This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- The scientific world happens to be in much argument as to the exact plant or plants from which Rhubarb is produced. It is, however, well known to all instructed herbablists the Rhubarb is the root of a Rheum, and that the plant from which the drug of the shops is obtained chiefly inhabits Chinese Tartary, and grows wild on the mountains and highlands of that section of the globe. That the truth of its botanical identity is not elicited is owing to a severe prohibition of the Chinese government. Every sacrifice to obtain the true plant or the seed has been in vain.
History. -- There are several varieties met with in commerce termed the Russian, Chinese, English, and French Rhubarb, among which the Russian is considered the best. The names are given, not that they are produced in indicated countries, but of the channels by which they are thrown upon the market. Rhubarb has a peculiar aromatic odor, bitter, faintly astringent taste, and when chewed tinges the saliva yellow. It contains oxalate of lime in abundance.
Properties and Uses. -- Of the powder, as a purgative, from ten to thirty grains. As a laxative, from five to ten grains. As a tonic, from one to five grains. Of the tincture or syrup, one to two fluid drachms.