Rhubarb leaves

Alternative names 
Rheum officinale

Poisoning caused by consumption of leaf blades of the rhubarb plant.

Poisonous Ingredient

  • soluble oxalate  
  • unknown additional toxin

Where Found

  • the leaf blade of the rhubarb plant

The leaf stalk is edible. This plant may have other names.


  • body as a whole       o weakness       o burning in the mouth  
  • respiratory       o difficulty breathing  
  • eyes, ears, nose, and throat       o burning in the throat       o Eye pain  
  • gastrointestinal       o stomach or Abdominal pain       o nausea       o Vomiting       o diarrhea  
  • nervous system       o coma       o seizures

Home Treatment

Call Poison Control.

Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the plant and parts eaten  
  • the amount swallowed  
  • the time it was swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Bring plant with you to the emergency room for identification.

What to expect at the emergency room
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • Induce Vomiting.  
  • Use gastric lavage.  
  • Activated charcoal.  
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)
Deaths have been reported but are rare.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Martin A. Harms, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.