More on Emodin

According to a few herbal websites, rhubarb root has been used for two thousand years as a gentle but effective laxative. It cleanses, and also treats constipation, but €”when taken in smaller doses €”can also relieve diarrhea and hemorrhoids. Quite remarkable. However, a word of caution. I read warnings against munching on or cooking and eating this plant’s leaves, which are extremely toxic. Only the roots and rhizomes are used for medicinal purposes. I thought I should mention this, in case anybody was vaguely thinking of preparing some rhubarb leaf tea. Not a good idea! However, the leaves come in handy if you want to prepare an organic insecticide, for instance to fight those pesky aphids that infest your rose bushes (sigh!). For some useful suggestions, including how to use rhubarb leaves to clean burnt pots and pans (no kidding), go to: This website also includes a rhubarb tart song and rhubarb limericks. 😉

Other emodin-cancer studies:

  1. the previously-mentioned promyeloleukemic HL-60 cell abstract was published in December 2002 in Biochemical Pharmacology :
  2. another study on HL-60 cells, titled: Aloe-emodin induced in vitro G2/M arrest of cell cycle in human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells (, was published in 2004 in Food and Chemical Toxicology
  3. a study on human oral cancer and emodin was published in Oral Oncology in January 2007:
  4. a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) study:, Life Sciences, 2004. This particular study is interesting because it shows that emodin activates the tumor-suppressor p53, also known as tumour protein p53, or TP53, which I have mentioned in previous posts. Go, p53!
  5. a study on Merkel cell carcinoma and aloe-emodin:, published in Oncology Reports in 2004
  6. a study titled Emodin Enhances Arsenic Trioxide-Induced Apoptosis via Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species and Inhibition of Survival Signaling (, published in Cancer Research in 2004.

Now, since my parents are arriving from the States tomorrow, I have some errands to run. Off I go!


  1. It’s rhubarb season in Oregon- I’ve never cared for the stuff- people combine it with strawberries for pies but I guess I’ll take another look at it. Hmmmm.

  2. By the way when I grew the plants – The leaves are self mulching- they destroy everything on the ground under them as they rot so no weeds- I used them for mulch in other areas of my garden

  3. How exciting it is for your parents to be coming for a visit.
    I hope as you are taking them around for a tour of your beautiful area you will take a few shots of you and them together that you can post one for us all to see.

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