If so, you are on a winner! According to this bit of research from the College of Pharmacy in Chunchon, Korea, rhubarb can ease eczema – or to quote them in full, Inhibition of experimental atopic dermatitis by rhubarb (rhizomes of Rheum tanguticum) and 5-lipocygenase inhibition of its major constituent, emodin…… Seriously good news.
Now I know that the field rhubard season is almost over, but I have still seen some around, so I feel justified in indulging my excitement over the ‘rhubarb is good for eczema’ theory with a mini rhubarb orgy…. A quick trawl through FreeFrom Recipes Matter, revealed some gems such as Rhubarb Meringue pie, Rhubarb Meringue (below), Rhubarb and raisin crumble, Katherine’s rhubarb and orange cake, my own Rhubarb and ginger cake and Poached Trout with rhubarb sauce.
However, it did not discover my all time favourite rhubarb recipe – Pink Rhubarb soup….
Ideally this should be made with early spring forced rhubarb, but try it now and, if you like it, think how much better it will be with the more delicate flavour of early forced rhubarb…. This recipe dates from my pre-freefrom days so, originally, was made with butter and double cream. I am giving a number of alternatives, but am also giving the originals so those that can eat dairy and or gluten/wheat can go the whole hog!!
50g butter, coconut oil, PURE or olive oil
450g young (if possible) rhubarb, trimmed and chopped roughly
50g young leek, cleaned and finely sliced
25g cooked lean ham, chopped small
50g fresh brown breadcrumbs or wheat/gluten-free bread, crumbed, or wheat/gluten-free breadcrumbs
1.2 litres chicken or light veal stock
150ml dry white wine
salt and a couple of drops of tabasco
juice of a small lemon
3 – 4 teaspoons sugar
150ml double cream, lightly whisked, or soya or oat cream
Melt the butter, oil or PURE in a saucepan, then add the rhubarb, leek and ham and stew them gently for 10 minutes or till the rhubarb is soft. Add the breadcrumbs, stock and wine, bring them to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Liquidise or purée the soup and return it to the pan. Add the salt, tabasco, lemon juice and sugar to taste; how much of the last two you add will depend on how sweet the rhubarb and your own tooth.
To serve, reheat gently and serve with a blob of whipped cream or a spoonful of soya or oat cream in the middle of each bowl.
Looking on my wonderful recipe database to find the soup ( virtually every recipe I have written over the last 35 years – it tells me that there are 1,990 of them…) I also found Rhubarb and sultana cake, rhubarb and ginger ice cream and, of course, rhubarb fool. Roll on the end of December and the start of the forced rhubarb season.
PS. Of course, apart from being good for eczema rhubarb is also excellent for the digestion and, according to the The Rhubarb Compendium, can be taken internally for the treatment of chronic constipation, diarrhea, liver and gall bladder complaints, hemorrhoids, menstrual problems and skin eruptions due to an accumulation of toxins.’
It is also one of the most widely used herbs in Chinese medicine, the roots being used as ‘an anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic…. ‘ Top that if you can!