Rhubarb
Rhubarb

Rhubarb’s origins are probably on the Tibetan Plateau. It spread early into north western China and then to some of the bordering areas of Central Asia and Mongolia.

Rhubarb is 95% water and contains a fair source of potassium, contributes minor amounts of vitamins, and is low in sodium. Rhubarb's crisp sour stalks are rich in vitamin C, dietary fiber and calcium, although the calcium is combined with oxalic acid and so is not easily absorbed by the body.

The stalks have been consumed as a food as well as to make paper or for hair colouring. The leaves have been used to make insecticides and the root has a long history of herbal usage.  The root has a balancing effect upon the digestive system. It has been used for the treatment of chronic constipation, diarrhea, liver and gall bladder complaints, hemorrhoids, menstrual problems and skin eruptions due to an accumulation of toxins. Note that this remedy should not be used by pregnant or lactating women, or patients with intestinal obstruction. It is advised you seek medical advice before trying any home remedies.

During World War I rhubarb leaves were recommended as a substitute for other veggies that the war made unavailable. Apparently there were cases of acute poisoning and even some deaths. Some animals, including goats and swine, have also been poisoned by ingesting the leaves.

Do you want to make you own insecticide for the home garden. Try the recipe below for an effective organic insecticide against any of the leaf eating insects (cabbage caterpillars, aphids, peach and cherry slug etc).

• Shred 1.5 kg (3 lbs.) rhubarb leaves
• boil in 3.5 liters (1 gallon) of water for 30 minutes.
• Allow to cool and then strain. (use old utensils if you can - the rhubarb will stain most things and poison the rest.
• In a small saucepan heat to boiling point 2.5 litters (2.5 quarts) of water and mix in 125 g (4 oz) of softened soap ends (any bits of soap left in the shower).
• Allow to cool (stirring regularly to make sure all the soap is dissolved).
• Add to the strained leaf mixture, stir vigorously, and the spray directly onto infested leaves.
The unused spray can be kept for a day or two, but keep your kids away its still quite harmful.

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