This plant has a long tradition as an effective laxative, but it actually offers dual action. While it can treat constipation, it also has an astringent effect afterwards. Thus it helps clean out the intestinal tract and then provides an antiseptic benefit as well.
Ordinary garden rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum) is just one of the many members of this plant group, but other species, including R. palmatum, are the ones that offer medicinal benefits. Rhubarb root, or rhizome to be more precise, contains anthraquinone glycosides, which are natural stimulants also found in senna and buckthorn. At higher doses, rhubarb root can soften stools and help relieve constipation, while at lower doses the tannins in rhubarb supersede the anthraquinone activity and make it effective in relieving diarrhea. The herb also reportedly can enhance gallbladder function and help release toxins from the body.
If rhubarb root is on your remedy list, follow package directions to make sure you are using the proper amount for your complaint. Consult a knowledgeable healthcare provider before taking this supplement.
Herbal Extracts Plus: http://www.herbalextractsplus.com/rhubarb-root.cfm