Revand chini, Archu or Indian Rhubarb is a medicinal herb found in Himalaya from Kashmir to Sikkim at high altitude. It is a perennial shrub with rhizomes roots. Indian Rhubarb is known as Amlavetasa in Ayurveda. For medicinal purpose the roots of plant are dug up and dried. The dried roots are ground to make powder which is used in low doses. Its primary action is of mild purgation. But it has also astringent property, so that its secondary effect is to prevent the bowels.
By Ken Freeze - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41950941
The roots of plant are used both internally and externally. It is bitter, pungent, and reduces Vata – Kapha, but increases pitta. Revand chini works mainly on plasma, blood and fat. Revand Chini, when chewed produce yellow colour and have gritty-bitter taste. It imparts yellow colour to the urine, which is harmless. Externally they are used for cleaning teeth and sprinkled over ulcers for quick healing. For freckle and other skin marks, the paste of roots with vinegar is applied topically on affected parts. In Melasma झाई the root powder is mixed in milk and applied.
Rheum emodi is a stout herb found in Himalayan region. It is a leafy perennial herb of 1.5-3.0 m in height. It has large radical leaves. The leaves are edible and eaten as vegetable. It bears ovoid-oblong, 13 mm long, purple fruits. The roots and rhizomes are the main parts used as drug and are collected in October to November.
The botanical name of Indian Rhubarb / Revand chini is Rheum emodi. It belongs to plant family Polygonaceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
- Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
- Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
- Subclass: Caryophyllidae
- Order: Polygonales
- Family: Polygonaceae – Buckwheat family
- Genus: Rheum L. – rhubarb
- Species: Rheum emodi – Indian Rhubarb
Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: dried rhizomes
Plant type: herb
Distribution: Kashmir, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, China, Tibet, Russia, Turkey, and many other countries.
Habitat: Himalayan herb, found at 8,000-13,000 feet.
Types of Rhubarbs
There are three main types of rhubarbs— Indian or Himalayan, Chinese and Rhapontic.
- Indian rhubarb: It consists of dried rhizomes of R. emodi and R. webbianum.
- Chinese rhubarb: It consists of rhizomes and roots of Rheum palmatum and R. officinale.
- Rhapontic: It consists of rhizomes of R. moorcroftianum, R. spiciforme mixed with R. rhaponticum.
- Latin name: Garcinia pedunculata, Rheum emodi, Rheum officinale, Rheum acuminatum, Rheum speciforme, Rheum webbianum, Rheum moorcroftianum, R australe
- Hindi: Revand-chini, Archu
- English: Rhubarb
- Ayurvedic: Amlavetasa, Amlavetasa, Amlaparni, Pitamuuli, Gandhini Revatika, Revandachini (roots), Revatchini, Gandhini, Chukri, Archa
- Unani: Revandchini
- Siddha: Revalchinikattai, Nattirevaichini
- Maharashtra & Gujarat: Ladakirevanda-chini
- Kashmiri: Pumbehakh
- Telugu: Nattu-revalchini
- Other common names: Chuchi, Tukshu, Motininai, Rhubarb
- French: Rhubarb de Perse
- German: Rhabarber, Emodi-Rhabarber
Constituents of Root
The root gave emodin, emodin- 3-monomethyl ether, chrysophanol, aloe-emodin, rhein, also contain cinnamic and rheinolic acids, volatile oil, starch and calcium oxalate.
In low dose, tannin produces astringent effect and gives relief in diarrhea.
In high dose, anthraquinones stimulates laxative effect and gives relief in constipation.
Indian Or Himalayan Rhubarb Is Useful In Following Conditions:
- Alcoholism, Anorexia
- Bronchitis, Asthma
- Coryza, Catarrh, Cirrhosis
- Constipation, Dyspepsia
- Hepatosis, Jaundice
- Lumbago, Water Retention
Amla-vetasa / Rhubarb is taken in form of infusion and powder. The recommended dosage of powder is 0.2–1.0 g powder. 1 gram dose, has laxative effect and 3 grams has purgative action.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action
It is sour in taste (Ras) and light, sharp and drying in action (Guna). Its post-digestive effect (Vipak) is sour. It is an Ushna Virya herb. Ushna Virya or hot potency herb, subdues Kapha (Mucus) and increases Pitta (Bile). It has property of digestion, vomiting and purging, and gives feeling of lightness. It is considered bad for sperms and fetus.
