Bioactive Compounds of Rhubarb (Rheum Species)

Reference work entry
Part of the Reference Series in Phytochemistry book series (RSP)


Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum L.; family, Polygonaceae) is a perennial herbaceous plant widely sought for their rich nutraceutical values. Several cultivated and wild species of rhubarb commands high demand in international market. Leaves are toxic, while stalk or the petioles are edible as food. Dried root/rhizome command usage in traditional medicine and is scientifically proven to impart a wide array of health benefits. Rhubarb’s therapeutic value is accredited to the presence of bioactive compounds such as anthraquinones, hydroxyanthraquinone, aloe-emodin, emodin, rhein, stilbene, rhaponticin, dietary fiber, and much more. These bioactive compounds are established for exhibiting antioxidant, anticancer, antimicrobial, antidiarrheal, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, hepatoprotective activities, and much more. Even though several published works are available on rhubarb, in majority of the instances, information remains scattered, especially for the sub-cultivars, and for the actual mechanism of action imparted by the bioactive compounds. In this chapter, some of the interesting research themes published on rhubarb’s use, food and therapeutic values, composition (nutritional and bioactive compounds), and proved bioactivity are presented.


Bioactive compounds Bioactivity Rhubarb Traditional use Therapeutic values 



This chapter theme is based on the ongoing project-VALORTECH, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 810630.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ERA-Chair for Food (By-) Products Valorisation Technologies (VALORTECH)Estonian University of Life SciencesTartuEstonia

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