Plum Dragon Herbs

Da Huang (Rhubarb Root)


Da Huang, also known as Rhubarb Root, is a traditional Chinese herb that is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for its numerous health benefits. This root is believed to have properties that can help to regulate the flow of energy in the body and promote healthy digestion, making it an important ingredient in many TCM formulas. Da Huang is commonly used to treat digestive issues, such as constipation, abdominal pain, and bloating, as well as to support healthy weight management and boost energy levels.

Chinese Rhubarb Root is also called "Greater Yellow Root" after a story about an herbalist, Dr. Five Yellow, who prescribed it often. Rhubarb is a potent purgative with ancillary action to activate Blood Circulation and resolve stasis, when combined with the proper herbs. This root is bitter and exhibits a cold energy, and enters the Spleen, Stomach, Large Intestine, Liver, and Heart meridians.

In TCM, Da Huang is considered to have a bitter and cold flavor, and it is often used in combination with other herbs to enhance its effects. This herb is also believed to have immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is commonly used to treat skin conditions and alleviate pain and swelling. Da Huang can be found in the form of teas, decoctions, and dietary supplements, and it is often used in conjunction with other herbs to enhance its effects. 

High Quality Da Huang: What does it look like?

High-quality Da Huang, also known as Rhubarb, is the dried root of the Rheum palmatum plant. The root is reddish-brown to dark brown in color, and is characterized by its rough and irregular texture, as well as its slightly bitter taste.

A high-quality Da Huang should have a firm texture and an even color, with no signs of decay or mold. It should also have a strong and bitter taste, indicating its potency and freshness. The root should not be brittle, and should have a good balance of both flesh and fiber.

How is Da Huang prepared and processed?

Rheum palmatum, the plant species from which Da Huang (Rhubarb) is derived, is native to China, specifically in the northwestern regions of the country such as Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia. It is also found in other parts of Asia, including Mongolia, Russia, and Kazakhstan. In these regions, it grows in mountainous areas at high altitudes. 

The optimal growing conditions for Rheum palmatum (Da Huang) include well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.  This plant requires ample sunlight, but can also tolerate partial shade. Rheum palmatum grows best in a cool and moist climate, with temperatures ranging between 10°C to 15°C. Adequate moisture is important for the growth of Rheum palmatum, but it should not be waterlogged. Rheum palmatum benefits from regular fertilization with a balanced fertilizer or compost.

In its natural habitat, Rheum palmatum grows in mountainous areas at high altitudes, and is able to adapt to harsh growing conditions. However, to ensure optimal growth and quality of the root, it is important to provide the plant with the proper growing conditions.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Da Huang (Rhubarb) is dried, prepared, and processed as follows:

  1. Harvesting: The root of the Rheum palmatum plant is harvested in late autumn or early winter, when it is most mature and contains the highest concentration of medicinal compounds.

  2. Drying: After harvesting, the roots are cleaned and dried in a cool and well-ventilated place. This process helps to reduce moisture content and preserve the potency of the root.

  3. Slicing: The dried root is then sliced into thin pieces to increase the surface area and enhance the extraction of medicinal compounds.

  4. Steaming: The sliced root is then steamed to soften it and remove impurities. This also helps to activate the medicinal compounds and prepare the root for processing.

  5. Processing: After steaming, the root is further processed to extract its active ingredients and prepare it for use in TCM. This may include soaking in water or alcohol to extract the compounds, or grinding the root into a powder for use in capsules or decoctions.

The dried, prepared, and processed Da Huang is then used in TCM as an ingredient in various herbal formulas to treat a variety of conditions, including digestive disorders, constipation, and inflammation. It is important to note that Da Huang should only be used under the guidance of a licensed practitioner of TCM, as it can have potent effects and may interact with other medications.

Popular Recipe for Da Huang

A commonly used recipe in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that contains Da Huang (Rhubarb) is the "Da Huang Rou Gan San" formula, which is used to treat digestive problems such as abdominal pain and bloating. Here is the recipe for this formula:


  • 3g Da Huang (Rhubarb)
  • 6g Rou Gui (Cinnamon Bark)
  • 9g Gan Jiang (Dried Ginger)
  • 30g Huang Qi (Astragalus Root)


  1. Grind the Da Huang, Rou Gui, and Gan Jiang into a fine powder.
  2. Mix the powder with the Huang Qi.
  3. Place the mixture in a pot with 3 cups of water.
  4. Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Strain the liquid and drink as a decoction.

It is important to note that this recipe should only be used under the guidance of a licensed practitioner of TCM, as Da Huang can have potent effects and may interact with other medications.

Safety Precautions for the use of Da Huang

When using and handling Da Huang (Rheum palmatum), it is important to take the following precautions:

  1. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional before using Da Huang, as it may interact with certain medications or have contraindications for certain health conditions.

  2. Da Huang should only be used in small doses, as it can be toxic in large amounts and may cause adverse reactions such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and low blood pressure.

  3. Avoid using Da Huang during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

  4. Keep Da Huang out of reach of children and pets.

  5. Store Da Huang in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.

  6. If you experience any adverse reactions after using Da Huang, discontinue use and consult with a healthcare professional.

  7. Da Huang should be used with caution if you have a history of liver or kidney disease, as it can be damaging to these organs.

  8. Da Huang should also be used with caution if you have a history of allergies or skin sensitivities, as it may cause skin irritation.

  9. Da Huang may also cause drowsiness or dizziness, so use caution if you will be driving or operating heavy machinery after consuming it.

It’s important to note that this is a general guideline and it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or herbalist to determine the right dosage and usage for you

Additional Information about Da Huang

Common Names: Da Huang, Da Huang Herb (Chinese Rhubarb root); Rheum Palmatum; Radix et Rhizoma Rhei

Properties: Bitter, cold

Channels Entered: Spleen, Stomach, Large Intestine, Liver, Heart


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