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Article by Karen A. Lech

RHUBARB ISN’T FOR COWARDSbyKaren A. LechApril 26, 2006

Ahhhhhhhhhh….. Spring is springing, bouncing it’s way in like Tigger! And I, just as gleefully exuberant, have been surveying my gardens, which are in MUCH disarray. But happily I found the rhubarb plants I was given last spring took and they are unfolding their leafy goodness!I think this incredible plant is mis -named. It has no barbs, like raspberry canes, and I certainly don’t rue the thought of eating it! I “Googled” rhubarb and found a very interesting site, The Rhubarb Compendium. Well, I learned a LOT about rhubarb. Evidently it is a pretty ancient thing, and has “roots” in China dating back to 2700 BC. I must remember to ask my daughter-in-law about that. (She is my wealth of information on anything Chinese, as she is!) Rhubarb is not only delicious, it’s origins were of medicinal purposes, and a whole lot more, I discovered!!!! Rhubarb has laxative effect and can be used as a laxative, for a treatment of constipation and diarrhea, conjunctivitis (though I would be hesitant to put it in my eyes), traumatic injuries, superficial sores and can be applied externally for thermal burns. Okay not only THAT! but insecticide for leaf eating insects (cabbage caterpillars, aphids, peach and cherry slug) and hair coloring! and….. I knew this from a while ago once when cooking it in a stained pot… Rhubarb can clean your pots and pans, return their shine, and of course, being a natural product, it is friendly to the environment. And here you thought it just tasted good. But beware, the leaves are poisonous. Evidently it is the oxalate and evidently can cause poisoning if raw or cooked leaves are eaten.John Cleese actually wrote a song about the Rhubarb Tart. (leaf it to him, pun intended). So, I even tried my hand at writing a poem about rhubarb! which is as follows…

Rhubarb is not only delicious.It cleans your stained-up pots and dishesAdd some sugar and it is nice,Though your bowels may pay a price.My hair is trying to turn from auburn to grayBut rhubarb will let the color stay.And, oh you bugs that attack my garden!I have no mercy for your pardonOn you I sprinkle rhubarb juices,Rhubarb, extraordinary plant of many uses!-

Karen Lech

Cute, huh?

So get out there all you fellow rhubarb lovers! Harvest time is coming! So are the strawberries, and…what fun we can have combining those two! In fact, I have to go now. There is a strawberry-apple-rhubarb pie in the oven calling my name.Thanks for reading!Karen A. Lech

About the Author

Hi there! I am an award winning author from Richmond, Illinois (right on northern Illinois / Wisconsin border) My first book was published in August 2005 titled 51 POEMS FOR CHILDREN. Write me at goodlittlewren@yahoo.com. I would love to hear from you! My only hope is that your heart is somewhat touched by my work, or your funny bone is tickled, for God has me on a mission. Thanks for reading! Karen

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