- Rasa (taste on tongue): Amla (Sour)
- Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Tikshna (Sharp), Ruksha (Dry)
- Virya (Action): Ushna (Heating)
- Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Amla (Sour)
- Kapha-Vata Shamak कफवात शामक: pacifies kapha and vata.
- Pittvardhak पित्तवर्धक: increases pitta / bile.
- Dipan दीपन: promote appetite but do not aid in digesting undigested food
- Pachan पाचन: assist in digesting undigested food, but do not increase the appetite.
- Anulomana अनुलोमना: promote excretions and favour discharge.
- Bhedan भेदन: drastic purgative.
- Shvas har श्वासहर: gives releif in asthma.
- Hikkahar हिक्काहर: Gives releif in Hiccups.
- Hridyottejak हृदयोत्तेजक: Stimulates heart.
- Mutrala मूत्रल: promote the secretion of urine.
- Virechak विरेचक: causes bowel.
Important Medicinal Properties
Amla-vetasa / Rhubarb is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. These also indicate the conditions in which we should avoid it. For example, it is purgative and stimulate evacuation of the bowels. So it should be avoided in chronic diarrhea. Rhubarb contains two different constituents, one from which is laxative, other constituent is constipative (Astringent).
Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.
- Antipyretic: used to prevent or reduce fever.
- Astringent: Constrict tissues, styptic.
- Anthelmintic: used to destroy parasitic worms.
- Alterative: alter favorably the course of an ailment.
- Cathartic: agent for purging the bowels, especially a laxative.
- Emmenagogue: stimulates or increases menstrual flow.
- Hemostatic: causes bleeding to stop.
- Laxative: tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
- Purgative: strongly laxative in effect.
- Stomachic: promoting the appetite or assisting digestion.
Medicinal Uses of Revand chini (Indian Rhubarb)
- Rhubarb is used in treatment of constipation due to its cathartic, purgative and laxative action in dose depended manner. Laxative is milder, causing elimination of formed stools, Purgative is stronger to the laxative and cathartic is strongest and causes stool in form of liquid. It is milder than Senna leaves.
- Rhubarb is used in jaundice and liver disorders. It improves liver function by various ways. It act as liver tonic and increase production of bile in liver. It reduces weight and fat.
- Rhubarb is used alone in combination of other medicinal herbs to treat indigestion and constipation. It increases saliva secretion. It tones up the gastric and intestine. In digestive disorders and constipation the root powder is taken in one gram.
- For acidity, indigestion, digestive weakness make a powder by mixing equal amount of Revandchini, coriander seeds and Mishri. The intake of this powder in dosage of one teaspoon twice a day, with lukewarm water gives relief.
- For urticaria / Sheetpitta, root powder is taken in dose of 1 gram, twice a day with Mishri / rock candy.
- Due to its diuretic action, it is used in scanty urination. In chronic kidney failure, the root powder is taken in very low doses for 1-2 years.
- The decoction of one gram Revand chini in 100 ml water is used in uremia. Uraemia is an increases level of urea and other nitrogenous waste compounds in the blood that are normally eliminated by the kidneys.
- Externally, the paste of root powder and Chandan is applied on pimples, acne and pigmentation. The topical application is also used to hasten wound healing.
Precaution / Contraindications / Side Effects
- Avoid use in chronic diarrhea.
- Do not use in epilepsy.
- It should not be used in Vata Vyadhis like gout, rheumatism.
- It contains oxalic acid so do not use in uric acid diseases, renal or gall bladder stones.
- Do not use in pregnancy, or while breast-feeding. It may be secreted in milk and induce purgation in baby.
- It should not be used for long-term.
- It gives a deep tinge to the urine.