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