Rheum ribes

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Syrian rhubarb
Rheum ribes - Işgın 06.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rheum
Species: R. ribes
Binomial name
Rheum ribes

Rheum ribes, the Syrian rhubarb or currant-fruited rhubarb,[1] rhubarb-currant,[2] warted-leaved rhubarb,[3] warty-leaved rhubarb,[4] rhubarb of Babilonia[5] is an edible wild rhubarb species in the genus Rheum. It grows between 1000 and 4000 m on dunite rocks, among stones and slopes, and is distributed in the temperate and subtropical regions of the world, chiefly in Western Asia (Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia) to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Syrian rhubarb a partially commercial vegetable collected from the nature in Eastern and Southern Anatolia, Northern Iraq and partly Northwestern Iran in early spring. Rheum ribes is considered as a valuable medicinal species in herbal medicine.

The epithet of species name is derived from the Arabic word rībās (ريباس), referring to the Syrian rhubarb.[6] The Syrian rhubarb is so called probably from the resemblance of its panicle of fruit to bunches of currants, is particularly ornamental by reason of its leaves as well as flowers and fruit.

The Syrian rhubarb as "ornamental rhubarb" in horticulture with Rheum officinale.


The Syrian rhubarb is a dichotomously branched perennial stout herb, up to 1 m tall. Has thick perennial rhizomes, annual large bean-like reddish-green leaves with stalks, edible flower stalks, yellowish small paniculated flowers, three-sided ovate-oblong nut and broad red winged dull brown seeds.[7] Stem solid, warty, leafy below, leafless above. Irano-Turanian Region or Iran-Turan Plant Geography Region element.[8]


The edible part of the plant is the stem, which is eaten raw or cooked (ekşili ışgın[9] and ışkınlı yumurta [lit. 'eggs with wild rhubarb, Rheum ribes'] in Elâzığ, Turkey; khoresh rivas [خورش ریواس] or "Persian rhubarb stew" in Iran) by the local people of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan.[10] The leaves and petiole are often eaten raw as salad, sometimes sold in the local markets of Northern Balochistan.[11]

Traditional and current medicinal uses[edit]

Rheum ribes is the source of one of the most important crude drugs in West Asiatic regions. These plant vitamins A, B, C are seen in abundance. Syrian rhubarb root (Rhizoma Rhei ribi) is used traditionally to treat diabetes, hemorrhoids, ulcers, and diarrhea.[12] The plant is also used as a digestive and appetizer in Bitlis, Turkey.[13] Traditional herbal medicine stem and root dry plant for the treatment of anemia, anorexia, weakness, anxiety, depression and diabetes.[14] Traditionally Rheum ribes has been used in Iran as sedative and mood enhancer.

The anthraquinones chrysophanol, parietin and emodin, the flavonoids quercetin, fisetin, quercetin 3-0-rhamnoside, quercetin 3-0-galactoside and quercetin 3-0-rutinoside were isolated from the shoots of Syrian rhubarb.[15]

Local names[edit]


Rheum ribes is main food plant of a hairstreak butterfly (Rhubarb Hairstreak Callophrys mystaphia; Turkish name: ışgınzümrütü [lit. 'Rhubarb Emerald']) in Iğdır, Van, Hakkâri, Kars, and Siirt provinces in eastern Turkey,.[24][25]

Rheum ribes leaves is food plant of Xylena exsoleta moth in Van Province, Turkey.[26]


  1. ^ Australian New Crops
  2. ^ The medical formulary of al-Samarqandī and the relation of early Arabic simples to those found in the indigenous medicine of the Near East and India, Najīb al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn 'Alī al-Samarqandī, Martin Levey, Noury Al-Khaledy, Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1967
  3. ^ Encyclopædia Londinensis (1827)
  4. ^ RHS Horticultural Database
  5. ^ The Book of Duarte Barbosa by Mansel Longworth Dames, 1918-1921, London
  6. ^ Flora Hibernica (1836) (Name, Ribes, a word applied by the Arabic Physicians to a species of Rhubarb, Rheum Ribes.)
  7. ^ Önder Türkmen, Mustafa Çirka and Suat Şensoy (2005), Initial Evaluation of a New Edible Wild Rhubarb Species (Rheum ribes L.) with a Modified Weighted Scaling Index Method, Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 8 (5): 763-765, 2005
  8. ^ Van Herbaryumu
  9. ^ Elazığ Cuisine
  10. ^ Seval Andıç, Yusuf Tunçtürk, Elvan Ocak and Senol Köse (2009), Some Chemical Characteristics of Edible Wild Rhubarb Species (Rheum Ribes L.), Research Journal of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, 5(6): 973-977, 2009
  11. ^ Flora of Pakistan
  12. ^ Aladdin M. Naqishbandi, Knud Josefsen, Mikael Egebjerg Pedersen, Anna K. Jäger. Hypoglycemic activity of Iraqi Rheum ribes root extract. Pharmaceutical Biology, May 2009, Vol. 47, No. 5 : Pages 380-383
  13. ^ Hanefi Özbek, Ebubekir Ceylan, Mehmet Kara, Fevzi Özgökçe, Mehmet Koyuncu (2004), Hypoglycemic effect of Rheum ribes roots in alloxan induced diabetic and normal mice. Scand. J. Lab. Anim. Sci. No. 2. 2004. Vol. 31
  14. ^ Sayyah M, Boostani H, Pakseresht S, Malayeri A. Efficacy of hydroalcoholic extract of Rheum ribes L. in treatment of major depressive disorder. Journal of Medicinal Plant Research. 2009, 3(8):573-575
  15. ^ Fatma Tosun & Çiğdem Akyüz-Kızılay (2003), Anthraquinones and Flavonoids from Rheum ribes / Rheum ribes Bitkisinin Antrakinonları ve Flavonoitleri, Ankara Ecz. Fak. Derg. 32(1)31-35,2003
  16. ^ Ibn Sina, The Canon of Medicine, 1593
  17. ^ نبات الراوند Rheum
  18. ^ Wild Flowers of Israel
  19. ^ A Compendious Syriac Dictionary by R. Payne Smith, 1903
  20. ^ The Medieval Islamic Underworld, The Banū Sāsān in Arabic Society and Literature, Clifford Edmund Bosworth, 1976
  21. ^ Prof. Dr. Turhan Baytop (1997), Türkçe Bitki Adları Sözlüğü, TDK yayınları: 578, Ankara, 1997
  22. ^ Divanü Lûgat-it-Türk Tercümesi, çeviren Besim Atalayi TDK yayınları:521, Ankara 1941, cilt: 1, sayfa: 109
  23. ^ Plant Species List from Field Surveys: 2007 and 2008, Afghanistan PEACE Project
  24. ^ TRAKEL (Türkiye'nin Anonim Kelebekleri)
  25. ^ Van Gölü Havzasında Kelebek Çeşitliliği (Diversity of the butterflies in Van Lake Basin East Turkey) by Muhabbet Kemal, 2008
  26. ^ Muhabbet Kemal, Halil Özkol & Lokman Kayci (2008), Xylena Ochsenheimer in East Turkey with new provincial records and larval food-plants (Noctuidae, Lepidoptera), in Miscellaneous Papers, Centre for Entomological Studies Ankara, no: 139-140, 20.03.2008

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