Image courtesy of: www.recipeshubs.com/strawberry-rhubarb-pie/31244

Rhubarb’s in Season-Beware the Oxalic Acid
Molecule Monday

If you’re an environmentally conscious sort, it’s quite possible you have made salad with dandelion greens.  Unfortunately, if you try the same thing with rhubarb, you might get a serious case of upset stomach or worse. Rhubarb leaves shares a common trait with common foods such as spinach and broccoli which of course are their edible parts.

Oxalic Acid – Rhubarb Leaf Bites Back

It turns out that rhubarb leaves have an uncommonly high level of oxalic acid.  Although the evidence is not definitive that this is the only toxic chemical or laxative in rhubarb leaves, it is best to avoid eating them.  While the lethal dose requires eating lots of leaves, smaller amounts can cause nausea. It is also a major contributor to kidney stones.

Oxalic acid is found in rhubarb leaves and cause nausea if eaten.
Oxalic acid is found in rhubarb leaves and cause nausea if eaten.

Other Chemicals In Rhubarb

Rhubarb comes with a variety of other compounds that are thought to have a significant laxative effect. They are listed in the infographic below and all can be built with our 3D Molecular Model Builder.

Fresh rhubarb & strawberry pie is a seasonal treat. Be careful not to eat the leaves too. Permission to use Infographic courtesy of Andy Brunning.
Fresh rhubarb & strawberry pie is a seasonal treat. Be careful not to eat the leaves though. Permission to use Infographic courtesy of Andy Brunning. You can read more on this topic at his site by clicking on the image.

Enjoy the rhubarb pie but take a pass on the leaves. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

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