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Other uses for Rhubarb

Rhubarb has many uses. The most common is medicinal. Rhubarb has been used in medicines and folk healing for centuries.

Cleaning pots and pans

Use Rhubarb to clean your pots and pans (no joke!) If your pots and pans are burnt, fear not! An application of rhubarb over the afflicted area will bring back the shine in next to no time. Environmentally friendly too!

Hair Color

This is a fairly strong dye that can create a more golden hair color for persons whose hair is blond or light brown. Simmer 3 tbsp. of rhubarb root in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes, set aside overnight, and strain. Test on a few strands to determine the effect, then pour through the hair for a rinse.


Rhubarb leaves can be used to make an effective organic insecticide for any of the leaf eating insects (cabbage caterpillars, aphids, peach and cherry slug etc).

Recipe 1

  • Basically you boil up a few pounds of rhubarb leaves in a few pints of water for about 15 or 20 minutes,
  • allow to cool,
  • then strain the liquid into a suitable container.
  • Dissolve some soap flakes in this liquid and use it to spray against aphids.

So, next time you pick some rhubarb stems to eat, you can put the leaves to good use rather than just composting them (which isn't in itself such a bad use, I guess).

Recipe 2

  • Shred 1.5 kg (3 lbs.) rhubarb leaves
  • and 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.

Rhubarb inspired art


James Grainger, is a British artist who specializes in oil paintings of Vicars and Morris Dancers in curious and surreal situations. Many of his paintings include rhubarb, as can be seen in the sample to the right. Be sure to visit his web page: James Grainger's Gallery


The Rhubarb Tart Song

1. I want another slice of rhubarb tart.
I want another lovely slice.
I'm not disparaging the blueberry pie
But rhubarb tart is oh so very nice.
A rhubarb what? A rhubarb tart!
A whatbarb tart? A rhubarb tart!
I want another slice of rhubarb tart!
2. The principles of modern philosophy
Were postulated by Descartes.
Discarding everything he wasn't certain of
He said 'I think therefore I am a rhubarb tart.'
A rhubarb what? A rhubarb tart!
A Rene who? Rene Descartes!
Poor nut he thought he was a rhubarb tart!
3. Read all the existentialist philosophers,
Like Schopenhauer and Jean-Paul Sartre.
Even Martin Heidegger agrees on one thing:
Eternal happiness is rhubarb tart.
A rhubarb what? A rhubarb tart!
A Jean-Paul who? A Jean-Paul Sartre!
Eternal happiness is rhubarb tart.
4. A rhubarb tart has fascinated all the poets.
Especially the immortal bard.
He caused Richard the Third to call on Bosworth Field:
'My kingdom for a slice of rhubarb tart!'
A rhubarb what? A rhubarb bard!
Immortal what? Immortal tart!
As rhymes go that is really pretty bard!

John Cleese 


Rhubarb Limericks

Subject: Inconsequential Rhubarb Nonsense
From: "PeterW" <PeterWatlims [dot] demon [dot] uk>
Date: 1998/10/08
Newsgroups: alt.jokes.limericks

Rhubarb when raw is so tough
And its leaves contain poisonous stuff,
    But when cleaned and de-soiled
    Dipped in sugar and boiled
Then the stalks are quite tasty enough.

Subject: Re: Inconsequential Rhubarb Nonsense
From: "Marlene" <mlewisatmissionx [dot] com>
Date: 1998/10/12
Newsgroups: alt.jokes.limericks

Rhubarb is much better in pies
Sweet, sour and attracting flies
    It's good as gooseberry
    And tasty as cherry
Please, have a slice -- do not be shy!


Subject: Re: Inconsequential Rhubarb Nonsense
From: SCSaintatpacbell [dot] net
Date: 1998/10/12
Newsgroups: alt.jokes.limericks

We would just wipe it off and chew
Then watch each other's mouth go askew
    So sour yet so good
    That was in my boyhood
Things were tastier circa 1942.


Subject: Re: Inconsequential Rhubarb Nonsense
From: tuttagioiaataol [dot] com  (TuttaGioia)
Date: 1998/10/09
Newsgroups: alt.jokes.limericks

"Your rhubarb, I've noticed it grows
By the outhouse where everyone goes!"
    Grandad said, "Lad,
    It isn't so bad...
They're family! Just people we knows!"

CFC control

The January 19 issue of SCIENCE Magazine reported that scientists have discovered a way to convert environmentally damaging chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) such as Freon into four harmless components: sodium chloride (table salt), sodium fluoride (an ingredient used in toothpaste), carbon, and carbon dioxide. CFCs have been historically hard to destroy, because they are relatively inert. Professor Robert Crabtree and graduate student Juan Burdeniuc used sodium oxalate that is found in rhubarb leaves to destroy CFCs. (The article didn't mention if the researches actually got the sodium oxalate from rhubarb leaves or not but did mention that is where it is found).

Rhubarb Paper

Apparently the fiber in rhubarb is a nice additive to handmade papers. I have found several craft-folk selling or mentioning rhubarb-paper. Here is a sample from "BETH BAKER: Handmade Papers and Journals". 


  1. rhubarb vs. aphids, http://www.lysator.liu.se/ftp/pub/gardening/Edibles/rhubarb_vs_aphids,
  2. Wisdom from Dr. Elizabeth Rutherford of the Cognitive Laboratory, Psychology Department, http://babelfish.psy.uwa.edu.au/brent/fos/eliza/rhub.html, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia   
  3. The Rhubarb Tart song, From the Illinois State University's College of Fine Arts World Wide Web (WWW) Server, Sponsored by The Office of Research in Arts Technology (ORAT), The College of Fine Arts at Illinois State, and Illinois State University,  "Its a Monty Python Collection"
  4. http://tyndale.apana.org.au/~paddo/rhubarb.html, from The wisdom of Tony Savage   
  5. Rhubarb Root Golden Hair Coloring, http://www.howtodirectory.com, From The How-To Directory, is a growing database of how-to information; the collected knowledge of generations gathered from individuals and companies who are willing to share their memories and experiences with others.
  6. Rhubarb plus Freon yields toothpaste and salt by Chris Nelder, from http://www.betterworld.com/BWZ/9602/explore1.htm
  7.  http://www.howtodirectory.com/folklore/rhubarb.html, The How-To Directory is a growing database of how-to information; the collected knowledge of generations gathered from individuals and companies who are willing to share their memories and experiences with others.
  8. http://art-a-whirl.org/aawbldgs/wndmcf.htm, The Windom Park Cafe and Gallery 1998.

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