This section is from the book "Dental Medicine. A Manual Of Dental Materia Medica And Therapeutics", by Ferdinand J. S. Gorgas. Also available from Amazon: Dental Medicine.
The root of Rheum officinale. It contains two acids, rheo-tannic and rheumic, a resin, phaoretin, and an acid, chryso-phan or chrysophani.
Rhubarb possesses tonic and astringent as well as purgative properties. In small doses, as a tonic, it promotes the appetite and digestive power, and by virtue of the tannic acid it contains, is astringent. The purgative principle it possesses enables sufficient doses of rhubarb to act as a cathartic, producing stools which are of a yellowish-brown color, and soft, but not watery. It has no tendency to cause gastro-enteric inflammation. It is now classed among the cholagogues, as it increases the flow of bile and the intestinal secretions, which is due to phaeoretin - rhubarb resin. Its coloring matter not only stains the stools, but also the perspiration, milk of nursing women, to which it gives a bitter taste and purgative principles, and the urine. It is employed with benefit in diarrhoea caused by the accumulation of undigested food in the intestines, hemorrhoids accompanied by constipation, dyspepsia with deficient biliary and intestinal secretions, the summer diarrhoea of children in the form of the aromatic syrup, and in catarrh of biliary ducts with jaundice; and the chewing of rhubarb root is beneficial in habitual constipation; its frequent use, however, is objectionable on account of the astringent aftereffect, which in the rhubarb pill is remedied by the soap.
Of Extractum Rhei - Extract of Rhubarb, grs. x to grs. xv. Of Extractum Rhei Fluidum - Fluid extract of rhubarb, to
Of Pilulae Rhei - Rhubarb pills, each pill consists of grs. iij of rhubarb and gr. j of soap. Of Pilulae Rhei Composite - Compound pills of rhubarb, consisting of rhubarb, aloes and myrrh. Dose, 2 to 4 pills. Of Syrupus Rhei - Syrup of rhubarb, to
Of Tinctura Rhei Aromaticus - Aromatic tincture of rhubarb, to
Of Tinctura Rhei Dulcis Sweet tincture of rhubarb, to
Of Vinum Rhei - Wine of rhubarb, to
Of Pulvis Rhei Compositus - Compound powder of rhubarb, a teaspoonful.