it with other citrus fruits and eat it. Strawberry and rhubarb together provide an amazing delight to the taste buds.
The Toxicity Of Rhubarb:
The rhubarb plant has parts that can prove to be fatal, especially the leaves that contain a high amount of oxalic acid. Although, they have to be consumed in a very high amount to actually cause death. The poisoning cause by rhubarb leaves can be termed as follows:
- Rheum Officinal Poisoning
- Rheum Barbarum poisoning
- Rhubarb leaves toxicity
The symptoms of the poisoning can be mild as well as severe. Below we have mentioned all the symptoms that may occur because of rhubarb poisoning
- Breathing problems
- Burning sensation in the mouth
- Burning throat
- Kidney stones
- Red urine
- Stomach ache
First Aid For Dealing With Rhubarb Poisoning:
If the patient shows any of the following symptoms after consuming rhubarb or coming in contact with the plant, call for emergency medical help. Wash the skin and hands and other parts that came in contact with the plant with lots of water. Do not make the person ingest anything more. Do not make the person vomit unless asked to do by a medical expert. Make sure to notice all the symptoms present, the amount consumed, the health and age of the person before contacting for help. At the emergency ward, the patient’s vitals will be taken to ascertain the condition. One of the following treatment methods might be used by the medical practitioner at the emergency center:
- Activated charcoal
- Breathing support
- Fluids by IV
- Medicines for the various symptoms manifested in the body
- Gastric lavage
At times the patient may go through chest x-rays and blood and urine test to conclude upon a more definitive treatment method.
How To Prevent Rhubarb Poisoning:
- Make sure to remove all the leaves before consuming the leaf stalk raw
- Wash the stalks thoroughly
- After tending to a rhubarb plant, make sure to clean your hands and the other body parts properly
- Always follow all the gardening instructions when growing a rhubarb plant
- Make sure to cook the stalks properly.
The tart like taste of rhubarb makes it one of the firsts choices of the chefs around the world for making a mouth-watering pie. Here’s an easy rhubarb pie recipe that you can make yourself.
- Two crust pastry
- cups of sugar
- 2 tbsp. grated orange peel
- 6 cups of chopped fresh rhubarb
- I tbsp. cold butter or lighten the skin
- 6tbsp all-purpose flour
- Heat oven to 450⁰ F and place one pastry crust in a 9-inch glass plate.
- Take a glass bowl and add the sugar, orange peel and flour together.
- After mixing, add in the mixture the chopped rhubarbs.
- Put this mixture in the pastry lined plates and add a little butter.
- Now cover it with the top crust and make slits in it.
- Bake it for 50 to 55 minutes
- During the last 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake.
- Cool the pie for two hours before serving.
Rhubarb In Hindi:
Rhubarb is perennial and it is native to central Asia. Rhubarb is stated by different names in different places. Below we have mentioned its name in the popular languages in India:
- Bengali: Banglana-vanchini
- Hindi: Dolu, Ravandichini
- Gujarati: Gamnirivandchini
- Marathi: Ladakirchvandachini
- Telugu: Nattu-ravandichini
Rhubarbs are considered to be quite undemanding and they seem to produce well in most of the seasons. They can be grown even in greenhouses. Such rhubarbs are called hothouse rhubarbs and are way sweeter with rosy red leaf stalks. They can be grown from seeds but the crowns of the plant and the budded plants tend to produce crops sooner. A crowned plant is almost a year old and can be harvested in a year while the budded ones take two years to produce. These plants grow well in sunny areas but even a semi-shady place is fine for their growth. They can be planted all-round the year but spring and autumn season are best ones for their growth as in these seasons the soil is moist enough. They can be started in pots too and then transferred. Although, it is preferable not to disturb the plant once it starts growing. One must make sure that the soil does not remain soggy or waterlogged for a long time as it can make the roots rot. Drought conditions should also be avoided. The plants are prone to bacterial and fungal infections and thus take measures to stop them. In case a part is infested, cut it and separate it to avoid the death of the entire plant.
So this was all about Rhubarbs. Still, have questions or other suggestions? Write to us un the comments section below. Let it all come in and don’t forget to have a good life and Live It Beautifully.