Turkey rhubarb (Rheum palmatum, Polygonaceae)

Turkey Rhubarb-Rheum Species

Turkey rhubarb is a plant that is helpful as a tonic laxative, an herbal medicine taken regularly to help regulate bowel function.

Several species are used medicinally, including Rheum palmatum (the photo) and R. officinale. They are closely related to the Rhubarb (R. × hybridum) used in pies, though that species is not used as a laxative.

The root is the medicinal part of this plant.

It is a beneficial laxative for people who have sluggish peristalsis. It is for people who might have a bowel movement every day or so, but it is an effort to get it out. Turkey rhubarb does not have the strong purging activity of Senna (Senna or Cassia species) or Cascara sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana), but it is a lot safer and will not usually cause any cramping pain. It helps to create more effective bowel activity. It can also be taken as needed, though it is not as strong as the other just-mentioned herbs. It is often taken for longer periods of time to help with bowel movements.

It does not seem to create the kind of dependence that can be caused by Senna.

Garden rhubarb (Rheum x hybridum, Polygonaceae)

The two main ways I’ve administered it are by capsule and tincture. The dosage depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are looking to have a bowel movement soon, start with two capsules or ½-1 dropperful before going to sleep. If you don’t poop the next day, try three capsules or 1-1½ dropperfuls right before sleep. The reason to start with a lower dosage is to reduce any chance of cramping. It is helpful to take laxatives right before sleep, as it gives them a greater opportunity to work when your body is in a more relaxed state.

For people looking to regulate their bowel habits, try 1 capsule or ½ dropper of tincture before sleep. If that doesn’t work, try taking a capsule or a ½ dropperful in the morning as well. You can slowly increase your dosage until you find the amount the works for you.

While I am making herbal and health suggestions here, please consider your own sensitivity to medicines and other ingested ingredients.

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